Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Association of Papua’s Pegunungan Tengah Region District Heads has expressed full support for the establishment of new provinces in Papua that will positively impact people's prosperity.

The association’s head, Befa Yigibalom, urged Papuan intellectuals and residents, particularly those from Pegunungan Tengah region, to support the establishment of the Papua Pegunungan Tengah province.

“As good citizens, we must remove all negative thoughts (regarding government policies) and instead welcome them with open arms,” Yigibalom said in a statement received here on Monday.

There has been a continuous outpouring of support for the creation of the Pegunungan Tengah province from mayors, district heads, and customary heads in Pegunungan Tengah region, the district head said while dismissing criticism from some sections of the public that the proposed province is being established only for some elites.

“We clarify that the new province is in the national politics’ interest and not in the interest of the elites or other groups,” he added.

He informed that the proposal for the creation of the new province was deliberated in the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) and the Papuan province's legislature (DPRP) before the new province bill was passed by the House of Representatives (DPR).

The Association of Papua Pegunungan Tengah Region District Heads consists of heads of Central Mamberamo, Jayawijaya, Lanny Jaya, Nduga, Pegunungan Tengah, Puncak, Puncak Jaya, Tolikara, Yahukimo, and Yalimo districts.

According to the recently-passed Papua Pegunungan Province Law that provides the legal basis for the carving out of the new province, at least nine out of the ten districts in the Pegunungan Tengah region will be included in the new province.

Earlier, a study conducted by the Yogyakarta Finance Ministry’s Financial Training Center had revealed that the special autonomy funds disbursed for Papua and West Papua provinces have positively impacted the provinces’ human development index.

Despite the positive impact of the autonomy scheme, geographical, demographic, and sociological issues have hindered efforts to develop the region further, particularly in West Papua, which has recorded a lower development score than Papua province, according to the study.

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Translator: Boyke Ledy Watra, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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