Autonomy model for Papua ‘needs altering’
The special autonomy granted to Papua is considered to have failed to improve the lives of its people and as a result the government has been urged to make changes to the model of autonomy.
A research team at the Gadjah Mada University’s school of social and political sciences has recommended what it calls the people’s welfare approach in Papua’s autonomy.
The approach includes giving wider authority to the regional administrations in governing except in particular affairs that fall under the authority of the central government, such as defense, security and monetary policy.
“The regional administration has to be given the freedom to develop their institutions according to their respective sociocultural context to really be able to improve the wealth of their people,” team member Cornelis Lay told a seminar on Monday.
In the financial field, similarly, the central government–regional administration relationship has
to be made asymmetric and different from other regions in which spending has to be transparent and pro-poor.
“But this ideal model has requirements,” team member AAGN Ari Dwipayana said.
Other requirements, according to Ari, include full acceptance of special autonomy on the part of local people, integrated and coherent regulations at both the central government and regional administration levels and the governability of both the central government and regional administrations in managing the administrations and redistributing resources.
The seminar was held amid an escalation in violence in Papua that has claimed dozen of lives in the past few weeks.
A high-ranking military entourage led by Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto is in Papua and has met with local elders and religious leaders to talk over the issue.
Mada Sukmajati, a team member tasked with conducting research on Papua, said the special autonomy allocation from Jakarta to Papua had increased since 2002 until 2012 from Rp 1.3 trillion (US$137.8 million) to Rp 3.8 trillion. Yet, this did not improve the human development index of the province.
Mada blamed the condition on the fact that the special autonomy funds had been controlled by the elites and the community did not know how the money was spent.
“In other words, there has been no positive correlation between the [increase in] funds and the increase in the wealth of Papuans,” he said.
He also said that much of the funds had been misappropriated because the central government did not oversee the use of the funds due to fears of prompting separation threats.
Other aspects to blame include institutional conflict and a lack of trust in government institutions.
In terms of authority, similarly, the team said the central government had not issued enough government regulations on the implementation of Papua’s special autonomy while at the same time the Papua provincial administrations had not taken the initiative to issue bylaws on the matter.
Sagrim, a resident of Papua who is the secretary of the Papua Intellectual Institute, blamed the failure in special autonomy on unresolved basic problems such as identity.
“We once got freedom in 1961. No matter how much money is injected into Papua, it will never solve the problem,” Sagrim said.
He said Papuans had lost trust in the central government because human rights violations had never been brought to justice.