Not to Secede from NKRI, Government Must Regard Papua

Prof. Dr. Ahmad Syafii Maarif

Issues in Papua seem always never end such as disputes among tribes and separatism. Located in the eastern of Indonesia may become one of the reasons why the issues has not been resolved yet. Thus, government of Indonesia should pay more attention on Papua, or the island will secede from the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

In a Public Discussion of Peace Zones: Harmony in Papua organized by Doctorate Program of Islamic Politics of Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) at Graduate School, floor 1, on Thursday (19/5), Prof. Dr. Ahmad Syafii Maarif stated that the complicated issues in Papua are because of the history of Papua merger to NKRI.

Buya Syafii criticized government’s incomprehension of the issue. “Government should utilize socio-anthropological approach to overcome the issues in Papua. In fact, government remains to use military approach. Education in Papua is far behind as the people are not familiar with heroes of Indonesia,” Buya Syafii argued.

Besides Prof. Dr. Munir Mulkhan from UIN Sunan Kalijaga contended that the conflicts in Papua can be surmounted by humanitarian action instead of military approach. “For instance, Regent of Bojonegoro, Suyoto, has been elected for two periods. He did not pledge the people of Bojonegoro position in government or money. He has taken real actions by developing infrastructures so that the people trust him to lead in two periods,” Prof. Munir mentioned.

Prof. Munir told that the aim of Muhammadiyah’s assisting orphans is for humanity. It does not aim at persuading them to join Muhammadiyah. “Even though Muhammadiyah helps people as Islamic teaching, but the main objective is the name of humanity. Thus, dealing with Papua, assisting the people can be from the humanitarian side instead of military,” Prof. Munir emphasized.

In Papua, a lot of issues are not disclosed in public and only people of Papua know the issues. For example, a lecturer of STAIN Al-Fatah in Papua as well as a doctoral student, Ade Yamin, M.A. told a secret. “The people of Papua believe that the original people of Papua are black and have curly hair. I am black but my hair is straight so that I am considered as an immigrant. Indeed, only Papua origins may lead the tribes and become regional officials,” Yamin informed.

Ade Yamin also said that government uses military approach to the people of Papua. “Many black and curly hair people of Papua were shot by armies. Thus, Papua people think that the immigrants are a threat.

Zuly Qodar, as a moderator, concluded that government should employ an effective approach to Papua people. The approach is humanity instead of military. He inserted that Bilver Sigh, a professor of National University of Singapore, stated that, if Papua performs a plebiscite, he believed Papua will escape from NKRI.


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