Government claims 92% electoral participation proves Papuans support integration

CNN Indonesia – May 25, 2021
Security chief Mahfud MD speaking in Jakarta – Undated (Press Bureau)

Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Mahfud MD claims that only a handful of Papuans want independence. More than that, he said, 92 percent of Papuans support the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

This figure, said Mahfud, can be proved based on the number of people that took part in the 2019 elections. Around 92 percent of Papuans took part in the elections meaning, according to Mahfud, that they care about and are pro-NKRI.

"Ninety-two percent of Papuans are pro-NKRI, the calculation is like this, the number that took part in the elections. Meaning they're part of the NKRI, right. Now, out of the 92 percent of people, 93 percent voted for Pak [Mr] Jokowi [President Joko Widodo], the remainder voted for Pak Prabowo [Subianto]", said Mahfud during a working meeting with the House of Representatives (DPR) on Tuesday May 25.

Indeed, said Mahfud, there are still separatist groups who often commit acts of violence in Papua. But they cannot be invited for dialogue because in their minds there is only one goal, namely they want independence.

"There are indeed also separatist groups whose ideas are like that, basically [they want] independence. This is a very small number", said Mahfud. "So the issue is indeed that we are only confronting a small group of people who are asking for independence", he said.

Mahfud also took the opportunity to say that all policy decisions taken by the government on Papua are taken after listening to the Papuan people. All policy decisions are taken based on the recommendations which have been presented by different parties.

Mahfud conceded that right now the government has indeed not succeeded 100 percent in dealing with Papua. Moveover, he said, the problems in Papua itself are many.

Mahfud however made assurances that every policy decision that is taken is the result of the government's dialogue and discussion with social figures that have an association with Papua.

"We and the DPR, with the Papuan people have a dialogue, then policies emerge on dealing with Papua", he said. (tst/ain)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Mahfud MD: 92 Persen Partisipasi Pilkada Bukti Papua Pro-NKRI".]