Some 82 percent Papuans press for new autonomous regions: Minister

Internal Affairs

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD pointed out that 82 percent people of Papua and West Papua had agreed to the discourse on expansion of new autonomous regions.

The minister disclosed that the figure was obtained through a presidential survey. He delivered the statement after accompanying President Joko Widodo to welcome the delegations of the Papuan People’s Assembly and the West Papuan People’s Assembly at the Presidential Palace, here on Monday.

“Agreements or disagreements are normal. Instead (of disagreements), the results of the survey conducted by the presidential institution showed that 82 percent of the Papuan people urge for expansion,” he noted as quoted from an official on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel.

The expansion or formation of a new autonomous region in Papua became one of the issues discussed during the president’s meeting with the Papua and West Papua delegations.

The president said that the expansion of the new autonomous regions at the provincial level in Papua was a priority based on importance, although there were hundreds of other requests for the creation of new autonomous regions, according to the minister.

Mahfud also said that the president had revealed that as many as 354 requests were received for the creation of new autonomous regions. According to Papua’s needs, they would grant permit for the creation of three new provinces.

The minister viewed that clashing opinions were part of the usual dynamics in life. Moreover, in Papua itself, it is not uncommon to see public rallies, either from supporters of the policy or those opposing the idea.

On April 6, 2022, the working committee on the draft law of three Papua New Guinea New Autonomous Areas had been included as the House of Representatives’ initiative proposal.

The draft bill touched on the subject of formation of three new autonomous regions at the provincial level from the two currently existing provinces: Papua and West Papua.

Should the bill be ratified as a law, there would be five provinces in Papua comprising Papua Province, West Papua Province, South Papua Province, Central Papua Province, and Central Highlands Papua Province.

Source: Antara News