Special Autonomy Seats Belong to Customary People

Abepura, Jubi – Legislative seats reserved for the indigenous Papuans as regulated in the Papua Special Autonomy Law must be given to customary people.

Self-styled customary institutions such as Customary Law Institute (LMA) and Barisan Merah Putih (BMP/local nationalist force) are not allowed to compete for the seats under the customary law.

“Which one of these customary institutions represents Papuans? LMA was a product of the Ministry of Internal Affairs that we don’t know for what reason it was established, while Papuans already had DAP (the Papua Customary Law Council),” a board of the Papua Customary Law Council, Willem Rumasep told Jubi at DAP Office, Jayapura on Monday (26/1).

“And who was behind the BMP? BMP is not part of customary bodies,” he said.

This statement was not automatically denying the indigenous people who joined those categorized-customary institutions. He strongly recognized them as part of customary people, but their institutions were established to serve political interest despite of the interest of indigenous.

“DAP has law and regulation drawn up by the customary people. It was not being set by certain parties,” he said.

He said if the government has really reserved the seats for the customary people, DAP would not take it, but on the other hand it must give recommendations on who deserve them. Therefore, he further said the government should build a communication with DAP for participating in the process of recruitment, selection and inauguration.

Unfortunately, until now he said the government has not sent a letter to DAP. Event the Provincial Government of West Papua that has been succeed to appoint eleven indigenous people was never communicate with DAP, but it’s not a problem because the opportunity has given to the DAP members.

“I have not received any letter from the government, but it may directly contact the representatives of seven customary areas. If it is so, it would be a problem then. We will accept anyone who’ll be appointed, just like in West Papua Province. There were eight of eleven seats represented by DAP members. It would be a problem if the candidates were nominated by using the customary label,” he said.

Last week, the BMP Chairman, Ramses Ohee stated the customary figures of five customary areas recommended him to nominate persons who will represent Papuans in the parliament. “They officially gave me a mandate. They said I must do it for the safe of Papua,” he said.

Earlier, the Chairman of Commission I of the Papua Legislative Council, Elvis Tabuni said the main agenda of Commission I is to recruit, select and appoint 14 councilors representing the indigenous Papuans as regulated by Law No. 21/2001 on the Papua Special Autonomy Law.

He said it was just waiting for the governor’s letter about the registration and approval. Once it got the letter, the Papua Legislative Council will establish a Special Committee who will responsible to establish a Selection Committee to recruit 14 candidates from five customary areas, namely Mamta, Saireri, Lapago, Meepago and Anim Ha.

Earlier, the Regional Secretary of Papua Province told media the governor’s letter about 14 seats has been registered. However, a member of Commission I, Emus Gwijangge declined it. “Until now, the Commission I has not received the copy yet. We just found out from the media,” Gwijangge said.

According to him, like or not, the Special Regional Regulation on 14 seats must be implemented in accordance with the Papua Special Regulation Law to prevent the customary people, Papua’s Parliament and Papua People’s Assembly to blame each other because it was not well implemented. (Benny Mawell/Arjuna Pademme/Rom)