The government and the House of Representatives are blaming each other for the proposed establishment of the North Kalimantan province, along with 18 new regencies and municipalities.
The House’s plenary session on Thursday agreed on draft bills for the creation of 19 new regions.
The Home Ministry said it was disappointed with the House’s decision to accept the proposals for the new regions. “We respect the House’s initiative rights, but it should have turned down the proposals in respect of [the government’s] moratorium,” ministry spokesman Raydonnyzar Moenek said, in reference to the moratorium against the formation new regions between 2009 and December 2012.
He added that North Kalimantan and the others were not included in the ministry’s grand design for Indonesian regions for 2025, despite references to areas on the border with neighboring countries.
Leaders and politicians in the northern parts of Kalimantan have highlighted the rich natural resources in the area, but starkly poor infrastructure compared to neighboring provinces. They have also said residents prefer to trade with Malaysia, which borders northern Kalimantan towns such as Tarakan.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched the moratorium following the tragic death of former North Sumatra Legislative Council speaker Azis Angkat, during violent protests at the provincial legislative building in Medan in February 2009. Thousands forced their way into a plenary session to demand the formation of the Tapanuli province. In defense of the laws on new regions, lawmakers have said the moratorium was not included in the law and only was “political policy” that could not be used as a legal basis to reject growing demands for new regions.
The government made its decision as 205 new provinces, municipalities and regencies formed since the 1999 Law on regional autonomy came into effect have largely performed far below expectations while overburdening the state budget.
Ganjar Pranowo, who chairs the House commission on regional autonomy, said laws on the new regions were passed with the knowledge of the Home Ministry, which was involved in the deliberations. “We will be deliberating the bills very cautiously and thoroughly,” Ganjar said.
19 new regions to be formed soon
1. North Kalimantan Province East Kalimantan
2. Mahakam Ulu Regency East kalimantan
3. Musi Rawas Regency South Sumatra
4. P.A. Lematang Ilir Regency South Sumatra
5. Malaka Regency East Nusa Tenggara
6. Pangandaran Regency West Java
7. Palau Taliabu Regency North Maluku
8. Pesisir Barat Regency Lampung
9. Central Mamuju Regency West Sulawesi
10. Banggai Laut Regency Central Sulawesi
11. North Morowali Regency Central Sulawesi
12. Konawe Islands Regency Southeast Sulawesi
13. East Kolaka Regency Southeast Sulawesi
14. South Buton Regency Southeast Sulawesi
15. Central Buton Regency Southeast Sulawesi
16. West Muna Regency Southeast Sulawesi
17. Raha Municipality Southeast Sulawesi
18. South Manokwari Regency West Papua
19. Pegunungan Arfak Regency West Papua