Stadion Papua Bangkit
Papua Bangkit Stadium, Photograph, Pes.Social

Various programs from Indonesian presidents for Papua and West Papua began in 1999 after the New Order ended. The work programs of these presidents need to be made notes so that they can be a lesson in resolving the polemic in Papua and West Papua, which continues to this day.

Table of Contents
  1. Abdurrahman Wahid (1999-2001)
  2. Megawati Sukarnoputri (2001-2004)
  3. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (2004-2014)
  4. Joko Widodo (2014-current)

Gus Dur, the Dearest President for West Papuans

Abdurrahman Wahid, colloquially known as Gus Dur, was the 4th President of Indonesia. Wahid played an essential role in changing the Western New Guinea name of Irian Jaya (which was coined by President Suharto) to Papua in 2002.

Wahid allowed the raising of the West Papua flag, the Morning Star, but the flag position should be in a lower position than the Indonesian flag. His decision drew sharp criticism from many political figures in Indonesia. The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation said that Wahid considered the Morning Star flag only as banners rather than symbols of certain groups.

Wahid provided room for groups opposing the existence of Indonesia to be able to hold dialogues securely. Wahid's plan at that time was to meet various elements of society in Papua and watched the first sunrise of the second millennium on January 1, 2000.

Because of his considerations regarding West Papua, Abdurrahman became the first Indonesian president who occupied a special place inside West Papuans' heart.

Abdurrahman Wahid’s contribution to West Papua:

  • Changed the name Irian Jaya to Papua
  • Facilitated the Second Congress of the People of West Papua attended by 5,000 West Papuans

Megawati, The First Female President Who Brings Prosperity


Megawati is the fifth president of Indonesia and also the daughter of the first president, Sukarno. To encourage the development in West Papua, Megawati initiated various plans for the construction of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

Each post-New Order presidential work program reflects President Sukarno's vision of West Papua. The prosperity and security of West Papuans is the government's top priority and is following the 5th precepts of Pancasila, namely “Social justice for all Indonesians.” "All Indonesians" means every single citizen from Sabang to Merauke, from Aceh to West Papua.

Megawati Sukarnoputri’s contribution to West Papua:

  • Passed the Special Autonomy Law for West Papua (Law No.21/2001)
  • Issued a policy that leaders of government positions in West Papua must be native West Papuans
  • Started the granting of annual special autonomy funds, currently reaching IDR 8.36 trillion (2019)

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, A Hope for West Papuan Workers


During his time as president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) carried out three strategic programs. He revised Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy for West Papua to Special Autonomy Plus. He made a conflict resolution plan and intended to continue a full and extensive development in West Papua.

During the ten years of Yudhoyono's presidency, he was not yet satisfied with West Papua's growth. He hoped that the next president would continue to focus on increasing public confidence in the West Papuan grassroots, strengthening security in the Central Mountains, and the formation of a Jakarta-Papua dialogue for restoring the political conditions in West Papua.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s contribution for West Papua:

  • Required all companies in West Papua to have 70% West Papuans, employees
  • Opened communication with five major West Papuan tribes
  • Established Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE)

Today's Era: Revolutionizing Infrastructure and Human Resources

Joko Widodo's administration prioritizes infrastructure and human resource development as a broad framework for conflict resolutions in West Papua. West Papua news covered how Widodo implemented the One Fuel Price policy. He considered that a single fuel price is a form of social justice for West Papuans. In his first term of presidency, he built the Palapa Ring Telecommunication Network. Joko wants all regions in West Papua to enjoy fast internet in 2020.

West Papua is the first region that Widodo's visit in his second term of presidency. In his visit, he promised to construct and repair the 139 km road of Arfak Mountain-Manokwari. He included the development of airport, market, hospital, and health centers in the Arfak Mountains Regency in his working list.

Joko Widodo and his entourage landed in West Papua on October 26, 2019. On October 27, he visited the Arfak Mountains. Coinciding with Indonesia's Youth Pledge Day on October 28, 2019, he inaugurated the Youtefa Bridge, the new icon of Jayapura. Youtefa Bridge is the longest bridge in West Papua of 1,800 meters long and 17 meters full.

Joko then inaugurated the Papuan Youth Creative Hub in Jayapura. The creative hub is to empower West Papuan youth to make innovation, creativity, and technology that better welfare for the people of Papua and Indonesia.

Compared to the previous Indonesian presidents, Joko Widodo has the most visits to West Papua with 13 trips. He also promised that during his second term as president, he would come to West Papua at least two to three times a year.



Joko Widodo’s contribution to West Papua in his first term of the presidency (2015-2019):

  • Built 4,330 km Trans-Papua highway
  • Built 48 airports
  • Built 15 seaports
  • Electrified 72,04% of Papua and West Papua Provinces

Joko Widodo’s contribution to West Papua in his second term of the presidency (2019-now):

1.    To build more infrastructure

Joko Widodo approved the local government request for infrastructure development in the Arfak Mountains Regency on October 27, 2019, to improve access and help economic activities.

