Jakarta, NAWACITA – House of Representatives’ (DPR) Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah expressed support to President Joko Widodo’s inclination to erect a presidential palace in Papua since it mirrors his vision on mental revolution and Indonesia’s maritime axis.
“The physical presence is so important for Papua. Hence, building a presidential palace in the province will symbolically reflect the president’s presence,” he stated here on Tuesday (Sept 10) while commenting on a discourse on the requirement to build a presidential palace in Papua.
Hamzah admitted to having put forth the suggestion to erect the presidential palace in this easternmost province. Should Indonesia’s capital city be relocated outside Java, it would be better if the government were to relocate it to Papua instead of Kalimantan.
Hamzah opined that Indonesia should begin implementing what he terms the “Asia Pacific tradition” in which maritime is the basis for the Pacific region, and one of the largest areas in the region belongs to Papua Island.
“It means that in addition to Australia, Papua is the biggest island in the Pacific region,” he remarked, adding that the central government should also strengthen Biak’s airport and apply regional divisions in the province by taking into account its large land.
Currently, the Indonesian part of Papua Island has two provinces. Ideally, there are at least six provinces there and several more districts and towns, he noted.
Papua’s large territory and not its population was the key consideration for promoting the regional divisions. “As a nation, we must make Papua prosperous,” Hamzah noted.
Papua and West Papua have come under the spotlight of Indonesian and international mainstream media after a circle of violent protests erupted there in the aftermath of the Surabaya incident that had triggered public ire among native Papuans.
Over the past weeks, native Papuans in several parts of the provinces of Papua and West Papua demonstrated to protest alleged racist slurs against the Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java, on August 16.
On August 29, indigenous residents of Jayapura had again staged protests, with ire erupting over the alleged racist behavior against their compatriots in Surabaya, but their rally then turned violent.
The brutal demonstrators went on a rampage, setting fire to several government buildings. The rioters also intentionally damaged the office of ANTARA, Indonesia’s national news agency, in the city.
On August 28, violence had also erupted in Deiyai District, some 500 kilometers away from Jayapura, claiming the lives of an army soldier and two civilians.