Representatives of the Papuan Provincial Parliament recalled

Watch Indonesia! Press Release, 18 July 2003

by Alex Flor

According to information received by Watch Indonesia! yesterday, three PDI-P Members of the Papuan Provincial Parliament have been recalled from Parliament by their party, the Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle (PDI-P) of President Megawati Soekarnoputri. One of the MPs concerned is Mrs. Agustina Iwanggin-Tanamal. Only recently, at the beginning of June, Mrs. Iwanggin-Tanamal had been in Berlin where she participated in the Conference on Special Autonomy for Papua, which had been jointly organised by Watch Indonesia!, the West-Papua-Network and the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation as well as several other organisations.

According to the official Indonesian news agency ANTARA, the reason for the recall of the three Parliamentarians was that Agustina Iwanggin-Tanamal and her colleagues rejected the 2003 accountability report of Governor Jaap Solossa which had been submitted to the Provincial Parliament. Hundreds of people had staged a demonstration protesting against the accountability report, as it did not satisfactorily account for a substantial amount of funds received by the Provincial Government within the framework of Special Autonomy regulations.

The Law on Special Autonomy for Papua, in effect since January 2002, stipulates that the Province of Papua and its regencies and municipalities shall receive 80% of the revenues from forestry, fishery and general mining, 70% of the revenues from oil and gas mining as well as 90% of land and building tax revenues generated in the province. Thus, the available funds should have increased by 15% as compared to the previous fiscal year. However, as for example the regent of Manokwari, Dominggus Mandacan, pointed out, funds distributed to the regions had even decreased as compared to the previous year.

The Law on Special Autonomy is to be viewed as a an attempt to solve the long-standing conflict in Papua by peaceful means. Should this attempt fail, the conflict will most likely escalate similar to the one that is currently witnessed in Aceh, where on May 19th, 2003, martial law had been declared.

As was apparent during the conference “Autonomy for Papua. Opportunity or Illusion?” in Berlin, opportunities for a peaceful resolution of the conflict as resulting from Special Autonomy are viewed with a certain amount of mistrust on both sides. There is only a chance for success, if Special Autonomy materialises in substantial improvements for the Papuan population. Should the suspicion be substantiated that the Central Government in Jakarta has abided by its responsibilities under the Special Autonomy Law and has paid a high price for it, while at the same time the Papuan population feels cheated as they did not receive any of those funds, the mistrust on both sides will increase and the already extremely fragile peace will be threatened further.

It is the democratic duty of Members of Parliament to control the Government. This comprises also their duty to examine accountability reports concerning the budget as well as their right to reject the latter in case of suspected irregularities. Critical control over the use of the funds that the Province receives from the Central Government must be in the interest of both the Province and the State. In the case of Papua the situation is more delicate as a proper budget might be decisive in the question whether war or peace will prevail in the province. The recalling of the Parliamentarians Agustina Iwanggin-Tanamal, Isak Tabuni and Frans Koromat by their party needs to be strongly condemned.


The Jakarta Post, 16 July 2003

PDI-P recalls 3 councillors from Papua

Jayapura (Antara): The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) recalled on Wednesday three councillors from the Papua Provincial Legislative Council.

“The three councillors are Isak Tabuni, Frans Koromat and Agustinia Iwanggin/Tanamal,” Alberth Yogi, secretary-general PDI Perjuangan in Papua, said.

He said the recall was the result of the three councillors’ rejection of the 2003 accountability report of Governor JP Solossa.

PDI Perjuangan said on Tuesday it would replace over 20 lawmakers from legislatures across the country for various reason, including defying the party’s orders.

The Jakarta Post, 16 July 2003

Hundreds of Papuans rally against governor’s report

Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post , Jayapura, Papua

Hundreds of people staged a rally in the Papua capital of Jayapura on Tuesday to protest the annual progress report presented by Governor Jaap Salossa, citing alleged fraud and irregularities in the report.

