Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – The House of Representatives has agreed on the bill on the establishment of three new provinces in Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua which will bring the total number of provinces on the island to five.
Ultimately, the Indonesian half of the New Guinea Island that shares a land border with Papua New Guinea will have a total of seven provinces.
The House has agreed on the establishment of the provinces of South Papua, Central Papua, and Central Mountain Papua, in addition to the two existing provinces of Papua and West Papua, House Speaker Puan Maharani said on Friday.
"The entry of new provinces in eastern Indonesia is meant to accelerate the equal development across Papua and to better serve the Papuan people," Puan said.
The bill also seeks to achieve the equal distribution of wealth in the impoverished region, she added.
The three new provinces will share around 20 districts currently under the administrative control of the province of Papua.
South Papua will be comprised of Merauke as the provincial capital, Mappi, Asmat, and Boven Digoel.
Central Papua will consist of Timika as the provincial capital, Nabire, Puncak Jaya, Mimika, Paniai, Dogiyai, Deyiai, Intan Jaya, and Puncak.
Central Mountain Papua will have Wamena as its capital and cover Jayawijaya, Lanny Jaya, Central Mamberamo, Nduga, Tolikara, Yahukimo, and Yalimo.
Two more new provinces in Papua are currently being discussed by the Legislation Council, according to Inosentius Samsul, chairman of the Board of Experts of the House Secretariat.
The two would-be provinces include North Papua and Southwest Papua, which will share districts in Papua and West Papua.
North Papua will have Biak Numfor as its capital while Southwest Papua will have the governor's office in Sorong, Inosentius said.
When all the new entries are official, Indonesia will have a total of 39 provinces.