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Managing the Spirit of Regional Arrangement for the Glory of PapuaBy: Velix Wanggai

Velix Wanggai

PAPUA PORTAL – Managing the Spirit of Regional Governance for the Glory of Papua By: Velix Wanggai (Papuan figures and elders in Jakarta), Developing Papua: The Political Economy of the Division Policy of Papua Province, 1969-2004.

The piece of 1 sentence above is the title of the author’s master thesis when he studied at Flinders University, Australia in the early 2000s, and was presented at the Indonesia Project seminar, the Australian National University, in mid-May 2005. The above ideas are increasingly relevant today. -Today, when there are various thoughts in responding to State policies on regional structuring in the Land of Papua at this time.

We are aware that Regional Arrangement (expansion, formation of new regions) in Papua is a necessity. Of course, we are very concerned about aspirations, notes and criticism, so we need to manage the risks and consequences that arise from regional governance. Of course, state policy makers have prepared, considered and taken steps to comprehensively prepare for the presence of a new autonomous region.

The dynamics of today’s division in Papua, actually need to be taken lightly by the Papuan public. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Western countries as well as developing countries criticized the traditional bureaucratic structure and its large, inefficient and centralized size.

In line with the administrative reforms taking place in other parts of the country, regional structuring policies emerged in central-regional relations, including in Irian Jaya at that time. In the context of Papua, in the early 1980s Governor Busiri Suryowinoto formed a team chaired by the Head of the Government Bureau, HS Thamrin SH, consisting of 42 people from local government, campuses, and youth organizations. This team is tasked with preparing the design for the expansion of Irian Jaya.

3 Expansion Scenarios in the style of Governor Busiri Suryowinoto
From the policy formulation process, finally 3 new provincial scenarios emerged, which the author calls 3 Provincial Scenarios in the style of Busiri Suryowinoto.
Scenario I consists of 3 provinces, North Irian Jaya, South Irian Jaya and West Irian Jaya.

Scenario II consists of the provinces of North Irian Jaya, South Irian Jaya and West Irian Jaya. Scenario I and Scenario II, the names of the provinces are the same, but the scope is different.

Scenario III consists of the provinces of East Irian Jaya, Central Irian Jaya and West Irian Jaya.

Responding to the idea of ​​expanding the province, the Government assigned the Minister of Home Affairs, Supardjo Rustam, to form a small team to review aspirations and ideas for expansion, evaluate and formulate future scenarios.

At that time, the Government was faced with a choice, whether to expand from the bottom level (the scenario from the bottom level), meaning the expansion of villages, sub-districts and districts, or the scenario from the top level, namely the direct formation of provinces. into 3 provinces.

Choosing the Pemekaran Approach from the Bottom
Since the mid-1980s, the Government has preferred regional structuring from the bottom up, both strengthening and expanding villages, sub-districts and districts, as well as encouraging sectoral and regional development.

For example, the division of sub-districts from 117 sub-districts in 1989 to 173 sub-districts in 1999. At that time, Bappeda Papua Province pushed for the Kecamatan Typology program, according to the ecological zone, geography, population and sub-district bureaucratic structure. Similarly, the expansion of villages from 901 villages (1989) to 2,809 villages (1999). In addition, in 1996 the Administrative Regencies of Timika, Paniai, and Puncak Jaya, and the Administrative City of Sorong were formed.

In the era of Governor Bas Suebu period 1 (1988-1993), village-based regional approaches were encouraged, which are better known as macro-sectoral and micro-spatial approaches with various sectoral and regional policy instruments. This is interpreted as a policy that encourages the growth of potential economic zones related to rural development.

In its development, in August 1996, the Government modified the organizational structure of the government by forming 3 Deputy Governors according to 3 regions from former Assistant Governors. 3 Deputy Governors at that time, namely Abraham Ataruri, Herman Monim and Basyir Bachtiar.

As a strategic step, on January 11, 1994, the Ministry of Home Affairs established 3 Assistant Governors who are tasked with coordinating and managing government functions according to 3 regions, namely Region I (Jayapura, Jayawijaya, and Paniai), Region II (Yapen Waropen, Biak Numfor, Sorong and Manokwari), and Region III (Fakfak, Merauke, Mapurujaya/Timika.

Public responses at that time also varied in responding to the expansion scenario. Several Irian politicians at that time argued that the formation of the Assistant Governor was the right step to manage development services at the lowest level, and as the basis for the presence of a new province.

Likewise, senior civil service officer, Jhon Jopari, said that the government should form 34 new regencies in Irian Jaya.

This can create employment opportunities for local communities and open career opportunities for local employees in various work units in the districts.
From the campus side, August Kafiar, saw the expansion policy aimed at accelerating regional development.

Therefore, August Kafiar stressed the importance of preparing human resources and strengthening government at lower levels such as villages and sub-districts, as well as increasing the availability of infrastructure in rural and remote areas.

Meanwhile, public opinion, including the media, emphasizes the importance of a special handling through a cultural approach in the development of Irian Jaya. The National Seminar on Community Development in Irian Jaya (PWI, 1984) recommended the importance of developing education, health, transportation, local bureaucracies, regional development planning, rural and settlement development and traditional institutions.

This view of journalists is also in line with the views of social observers in the mid-1980s who emphasized the need for the Government to reorganize the development strategy of the Irian region by applying a culture-based approach while still respecting local interests and identities.

In the late 1990s, after the 1998 reform, the idea of ​​Governor Freddy Numberi’s version of regional structuring was born, Governor J.P Solossa’s version of expansion concept, and Governor Lukas Enembe’s version of regional structuring concept was born.

At another moment, the thought of the expansion of the three Papuan figures will be described, as part of the journey of regional structuring in the Land of Papua in the future.


Regional Arrangement for the Glory of Papua. The dynamics of the expansion policy in Tanah Papua has been a long journey since the early 1980s. Let us see that in the past 4 decades, the Government has chosen a policy approach from the bottom (the scenario from the bottom level), marked by the number of districts/cities in Papua currently numbering 42 districts/cities.

The decision-making process has been taken by Papuan leaders at all levels with various authorities and risks. Philosophically, this is a blessing, the State is here for basic services that are closer to the grassroots.

It would be nice, in the future, cultural representation institutions in Papua, to be able to invite the Regents and Mayors throughout the Land of Papua from a cultural perspective, in formulating regional structuring scenarios in Papua, and the necessary risk mitigation strategies, both strengthening competitive human resources, pattern specifically for ASN acceptance and OAP ASN career patterns, empowerment of OAP entrepreneurs/entrepreneurs, special land and agrarian strategies, as well as inclusive and sustainable natural resource management strategies based on indigenous peoples, as well as strategies for OAP’s active role in internal party recruitment systems and election contestations.

In fact, it is necessary to think about the General Election Commission (PKPU) regulations that are politically asymmetric in nature in ensuring the participation of OAP in the legislative space at the district/city, provincial and national levels.

Let us reflect on the fact that regional structuring is a natural and normal part of the development journey of Papua today, and Irian Jaya in the past, in the 1980s. We believe that the policy choices and the approach of the State are all aimed at advancing, empowering, and glorifying Papua, the dignity of the Papuan people.
Mataraman, Jakarta, 23 May 2022.***

Editor: Everth Jomilena

Source: Portal Papua – Pikiran Rakyat

West Papua View All

This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

4 thoughts on “Managing the Spirit of Regional Arrangement for the Glory of PapuaBy: Velix Wanggai Leave a comment

  1. The government pays great attention to the progress of Papua. However, the separatist movement became an obstacle to this development

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