  • Arfak Mountains-Manokwari Road
The President agreed to immediately build the 139-kilometer Arfak-Manokwari road to the residents of the Arfak Mountains District, who came from 10 districts and 162 villages.

  • Arfak Mountains Airport
Joko Widodo regards the essential role of an airport to driving the Arfak Mountains' development. He plans to complete the airport in 2 years. The regency has considerable tourism and agricultural potential, and the airport construction will give better access to tourists.

  • Hospital, Health Centers, and Market
Joko Widodo assured that the construction of hospitals, health centers, and markets in the Arfak Mountains would complete within 2-3 years. At present, the Arfak Mountains only has nine health centers with only two general practitioners. The health center will send the patients to the nearest hospital in Manokwari if they cannot be treated.

  • Youtefa Bridge
The Youtefa Bridge, previously known as Holtekamp Bridge, is the new icon for Jayapura City. Joko Widodo inaugurated the bridge that crosses Youtefa Bay on Youth Pledge Day, October 128, 2019. Youtefa Bridge is the longest bridge in West Papua of 1,800 meters long and 17 meters full. This bridge shortens the journey from Jayapura to Skouw, from 2.5 hours to 60 minutes.


2.    To increase tourism

  • Anggi Giji and Anggi Gida Lakes
In Anggi, Sururey, and Taige, Arfak Mountains, stretches two twin lakes named Anggi Giji and Anggi Gida. Anggi Giji's water is dark, and its beaches are sandy brown. The local myth associates this lake as a male. Meanwhile, Anggi Gida's water is bright and bluish. Its beaches are also very white. The local legend associates this lake as a female counterpart of Anggi Giji. The two lakes have a significant potential to invite tourists to the Arfak Mountains and by that increase the regions' income.

  • Youtefa Bay
With the inauguration of the Youtefa Bridge, Joko Widodo hopes that the bridge can be a tourist attraction in Jayapura City. As a marine tourism destination, Youtefa Bay has relatively complete facilities. It has a mangrove forest along 200 meters of the coastline. Because mangrove can reach 7-12 meters high, the Youtefa Bay is lush with greenery.

  • Papua Bangkit Stadium
With International and FIFA Standards, Papua Bangkit Stadium can fit 42,000 spectators in its single-seating podium. This grand stadium was built in 13.7-hectares of land in West Papua because the region is known for its talented football players. Not only that, the name Papua Bangkit is commemorated in a West Papua song made by all West Papuan musicians and singers.


3.    To renovate public facilities
After the riots in Wamena, September 23, 2019, many public facilities and infrastructure sustained severe damage. One of them is Wouma Market. Joko Widodo targets the renovation of the Wouma Market to be completed in 2 weeks so that it can start operating immediately. The rehabilitation of the Wouma Market is a top priority because it is the heart of the economic activity of the people of Wamena who sell agricultural products such as vegetables and fruit. The rehabilitation of residents' houses that were burned or damaged will be self-managed by The Indonesian Army Corps of Engineers and State-Owned Enterprises. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing has the responsibility to repair the regent's office.

4.    Officiated the Papua Youth Creative Hub
Commemorating the Indonesian Youth Pledge Day, October 28, 2019, President Joko Widodo inaugurated the Papuan Youth Creative Hub in Jayapura, Papua Province. The "West Papua's Silicon Valley" inauguration is to fulfill the President's promise to the West Papuan youths.

Previously on September 11, 2019, Joko Widodo met 23 West Papuan youths who had work and achievements in various fields at the State Palace, Central Jakarta. He supports the youth community development to make innovation, creativity, and technology that better welfare for the people of West Papua and Indonesia.

The creative hub will be managed by a company founded by PT Papua Muda Inspiratif, established by 21 young Papuans from seven indigenous regions who have businesses and social activities in different fields. This startup, technology, and business development center will be built on 1.5 hectares of land with 6,000-meter squares total building area. The building has different classes to learn about business, internet, programming, and startup development. It will also provide a dormitory to accommodate around 100 young people who will take part in business learning programs for 1-2 months.


References:
Raditya, Iswara N, 2019, ‘Sejarah Gus Dur yang Membolehkan Bintang Kejora Berkibar di Papua’, tirto.id, 2 September, accessed 18 November 2019,  https://tirto.id/sejarah-gus-dur-yang-membolehkan-bintang-kejora-berkibar-di-papua-ehpc.

Raditya, Iswara N, Rachma Dania, 2019, ‘Sejarah Cinta Presiden Gus Dur dan Bangsa Papua’, tirto.id, 26 August, accessed 18 November 2019, https://tirto.id/sejarah-cinta-presiden-gus-dur-dan-bangsa-papua-eg2.

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