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Stop the Demonstration, DOB Accelerate Papua’s Development

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By: Moses Walker )*

The formation of the New Autonomous Region (DOB) is a blessing for the Papuan people because it is believed that it will accelerate development in the land of Cenderawasih. The community was also asked to immediately stop the demonstrations and unite for the sake of realizing a prosperous Papua.

Member of the DPR from the Electoral District of Papua, Yan Permenas Mandenas, emphasized that new autonomous regions could accelerate development. According to him, the demonstration against the new autonomous regions is not appropriate, because with the expansion in the Papua region, of course development will definitely occur and the community will also experience it. This politician from the Gerindra Party suspects that the rejection of the new autonomous regions in Papua is not pure and is driven by certain groups whose origins can be known together.

Mandenas admitted that when he was a student at Cenderawasih University, he also often held demonstrations by taking to the streets and these actions were also accompanied by certain interests. He also hopes that the community, especially students, will no longer be forced to take to the streets by rejecting new autonomous regions because this will actually harm the region itself.

According to him, many regions in Indonesia have asked for expansion, but it has not been approved, while in Papua the discourse regarding regional expansion is scheduled to be discussed in the DPR. Most of the people of Papua, according to him, have supported the new autonomous regions so that the government is expected to not hesitate to expand the province which has a large area.

It should be noted that the land area of ​​Papua, which is 3.5 times the size of Java, currently only has two provinces, namely Papua and West Papua. Regarding West Papua, according to Mandenas, it is clear that it cannot be expanded because it is only 22 years old after previously being divided from Papua.

Previously, the head of the MeePago tribe, Hans Mote, stated that he strongly agreed and would give full support to the government for the expansion of the new autonomous region in Papua. With the expansion of this new autonomous region, it is hoped that Papua will become more advanced and its development evenly distributed in every line so that the people can also advance.

In line with Hans Mote, Ondofolo Yanto Eluay who is a traditional Tabi leader also supports the government’s plan for the expansion of the new Autonomous Region in Papua. Yanto argued that the purpose of the division was for the progress and welfare of the Papuan people as well as for education and progress in all aspects. That is the basis for him to provide support. He, as a traditional leader, also continues to encourage and support the realization of the government’s plan for the expansion of new autonomous regions in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.

Papuan observer Prof Imron Cotan supports the discourse on the expansion of the Papua region. Given the vast territory of Papua with a small population, health services are somewhat hampered. Moreover, it takes days for the Papuan people to travel to access health facilities.

It should also be noted that the education system in western Indonesia is generally better than eastern Indonesia, such as Papua. In Eastern Indonesia, there are still many children who do not have access to good schools.

Economic conditions, culture and geographical accessibility are limitations for many children in eastern Indonesia even to get basic education. There are still many people who do not care about the importance of education for children. Or, many are experiencing economic difficulties and are unable to send their children to school.

In the Easternmost Province of Indonesia, many children are forced to drop out of school because they have to work to support the family’s economy. Conservative views in Papua, view education as unimportant and the reluctance to work causes many Papuans to leave urban areas.

Bappenas has reviewed that one of the arguments in favor of pemekaran is, among other things, the need to overcome the long span of control between the government and the people. A shorter span of control and a more equitable fiscal allocation should serve as the basic capital for improving services in each region, especially the new regions.

Seeing this fact, the demonstration against the new autonomous regions seems irrelevant, because with the existence of new autonomous regions, development in Papua will be able to be developed, including in the education and health sectors, so that the action against the new autonomous regions is an action that should be questioned.

)* The author is a contributor to Pertiwi Institute

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