By: Saby Kosay )*
The House of Representatives (DPR) of the Republic of Indonesia has ratified the Draft Law on the New Autonomous Region (DOB) of Papua into law. With the expansion, Papua’s development will accelerate and the improvement of people’s welfare can be realized immediately.
The expansion of the territory is the request of the Papuan people which the government will grant in 2022. The government considers that Papua indeed needs a new province in order to facilitate public services and promote people’s welfare. In addition, if there are new autonomous regions, development will be carried out to remote areas, not only in Jayapura or other big cities.
Junimart Girsang, Chair of the Working Committee 3 on the Regional Expansion Bill, stated that the addition of new autonomous regions is a mandate from Law number 2 of 2021 concerning Papua’s Special Autonomy. Regional expansion may be carried out by taking into account a number of things.
In a sense, the special autonomy mission (otsus) is for the welfare of the Papuan people so that the division of the region also functions for the benefit of the people on Earth of Cendrawasih. Appreciation is given to the government, especially President Jokowi, because he really wants the Papuan people to prosper thanks to the expansion of the region.
During the administration of President Jokowi, he visited Papua very often, and saw the reality for himself. For equitable development in Cendrawasih Earth, there is no other way except regional expansion.
Regional expansion will boost economic progress because it can trigger a positive domino effect. If there is a new province, the infrastructure will also be added and the most intensively built is the road. In addition, the infrastructure that is most needed is electricity.
There are still villages in Papua and West Papua that do not yet have electricity. Not because there is no touch from PLN, but people outside Papua need to know that the geographical conditions there are very different from those in Java. When there are hilly and mountainous areas, or at the end of the beach, it is certainly a bit difficult to distribute electricity.
Therefore, if there is an expansion of new regions and provinces, there will be additional APBD funds for the new new autonomous regions. Some of the funds can be used as electricity procurement projects, so that the entire Papua region can enjoy it. The government wants the principle of justice so that all Papuans are obliged to enjoy facilities in the form of adequate electricity.
The availability of electricity will trigger an increase in the community’s economy because they are no longer dependent on generators. If there is a supply of electricity, the people will be enthusiastic to produce processed agricultural products (eg sago) which are processed using electronic devices. That way, economic activity will be more lively and the financial wheel will spin quickly.
When the wheels of the economy turn, the people will be more prosperous. Electricity also supports online selling activities because people can have smartphones and have operator signals. They can earn more by mastering digital marketing. The effects of regional expansion are tremendous, which can trigger an increase in the people’s economy.
The effect of people’s welfare thanks to the rapidly increasing economy after the division of the region, also occurs in the field of education. When Papuans have a better standard of living, they are happy to send their children to a high level, even to college. The cost is also independent and does not depend on scholarships.
When children can go to school, they are also happy because in their area there is already a representative school building, which was built due to the division of the region. In a new province, of course, there must be a new SD, SMP, and SMA. Students study diligently and continue their studies too, because they have the funds.
If there are many Papuan sons who go to college, after graduating they become scholars and on average serve their hometowns. The salaries of undergraduate employees are certainly higher and their standard of living is increasing. This is the result of the positive domino effect of the excellent regional expansion.
Therefore, ordinary people need to get socialization about the benefits of regional expansion. They will understand that economic progress occurs in a process, not suddenly. If there are new autonomous regions, it does not mean that the government will automatically distribute money or social assistance. But prosperity will emerge when infrastructure in Papua is built to remote areas.
There are many benefits of regional expansion and one of them is people’s welfare. The community will feel electricity entering the village and various other public facilities. They are easy to move and the road is very grateful, because it can facilitate transportation, even though the geographical condition of Papua cannot be said to be light.
Regional expansion is a solution so that Papua can be even more advanced. With the new autonomous regions, the people can do more because there is infrastructure that supports their activities. Therefore, it is appropriate for the community to jointly support this policy so that the welfare of Papua can be realized quickly.
)* The author is a contributor to Pertiwi Institute