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Developing Merauke and South Papua province in waiting

Developing Merauke and South Papua province in waiting

President Joko Widodo greets local residents after inaugurated the General LB Moerdani Modular Hospital in Merauke District, Papua on Sunday (Oct 3, 2021). ANTARA/HO-Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau/Laily Rachev/am.

After officially opening Papua's 20th PON National Games on Saturday evening, President Joko Widodo continued his working visit on Sunday by inaugurating several infrastructure projects in Merauke District.

The infrastructure projects that the President inaugurated during his visit to Merauke that will sooner or later become the capital of a new province in Papua include Mopah Airport's new passenger terminal and Sota integrated cross-border post.

During his working visit, he was accompanied by several ministers and top state officials, including Coordinating Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD, Home Minister Tito Karnavian, Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, House of Representatives (DPR) Speaker Puan Maharani, and Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto.

When inaugurating the Mopah Airport's new 7,200-square-meter passenger terminal, the President, widely known as Jokowi, disclosed that the airport is able to accommodate 638,000 passengers per year.

Related news: Four Papuan districts can form South Papua Province: Home minister
Related news: Jokowi inaugurates Mopah Airport terminal in Merauke


In Merauke, President Jokowi also inaugurated the General LB Moerdani Hospital whose existence will optimize the healthcare services for the residents of Merauke and those participating in Papua's PON National Games.

While delivering his speech at the inauguration of Sota cross-border post (PLBN), he highlighted the importance of border areas for Indonesia as they function as Indonesia's front porches that represent the nation's image.

Therefore, they must sustainably be developed. Having the border areas get well developed will present Indonesia's progress that makes the entire nation proud, according to President Jokowi.

To this end, over the past seven years, he has ordered related government agencies to rebuild various cross-border posts across the archipelago.

However, the reconstruction of the cross-border posts that has made the nation have a new physical image must also be completed with a continuous improvement in public services.

"Providing new ways of serving the public becomes our commitment to developing Indonesia from its periphery," he said.

The Sota cross-border post is expected to help boost new economic growth centers, and improve services in the Indonesia-PNG land border area of Merauke District.

At the end, its presence would hopefully make local residents near the border area have deeper love and pride of Indonesia, President Jokowi said.

Noted as the eighth integrated cross-border post in Indonesia, and second one in Papua after the PLBN Skouw, the PLBN Sota in Sota Sub-district relatively has complete facilities.

The facilities include a commercial building, a market, social and public facilities, a worship place, a worker dormitory, accommodation facility, pedestrian facility, and a parking area.

People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker Bambang Soesatyo said he appreciates the government for implementing the principle of equality in regional developments in Papua and other provinces outside Java.

The presence of several newly-completed infrastructure facilities in Merauke will apparently support the will of residents of the Merauke, Bovel Digoel, Mappi, and Asmat districts to create South Papua Province.

Regarding the regional division to create South Papua Province, Home Minister Tito Karnavian had highlighted "a specialty" pertaining to the public's aspirations in the four districts.

Karnavian made the statement during his working visit along with top security minister, Mahfud MD, to Sota Sub-district near the Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border on September 12, 2021.

To this end, the government will revise the Papua Special Autonomy Law, according to Karnavian, who had earlier headed the Papua police headquarters before being promoted to serve as Indonesia's national police chief and then home minister.

Karnavian further called for accelerated development in Papua, so that the regional division for creating South Papua Province with Merauke as its capital city becomes indispensable.

In the early stage, Pegunungan Bintang District was keen to be part of South Papua Province, but due to its geographical proximity to Jayapura, it united with the "Saereri Division," he remarked.

Referring to a new regulation, four districts in South Papua could have formed their own province, he noted, adding that the Home Ministry is currently deliberating and preparing a government regulation, he stated.

Coordinating Minister Mahfud MD has given his ministry a deadline to complete the government regulation on this regional division by October 19, 2021. It still needs to be merged with the aspirations of those at the grassroots level, Karnavian stated.

Hence, Karnavian urged community leaders and all societal elements at large in the districts of Merauke, Boven Digoel, Mappi, and Asmat to stand united to express their aspirations for the creation of South Papua Province.

They must also write a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, he noted, adding that Merauke District had vast potential in agriculture and fisheries.

Owing to its huge potential and sufficient availability of human resources, he is confident that South Papua will rise to become the most developed province on the land of Papua.

Related news: President Jokowi inaugurates Papua's Sota cross-border post
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