Four days before completing his first two years in his office, President Joko Widodo conducted a two-day visit to Papua. During his visit, president inaugurated a number of projects, including a new airport in Yahukimo regency, two powers plants and four other electricity infrastructures in Papua and West Papua.  The newly inaugurated project, which worth around IDR 989 billions, helped increasing electrification ratio in Papua, reaching 47 percent, and 85 percent in West Papua. For the benefit, local administration could expectedly save up to IDR164 billion annually.

Further to overcome the electricity problem, the government is to speed up the works on other power plants projects worth IDR 7 trillion that are spreading in 13 regions. All works are expected to be accomplished in 2019, a year before the holding of the National Sports Tournament (PON) XX in Papua. “Jokowi welcomed in Papua, orders PLN to speed up projects,” The Jakarta Post reported, sharing similar news with daily Koran Tempo and Kompas.

Sharing the same coverage on the president’s visit, Rakyat Merdeka primed its report on the launching of one-price fuel program for the people in Papua.  In some remote places in Papua, the fuel price could earlier reach up to IDR 100,000 per-liter due to distribution problem. Under the one-price fuel policy, the price should be set around IDR 7,000, which is the normal price in other regions across the country.

Between a rock and a hard place

While Papua Governor, Lukas Enembe, praised President Jokowi for what he has been doing for Papua, voices of criticism were still there echoing along his visit.  Among others, it came from Natalius Pigai from the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM). Pigai said that the visit of President Jokowi to Papua is useless, and only consume the regional budget (, 18/10).  In his opinion, the visit would not bring any positive effects to Papua. Further, he even doubted the president’s competency in building trust and in handling security management.

Behind his statement, Pigai might have had high expectation on President Jokowi in dealing with human right issues there. Human right issues are indeed part of the homeworks and assignments need to be settled and accomplished, right there on the row next to education, food sectors, transportation, security and other infrastructures. In a way to prevent himself from being caught between a rock and a hard place, it is understandable that President Jokowi needs to wisely set up the priorities to get things done right and fine.

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The fact that President Jokowi has come to Papua four times during his first two years of administration, however, deserved appreciation. So were his efforts to initiate meeting with local elders, religions leaders, and politicians, and not to mention the deployment of 24 professors to Papua to assist developing education and food sectors there (Antara 18/8).  Scrutinizing media publication about him, until one day before the completion of his first two years of administration, there is still adequate trust on his way of doing things right in Papua. (L. Bekti Waluyo)

Category: Scrutiny 2015-2017


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