The Archipelago

N. Sumatra to have two
new provinces

All parties in the North Sumatra legislative council have agreed to the formation of the Tapanuli and Southeast Sumatra provinces after long and heated debates marred by the death of North Sumatra legislative speaker Abdul Aziz Angkat four years ago.

Tapanuli province will consist of four regencies: Humbang Hasundutan, Samosir, Toba Samosir and North Tapanuli, while Southeast Sumatra will be made up of five regencies and municipalities: Padang Sidempuan, South Tapanuli, Mandailing Natal, Padang Lawas and North Padang Lawas.

The formation of both provinces, which critics claim would further expand religious segregation, was agreed upon in the form of recommendations that will later separate them from North Sumatra, which currently consists of 33 regencies and municipalities.

North Sumatra council deputy speaker Chaidir Ritonga said Tuesday the agreement on the establishment of the two new provinces was reached by all council factions and was awaiting approval in a plenary session.

“The council’s consultative body has scheduled a plenary session on May 2 at around 2 p.m. to approve the recommendations to form two new provinces,” Chaidir told The Jakarta Post.

He said the recommendations would be submitted to the central government for approval after being endorsed by the council.

Chaidir expressed optimism the central government would approve at least one of the two recommendations.

“Based on the central government’s grand design, which has been published and disclosed to us, it is possible to form another province in North Sumatra at this moment,” he said, adding the central government had not enacted the grand design for additional provinces.

North Sumatra interim governor Gatot Pujonugroho emphasized his wish for an undivided North Sumatra.

The desire, he said, was based on the fact that the people of North Sumatra really wanted diversity be maintained in a single province of North Sumatra.

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