House Seeks to Defuse Papuan ‘Time Bomb’
The House of Representatives announced on Tuesday that it had set up working committees to address the tense security situation in Papua and West Papua provinces.
Mahfudz Sidik, chairman of House Commission I, which oversees foreign and security affairs, said the two working committees were formed on Monday as part of the commission’s follow-up to a visit by legislators to the two provinces three months earlier in response to a string of armed attached blamed on separatists.
Mahfudz, from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said the establishment of the committees was expected to prompt the government to take action, including initiating dialogues to address the underlying causes fueling the secessionist sentiment in the country’s easternmost provinces.
He said the commission had identified several fundamental issues that needed to be resolved, the main one being the general lack of trust among indigenous Papuans toward the central and local governments.
Another is the perceived redundancy of the presidentially appointed Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B). Other factors include long-held grievances over the discrimination against indigenous Papuans and the local governance crisis typified by the stalled gubernatorial election process.
“All these fundamental problems have been allowed to fester without any solutions,” Mahfudz said.
“If we continue to ignore them, we will be arming a time bomb.”