The protest by members of the Papuan Youth Front and two other non-governmental organizations, Gerak Mamta and Papua Watch, came as factions in the provincial legislative council gave their final responses to the report.

The demonstrators arrived by bus, truck and motorcycle at the council’s building at 10:30 a.m. local time. They carried banners and pamphlets opposing the governor’s report.

“The annual progress report is a public deception,” read one pamphlet, as it did not detail huge funds allocated by the central government to support the implementation of special autonomy status for the troubled province.

The Papuan protesters demanded that the governor account for the use of the special autonomy funds transparently.

“The special autonomy status funds are very large, but the Papuan people have not enjoyed them. Many new cars belonging to executive and legislative members have started to appear in the streets,” one protester said.

This proved that the Papua administration and council did not protect those on low incomes in their development policies, the demonstrators said.

Inside the council building where a plenary session was under way, nine factions accepted the governor’s progress report and two others — the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) and the Crescent Star Party (PBB) — had yet to declare their stance.

The Love the Nation Democratic Party (PDKB) faction did not present its response during the session as some of its members rejected the report.

Governor Salossa played down the demonstration against him on Tuesday, saying it was normal in a democracy as the report was related to political issues.

“There has been politicking behind the demonstration to strengthen the opposition against the progress report, and that is normal. However, most councillors have accepted my report,” he said.

The protesters dispersed at 3:30 p.m. local time after none of the councillors was prepared to receive them.

On Monday, a similar protest was also held to reject the progress report.

The protesters urged that a joint team of military and police officials, as well as independent auditors, investigate the possible misuse of state funds by the Papua administration.

The Jakarta Post, 07 July 2003

Distribute autonomy funds fairly: Papuan Regent

Nethy Dharma Somba, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Manokwari regent Domiggus Mandacan appealed to Papua governor Jaap Salossa to be fair and transparent in distributing the special autonomy funds to regencies and municipalities in an effort to help minimize corruption and improve people’s welfare.

“Learning from last year’s experience, the special autonomy funds distributed to regencies and mayoralties were considered disproportionate because a larger part of the funds were held by the provincial administration,” Antara quoted him as saying in the town of Manokwari on Saturday.

He said the special autonomy funds allocated by the central government to the province rose by 15 percent to Rp 1.5 trillion (US$182 million) in the 2003 fiscal year from Rp 1.3 trillion ($158.5 million) in 2002 but Manokwari’s income from the special autonomy fund decreased to Rp 32 billion this year from Rp 41 billion in 2002.

“The irony is all 14 newly formed regencies will receive only Rp 5 billion each,” he added.

Separately, legislator Tampubolon called the distribution of funds unfair and unrealistic as the provincial government would receive 60 percent of the special autonomy funds while all the regencies and municipalities would share only 40 percent.

“To be fair and realistic, regencies and mayoralties should be given 60 percent of the special autonomy funds while the provincial administration should receive the remaining 40 percent, because a bigger part of development activities and public service is carried out in the regencies and municipalities,” he said.

Tampubolon, a member of the House of Representatives from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan), said further that a major part of the 2002 special autonomy funds was held by the provincial administration, hence many development projects in the fiscal year were left unfinished “and many new cars belonging to officials appeared in the provincial capital, likely acquired through corruption”.

“This means that Papua’s autonomous status has not improved people’s welfare and most people remain poor and are watching the local political elite who are leading an extravagant lifestyle,” he said.

Responding to the regent’s call, secretary of the provincial administration Decky Asmuruf said that so far, the central government had disbursed only 15 percent, or Rp 230 billion, of the Rp 1.5 trillion special autonomy fund, causing a delay in a bigger part of development projects included in the province’s 2003 budget.

Regarding the distribution of the fund, Decki said it had been agreed upon between the provincial administration and the regencies and mayoralties.

“The provincial administration receives a higher portion because the autonomous administration is concentrated at the provincial level and, therefore, most development projects are carried out by the provincial administration,” he said.

He added that as of next year, the fiscal balance would be regulated by the provincial administration and the finance ministry.

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