Antara, Jakarta – The Social Affairs Ministry explained the controversial remark by Minister Tri Rismaharini, or more known as Risma, about threatening to transfer state civil apparatus or ASN to Papua.
Director-General of Social Rehabilitation, Raden Harry Hikmat, said it was a form of motivation for civil servants to be more caring during the state of emergency of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Harry, the remark was an effort to boost state employees' empathy for the current social conditions.
"The statement that [they] will be transferred to Papua, the farthest region [from Bandung] but still within Indonesia means that all workers must be able to leave their comfort zone, family, and daily routines to play a role in overcoming social issues from Aceh to Papua," said Harry in a statement received in Jakarta, Wednesday, July 14.
As widely reported, Minister Risma voiced protest to a number of state apparatus and threatened to transfer them to Papua because they did not join to help in the ministry's public kitchen in Balai Wyata Guna Bandung and even prepared a music performance that she considered unnecessary.
Risma's remark on Papua, however, met with public criticism. The PapuaituKita Forum and the Papuan Anti-racism Student Coordinator Michael Himan opined that the minister's statement was provocative, racist, and discriminatory. "An apology from the Social Affairs Minister is very important for the Papuan people so as not to cause new problems," he said.