MPR questions security chief's claim 82% of Papuans want new provinces

Source – April 26, 2022
MPR members pose for photo with Widodo and Mahfud at State Palace in Jakarta – April 25, 2022 (PR)

Ardito Ramadhan, Jakarta – Papua People's Council (MPR) Chairperson Timotius Murib has questioned a claim by Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs (Menko Polhukam) Mahfud MD that 82 percent of Papuans agree with the creation of new regions in Papua.

"The Papua People's Council has questioned the statement by Bapak [Mr] Menko Polhukam in relation to the 82 percent aspiring to this. Where did the study come from, when was the study done, and who carried out the study on these aspirations", said Murib at the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on Tuesday April 26.

Murib said that the government should listen to the aspirations of the MRP which rejects the creation of new regions in Papua. This is because the MRP is an official institution in the region as the Papuan people's representative.

"The central government should, must listen to our aspirations, because we are a state institution in the regions which conveys the aspirations of the Papuan people", said Murib.

Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid, who accompanied Murib, added that the claim that 82 percent of the Papuan people want new regions was also conveyed when the MRP met with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo yesterday, on Monday April 25.

But it was only mentioned at the end of the meeting so they were unable to ask for further explanation from the government about the claim.

"We couldn't question it further because the time was up, it was just mentioned, there was no mention whether it was Survey Indikator, the SMRC [Saiful Mujani Research Consulting] or when [the survey] was conducted, how many respondents, in which Papuan regencies, none of that", said Hamid.

Earlier, Mahfud stated that as many as 82 percent of the Papuan people want the creation of new regions. This was based on the results of a survey by a presidential institution.

"The survey was conducted by a presidential institution and it turns out that 82 percent of the Papuan people do indeed want new regions. Are asking for new regions", said Mahfud in a press conference following the meeting between President Widodo and the leaders and members of the MRP at the State Palace on Monday.

"And if you want to talk about agreeing or not to (regional autonomy) in public there are many on both sides. Some protests support it, there are some protests which don't support it", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "MRP Pertanyakan Klaim Mahfud soal 82 Persen Rakyat Papua Setuju Pemekaran".]