Has Indonesia Left Kalimantan Behind?
Kalimantan not only needs more subsidized fuel supplies from the government, but also wants a greater share of the revenue generated from its natural resources, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.
“At present, an additional quota of subsidized fuel is a need that should be urgently addressed,” Nabiel Almusawa, a lawmaker from South Kalimantan, said in Jakarta. “Long lines at gas stations are now a common daily sight in Kalimantan and this clearly disturbs the lives of local people.”
He said that while the fuel shortage was a pressing problem, the people of Kalimantan have an even a more urgent demand: that the government be more fair in its national policies for the region, especially with natural resources.
Nabiel said this demand was recently voiced by the provincial legislative council, which called on the government to review a 2004 law that regulates the balance between central government finances and regional finances. The council has also urged the government to review a 2003 regulation on non-taxable state revenue in the energy and mineral sectors.
Both regulations, he said, should be reviewed “in respect to the sharing of revenue when it comes to the management of natural resources and economic resources, to create a sharing ratio that is more just and fair for the regions.”
The lawmaker said the people of Kalimantan have been patient for decades as the government has siphoned off its natural riches with little concessions for them. “The people of Kalimantan feel they have not been treated justly because the formula used to share resources is far from ideal,” he said.
Nabiel added that the people are calling on the government to give back to the region by investing in projects. In particular, they want the state to move quicker to complete infrastructure projects, including the trans-Kalimantan highway and the construction of airports, seaports, roads and bridges.
The government should also construct facilities to generate electricity, complete the zoning master plan for the entire region, settle border disputes and create jobs to economically empower the local people, he added.
Official data shows that although Kalimantan accounts for 32 percent of the country’s land surface, it has just 9.1 percent of the country’s roads.
Sulawesi, which is only 10.8 percent of the Indonesian land surface, accounts for 10.8 percent of the roads, while Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara, which represent 4.1 percent of the country’s land surface, have 9.8 percent of roads.
“Therefore, the people of Kalimantan are really justified in demanding that the central government act more fairly in its preparation of national policies for the region,” Nabiel said.