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DAP: Transmigration harmful to local people

Tabloid JUBI - February 16, 2011

Responding to a report that the government plans to send more transmigrants to Papua, the chairman of DAP, Dewan Adat Papua, Forkorus Yoboisembut said this was a serious matter because it would turn the Papuan people into a minority, as well as triggering conflict.

'As the representative of the adat (traditional) people in Papua, I reject the transmigration programme which fails to safeguard the position of the local people,' he said.

It is reported that the government has allocated Rp 600 billion to pay for the transmigration of people from Indonesia to a number of places in Indonesia regarded as being 'under-populated', including Papua.

'I hope the central government will consider this matter carefully because the transmigration programme to Papua has already resulted in the marginalisation of the indigenous people at a time when a lot of development work is going on.'

Forkorus said that the location of transmigrants in many places in Papua has made it difficult for the local communities to preserve their own culture and lifestyles. Development of more luxurious lifestyles intensifies the marginalisation of the little folk. In addition, with the government's attention being focused on the transmigrants, feelings of envy emerge because the local people do not get the same degree of attention.

He also said that the transmigration programme under way in Papua undermines Papuans' sense of being masters in their own homeland because the vast majority of those now running the economy are non-Papuans.

Papuans are not yet able to compete with the newcomers in economic affairs and this is something the government needs to give serious attention to.