Some 1,000 people held a rally at the provincial legislative council in Bandung on Wednesday to demand the accelerated formation of a new province of Cirebon.
The proposed province would separate Cirebon municipality, Cirebon, Indramayu, Kuningan and Majalengka regencies from the province of West Java. Leaders from four regions have given their consent, but councillors in Majalengka, through a special committee, were reportedly still discussing the scheme.
“We have received support from four regions. Majalengka is expected to support the move as well, and we are optimistic the new province will be formed. It is the people, not regents, who want to form a new province,” said Nana Sudiana, who spoke on behalf of the petitioners.
Claiming to be members of a presidium for the establishment of Cirebon province, the rally supporters arrived in the capital of West Java on 29 buses.
Nana said Majalengka’s special committee would come to a favorable decision as required for the formation of the new province.
Becoming a new province, Nana said, would enable accelerated development in the region, which is located on the eastern edge of West Java.
“The [West Java] governor looks so overly burdened with 43 million people to heed [proportionally] those in the eastern part. Our region does not prosper,” he said.
He handed a petition to the councillors, containing a study by the Home Ministry about the prospect of being a new province. He hoped the petition could serve as leverage for the councillors form a special team.
“Hopefully, a special team will have been formed before the gubernatorial election in 2013. Beyond that, it will take more time before we can have Cirebon province,” he said.
Yusuf Puadz, head of the legislative council’s Commission A, said the committee would have to wait for a written document of support from Majalengka regency before deciding whether they needed to include the issue in their deliberation agenda.
“Support must come from all five regions,” Yusuf said, adding that the council would also need a recommendation from Governor Ahmad Heryawan.
“We will submit the document to the governor. His consent or rejection to the proposal will be deliberated by the council,” he said.
Councilor Sugianto Nangolah, a member of Commission A, urged cautioned over politically vested interests that might be behind the campaign for a new province with an election slated for next year.
“I’m worried political interests weigh on the issue because a [gubernatorial] candidate comes from there. Losing the election could be used as a pretext for rallies larger than ever,” he said.
Since the introduction of regional autonomy over a decade ago, Indonesia has seen the formation of 205 new autonomous regions, consisting of seven provinces, 164 regencies and 34 municipalities.