Jakarta, CNN Indonesia – Papua People's Assembly (MRP) chairman Timotius Murib said that the four regents who recently declared a new province, the South Papua province, had yet to submit a proposal on the expansion to the MRP.
"Yes, we have heard about the formation of the South Papua province. However, they have yet to submit the proposal to the MRP so far," Murib said on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
He said that regional expansion in Papua must be proposed to the MRP, the Papua Legislative Council, and the Papua governor as stipulated in Law No. 21/2001 on Papua Special Autonomy. A new administration can be formed only with the recommendations and approval of the three institutions.
"If they propose an expansion to the MRP, the MRP will visit these areas to get those aspirations. That's the mechanism but it's not happening right now," said Murib.
Murib agreed that expansion of administration would bring the government closer to the people and was beneficial for development. However, he disapproved if the expansion was used as a means to secure a position for the regents who had completed their terms of office.
Murib further said that his party was waiting for an official application on the formation of the South Papua province. "Aspirations and declarations are welcome, but it must go through the applicable mechanism," he said.
On Tuesday, four regents, namely the Merauke regent, Asmat regent, Boven Digoel regent, and Mappi regent declared the formation of the South Papua Province. They set up a joint secretariat in Merauke to encourage the formation of the new province.
Previously, Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian said that Papua would be divided into six administrative regions namely Southwest Papua, West Papua, Central Papua, Central Mountains, South Papua, and Papua Tabi Saireri. However, the plan is not final and still under deliberation.
The Indonesian government has been imposing a moratorium on regional expansion since 2014. Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Ministry has recorded 314 proposals of regional expansion as of December 2020.