Jayapura (ANTARA) – A Papuan youth figure appealed to Papua’s groups to support the continuation of the special autonomy status granted to Papua and West Papua to guarantee sustainable development in all sectors of life in both provinces.
In conversation with ANTARA in Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, on Tuesday, Tanus Komba opined that rejecting the continuation of the law on special autonomy (Otsus), passed during the administration of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri in 2001, was not a solution.
Komba agreed to a deliberation on revising this special autonomy law rather than rejecting it on account of its crucial role in boosting regional development in public sectors, such as health, education, and infrastructure.
The Papuan youth figure asserted that the special autonomy status granted by the central government to Papuans reflected Indonesia’s care for its people.
“We must be proud of it because only Papua and Aceh have been granted this privilege. Hence, we must support it,” Komba emphasized.
On Saturday, several Papuan community and religious leaders had also expressed support for extending the provision of special autonomy funds since their transfer will end in 2021.
“Many of us can be assisted owing to the special autonomy funds. Without the funds, our buildings remain unsightly and damaged,” Soleman Eselo, the Yalimo community leader, stated.
Eselo pointed out that the special autonomy funds granted by the government to the provinces of Papua and West Papua for several years were vastly beneficial for Papuans living in the remote mountainous areas to achieve success in various fields.
“I have been partaking in the process of edifying Papuans coming from mountainous and hilly regions since 1981. Many of them have been promoted to serve as bureaucrats owing to the availability of special autonomy funds that had assisted us,” he noted.
Echoeing Eselo’s views, Christian priest Merry Lauren Wompere, a member of the Solagratia Indonesian Christian Church (GKI Solagratia) of Arso II in Keerom District, affirmed that Papua Province’s development was much better during the special autonomy era.
“Representing the GKI Solagratia Jaifuri congregation, I appeal (to the government) for the continuation of the special autonomy status granted to Papua for the sake of development and progress,” Wompere stated.
According to Wompere, those rejecting the special autonomy status did not represent the voice of Papuan people’s conscience.
“Instead, they are the enemies of Papuans,” Wompere cautioned.
The Soekarnoputri administration had passed a law on special autonomy in the provinces of Papua and West Papua in 2001 to guarantee Papuans the right to manage their own region politically, economically, and culturally.
The law also stipulated the allotment of special autonomy funds, valid for a period of two decades.
As the transfer of funds will end in 2021, the House of Representatives has included the deliberation of Papua’s special autonomy status in this year’s National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) priority list.