The Archipelago

W. Kalimantan proposes
national heroes

Oevaang Oeray. Courtesy of West Kalimantan
Oevaang Oeray. Courtesy of West Kalimantan

J.C. Oevaang Oeray, the first Dayak governor of West Kalimantan, and Djerandeng Abdurrachman, an outspoken political activist and long-time area resident, will be nominated as national heroes.

Oevang served from 1960 to 1966 as the third governor of the province bordering with Serawak, Malaysia. He was appointed governor on Nov. 14, 1959 in a provincial legislative plenary session and later approved by Presidential Decree No. 465/1959 dated Dec. 24, 1959. He passed away on July 17, 1986 in Pontianak.

Djerandeng, who passed away on Sept. 7, 1987, was once a political prisoner during the Dutch East Indies administration for his critical report in the Maluku-based Soeara Ambon newspaper.

He wrote about his personal experience of the inhumane treatment he suffered as political prisoner at the Boven Digoel prison in Papua.

His report, which was quoted by media in Europe and the US, led to his release along with 1,500 other political prisoners from Boven Digoel.

Djerandeng also served as the chief editor of the Halilintar newspaper, which was eventually closed for being too critical of the government.

The West Kalimantant administration intends to propose three additional national heroes, namely Bardan Ali, Pangeran Natakusuma and Gusti Sulung Lelanang.

However, according to the administration’s assistant secretary, Kartius, only Oevaang and Djerandeng will be recommended in the initial stage and the others will be forwarded later.

“For the time being, we will recommend [Oevaang and Djerandeng] because the names must be submitted to the Social Affairs Ministry and the Law and Human Rights Ministry by July,” Kartius said on June 5.

Kartius said West Kalimantan had not proposed any prominent figures to be awarded national hero status since Pangeran Setia Pahlawan, who hailed from the regency of Melawi.

He said in order to nominate a person for recognition as a national hero, it was necessary to form a Provincial Title Research and Reviewer Taskforce (TPPGD) as well as to present books or other documentation on the nominee’s historical struggle.

As a part of fulfilling these requirements, he added, a national seminar would be held on June 17 regarding the nomination of a hero, as well as a book review to examine the struggle of the two nominees.

Kartius said he was confident that the central government would respond positively to their proposal, because based on the TPPGD, personnel from the central government had made sure they would attend the seminar.

Seminar organizing committee secretary Andy Fachrizal said it was high time for the young generation in the province to further dedicate themselves to motherland, not only to the nation and state.

“The younger generation is seemingly beginning to forget the services of our heroes. They look complacent and have lost this spirit. We must try to maintain these historical values to inspire today’s younger generation,” Fachrizal said.

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