Fadli, Batam, Riau Islands – Riau Islands Governor Isdianto has thrown his support behind residents of Natuna who are seeking to have the regency recognized as a new Indonesian province.
"I support them because of security issues, as the region borders the South China sea. And there is a military power that is exclusively being established to guard the region very well," he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
The Natuna regency is part of Riau Islands province and is located in the outermost northern part of the country. The regency has direct borders not only with the South China Sea but also with Vietnam and Cambodia. The archipelago consists of some 270 islands and is home to approximately 80,000 residents.
The governor visited Natuna from Aug. 22 to Tuesday and acknowledged that the demand to establish the region as a new province was plausible.
"Firstly, the distance between one district to another is quite far. Secondly, the region has tourism potential," he said.
"Development in the region is relatively slow because of the complex bureaucracy. I believe that the region can be further developed under its own provincial administration."
Natuna regent Hamid Rizal said a proposal for the new status had been submitted to the central government in Jakarta. "We have delivered the proposal to the Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko," Hamid said.
According to the presidential mandate (Ampres) on the establishment of 65 new autonomous regions issued in 2013, the Natuna region was divided into three regencies, namely West Natuna, South Natuna and Natuna.
"Principally, the establishment of a new province is already on track," Hamid added. (trn)