Jakarta – Indonesia's 5th President and chairperson of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Megawati Sukarnoputri, has expressed criticism over the problems in Papua that are never settled.
Megawati conveyed this while attending the handover of the operation of the corvette and presidential yacht KRI Bung Karno-369 at the Kolinlamil Pier in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta, on Thursday June 1.
Megawati claimed that she truly understands the problems in the regions because she once served as president. She then admitted that she was both sad and surprised that the problems in Papua continue to drag on.
"Because of this I say, I was once the president. I know and I really know, not just know a little, what's it called, before right I also had a [military] commander who liked me to give orders, so I see this, why yeah? Where is the mistake, yeah?", said Megawati.
Therefore, Megawati admitted that she would deploy several army battalions to Papua in concert with the armed conflict between the TNI (Indonesian military) and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB). She views the TPNPB as people of the Republic of Indonesia who have been provoked.
"I see those who are advancing to Papua. I keep saying, hmm, if I was still commander, is it allowed after all to say something Pak [Mr, Sir]?, said Megawati, pausing.
"If I was still commander-in-chief, I'd deploy several battalions there. Cool, right", she continued.
Moreover, she said, the number of armed criminal groups (KKB – the Indonesian government's term for the Free Papua Organisation, OPM) fighters is not more than the number of TNI troops.
"I think that the (the number of KKB fighters) is only so many, right. Really, just kill them, dal, del, dal, del, dead", she added.
Megawati claimed that she dares to say this in front of the Navy soldiers because the problem must be addressed.
"But because I am nobody anymore, yeah, I just keep quiet. But because this is in the Navy, I dare to talk. Why? Yeah, it must be addressed (the Papua issue)", she said.
Megawati then went on to talk about heroism. She alluded to the figure of Commodore Yos Sudarso who fought persistently on the fast torpedo boat the KRI Macan Tutul (The Leopard).
"I remember when the name was heroic, hum, wait, I tend to forget his name, Pak Yos Sudarso. I knew him well, along with his mother, imagine at that time, right, the [Dutch] ship [the HNLMS] Karel Doorman had already entered our waters. Yet at that time, what was the name of the ship, yeah, the MTB [motor torpedo boat], yes, the Macan Tutul. But, right, I thought this officer was, 'wow'. I said he's really great, yes him, [he] thwarted them, right", said Megawati.
"Imagine, the Karel Doorman was big, you know. I don't know if there are any photos any more or not. So imagine, just with this little one (the Macan Tutul) it was thwarted, and yes, what can you do, he devoted himself in this country", she added. (mrh/mik)
The Battle of the Arafura Sea off Papua in 1962, in which Sudarso died and the Macan Tutul was sunk, was considered such an abject failure that then Armed Forces commander General Nasution refused to even relay the bad news to President Sukarno. Megawati herself is credited with compounding the problems in Papua when her government violated the Special Autonomy Law in 2003 and spit the province into Papua and West Papua.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Megawati Kritik Persoalan Papua yang Tak Kunjung Usai".]