Diana Mariska, Jakarta – Indonesia's chief security minister has confirmed the renewal of a presidential instruction, or Inpres, to authorize further development in Papua – the country's easternmost region – under a single government command.
"The renewed presidential instruction will be more comprehensive in its handling of Papua," the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud M.D., said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Previously, state agencies have their own development team in Papua – and each of them has their own system and chain of command.
"The National Development Planning Agency [Bappenas] has a team that focuses mainly on economic development and social welfare. And here [in my ministry], we have a team taking care of security and defense. We will merge all of them under one command. We don't want to give the impression one particular approach, be it security or military, is being preferred," Mahfud said.
Bappenas chairman Suharso Monoarfa will soon take command of all development programs in Papua. "Everything will be under the control of a single team led by the head of Bappenas," Mahfud said.
The new presidential instruction will replace the old one issued in 2017 on the acceleration of development in Papua and West Papua.
Threats to Indonesian sovereignty
Mahfud said separatist movement in Papua remains one of the biggest threats to Indonesia's sovereignty.
"[In] Papua, as you know, we still have separatist movements, even though we treat them as armed civilian groups [Kelompok Sipil Bersenjata, or KSB]," Mahfud said.
Aside from separatism in Papua, Mahfud said another signicant threat to Indonesian sovereignty is China's one-sided claim over parts of the country's territory in the North Natuna Sea.
"China claims they have historic rights over the area. But according to international law, Indonesia has been granted sovereign rights over it through the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS] in 1982. That's why we must strengthen our presence there," Mahfud said.