31 regions to seek autonomous status
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As many as 31 regions in Papua have demanded autonomy status, 29 as new regencies and three as new provinces.
“The regions enthusiasm to separate into new regencies and provinces is quite high. We, at the Papua Legislative Council’s Commission A in charge of regional autonomy, have received 31 petitions to separate,” deputy head of Commission A of the Papua Legislative Council (DPRD) Yanni said in Jayapura on Friday.
Of the 31 regions, added Yanni, 16 had reported to Commission A, which oversees administrative affairs, during the Papua Legislative Council plenary session which discussed the Papua governor’s 2012 accountability report.
“The 16 regions have met administrative requirements, so next it depends on the decision made by the House of Representatives [DPR] whether or not to approve the requests,” he added.
The main reason why people had asked for autonomy status, said Yanni, was to improve people’s welfare because they had not benefited from the developments thus far.
“The Papua special autonomy status has been in place for 11 years but many people have not yet benefited from the impacts of development. That’s why they wish to manage their own regions — to improve people’s welfare,” he added.
Similar to Yanni, Golkar Party faction head at the Papua Legislative Council Yan Ayomi said the petitions for autonomy status were part of the need to accelerate people’s welfare.
“What’s the point of being a big and vast region if its people are not prosperous? It would be more manageable if a region was small and everyone could be reached by public services,” he said.
“Many of the newly formed regencies in Papua have failed to carry out development and their regents are away most of the time. The central government must pay attention to this matter,” said Yan.
Yanni was of a different view. He said the provincial legislature should elect the capable leaders. He said direct leadership elections were a waste of funds, as the elected leaders would only try to get back the funds that they had spent on their candidacy.
Papua Democratic Alliance (ALDP) director Latifah Anum Siregar said currently Papua needed improvement in public services and not regional autonomy.
She said none of the newly autonomous regions in Papua were able to improve people’s welfare. Latifah said all levels of the bureaucracy must be improved.
“Poor communications between the provincial, regency and up to the district administrations has created discontent, which has led to the requests to form autonomous administrations.”
“Such a concept must be changed, not by forming a new autonomous region but by improving the system. Failing that, any number of autonomous regions formed would not be able to improve people’s welfare,” he said.