Thursday, March 08, 2007

Student activist agrees with Minister on regencies

A Papuan student leader apparently agrees with the Indonesian Minister of Home Affairs that a number of Papua districts belong considered for local government status are not yet ready for the responsibility. In February, Minister M. Ma'ruf, asked that discussion on bills for the creation of six new regencies, Yalimo, Central Mamberamo, Nduga, Lanny Jaya, Dogiyai and Puncak, be further clarified before deliberations continue as he believed none are yet viable as separate administrative entities. "Autonomous regions will only enrich a certain group of people and allow for greater corruption," the head of the Indonesian Central Papua Highland Alliance, Markus Haluk, told a crowd of 200 students at the Papuan governor's offices in Jayapura.

According to Haluk, the political elite and government officials are the ones who favor the creation of more autonomous regions. "Some push for the creation of an autonomous region after losing elections, some after being denied government positions and others because their terms in office are about to end. There are also those people who eye the natural wealth of an area and work together with investors to fund campaigns for an autonomous region, as well as those involved in corruption who are trying to run away by forming an autonomous regency," he said, adding that the creation of autonomous regions would also lead to human rights violations and environmental destruction by investors exploiting an area's natural wealth.

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