‘Revision of Special Autonomy and Caring for Papua within the Republic of Indonesia’ by Frans Maniagasi

The revision of Law 21/2001 in conjunction with Law 35/2008 on Papua Special Autonomy aims to improve the quality of government services to care for Papua within the framework of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI). However, this revision effort has sparked debate or polemic due to differences in views and opinions.

Papua considers the central government to arbitrarily revise it without involving their role.
On the other hand, the central government stated that they had communicated with Papua. This central government’s statement is based on the Minister of Home Affairs Letter on July 12 2019 which contains a request that the Papua Provincial Government, in this case the Governor, prepare a draft amendment to the Special Autonomy Law with respect to the end of the Special Autonomy Fund (2% equivalent to the national General Allocation Fund).

The Minister of Home Affairs letter did not receive a response from Papua. Even in October of the same year, the letter was sent again to confirm the agenda for the amendment of the Special Autonomy Law.

In addition, the working visit of several officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs in a meeting with the Papuan Provincial Government officials has reminded us of the revision agenda. Not only that, from Papua itself, including from West Papua, academics and several figures have also warned that 2021 is the end of the Special Autonomy Fund, and at the same time this momentum will make changes to the Papua Special Autonomy. So in fact it is not new news regarding the plan to revise Papua Special Autonomy. But that is the political reality that we face in connection with this revision.

Government Initiatives

If the central government then takes the initiative to revise Otsus, in my opinion, the revised draft which includes two articles, namely Article 34 concerning finance and Article 76 concerning regional expansion, is indeed a step that must be taken by the center. Because, since 2019 this issue has been communicated to Papua.

The reason is that Jayapura has no response, there is no response, tends to be silent with the demand that the Otsus Plus draft, which was submitted at the end of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s term in 2014, must be returned by the DPR. At this level I can understand the meaning behind Papua Governor Lukas Enembe’s demands. I agree with the political stance of the Governor of Papua, to return the draft that has been discussed by Commission II of the DPR for the 2009-2014 period. This attitude came from the results of my discussion with two professors of the Law Faculty at Cenderawasih University some time ago, who were involved in the drafting of the Special Autonomy Plus draft.

Now, the center is taking steps such as amending Article 34 regarding finance by accommodating the increase in the Special Autonomy Fund from 2% to 2.25% of the DAU, with a nominal stated by the Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati of IDR 354.6 trillion. This was revealed by the meeting with the DPD and the marathon meeting for two consecutive days at the end of January at the DPR Legislation Body.

At the meeting, the central government was represented by the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Menkumham, the Minister of Finance, and the Chairperson of the KPK. Their presence shows how important “mobilization” is in the context of revising Otsus, so that the President ordered his assistants and the Chairman of the KPK to secure the revised policy on Otsus.

The President is responsible for regulating and caring for Papua in the second period of Otsus so that there will be increased welfare, justice and equality that must be achieved by the community, especially for indigenous people. Empirical experience shows, during the first 20 years of Otsus (2001-2021) that the majority of indigenous Papuans are still far away from the objectives of implementing Otsus. This situation is of course an evaluation and correction by the central government.

Potentially Violating

The problem is that the President’s commitment to make revisions should consider the following questions. First, does the allocation of the Special Autonomy Fund from 2% to 2.25% of the DAU become a guarantee for efforts to resolve the Papua problem. Second, whether the limited revision of Special Autonomy through amendments to Articles 34 and 76 of the Special Autonomy Law, which also regulates regional expansion, guarantees an end to violence and conflict in Papua.

These questions need to be discussed together by inviting the Papua Provincial Government and related stakeholders through the DPR, which is now holding the revision ball so as to accommodate thoughts and suggestions from the regions. This is intended so that future revisions do not cause bias, both at the level of the law and implementation in the field, such as the experience of the first 20 years of Special Autonomy for Papua.

A compromise between the central government and Papua must be a joint decision. The revision does not only cover two articles, let alone the amendment to Article 76 regarding the expansion of the area which was previously only one paragraph is now translated into three paragraphs. Paragraph (3) authorizes the central government to authoritatively establish provinces in Papua without consultation with the Papua DPR and the Papuan People’s Assembly (MRP). This also has the potential to ignore the terms and conditions for the formation of a new autonomous region (DOB) according to Law 23/2014 on Regional Government.

Putting aside the formation of provinces in Papua from the two conditions contained in the two laws, it shows that the central government has eliminated one of the spirits and the spirit of Papua’s Special Autonomy. Not only that, the President also has the potential to violate the two provisions of the two laws that he will sign the revision. In my opinion, whether he is aware of it or not, the President has been led by his assistants to break his oath and promise.

There is still a chance to reach a joint agreement between the central government, Papua, and the DPR as the representative institution, to facilitate regional proposals to enrich the revision of Otsus. This is the best way. The DPR must provide opportunities for discussion and dialogue by hearing input and recommendations from Papua, so that this revision is a milestone in developing and caring for the people and territory of Papua within the framework of the Republic of Indonesia.

The revision of the Special Autonomy this time is a special momentum so that improvements are not only at the juridical level, but also the way we organize and manage the community and this region. I remind that the Special Autonomy Law is a political law whose stakes are related to the existence and sustainability of the future of the Republic of Indonesia.

Source: Beritasatu

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