Tuesday, March 25, 2014

1) In Timika, finding a fortune in crocodile skin

1) In Timika, finding a fortune  in crocodile skin
2) PNG AUTHORITIES DETAIN INDONESIAN POLICEMAN
3) Garuda keen to take over  Merpati’s pioneer flight  service in Papua
4) Chance for candidates to  show stance on rights 

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1) In Timika, finding a fortune  in crocodile skin

Markus Mardius, Contributor, Timika, Papua | Feature | Tue, March 25 2014, 12:21 PM



In Timika, tanners and leather workers have banded together in collectives to work with the skins of crocodiles. 

Representatives of the collectives, which have permits from the local Forestry Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Agency, say business has been brisk, with profits topping Rp 300 million (US$26,362) a month.

One of the tanners, Pardianto, owns the Argo Boyo workshop. He describes himself as the pioneer in the local crocodile tanning business.

The 45-year-old came from Karanganyar, Central Java, to Papua in 1991 to find his fortune. While he started out selling leather shoes, belts and purses; after eight years he became a leather worker.

“In 1999, I started running crocodile leather handicrafts by employing six locals around my workshop, Pardianto said. “I watched and learned from those who were skilled how to skin crocodile leather.”

He continues. “It took me long enough to be skilled when I was in Jayapura. Instead of simply reselling the crocodile leather, I thought I’d better become a craftsman.”


Pardianto says that he’s never at a want for raw material: Crocodiles abound in the rural areas of Timika and members of the Kamoro tribe visit him almost every day with fresh skins.

Another tanner, Unggul, 40, runs the four-person Joyoboyo workshop on Jl. Serui. He said that a single crocodile carcass had a host of uses. “A crocodile has a lot of functions, namely its leather to be tanned, teeth as necklace beads, gall for medication and eggs and meat for food.”

Pardianto says that the skin is most valuable to him. “An inch of crocodile leather costs Rp 40,000. A single piece of crocodile leather can reach up to 20 inches. Once every three days I can get a piece of raw leather that’s as big as 200 inches.”

The workshops make about 500 purses, 25 handbags, and 150 belts a month that are then typically resold in Merauke, Sorong or Timika.

The tanners say that demand has outstripped supply — quite a change from the situation two years ago, when they could only sell about 60 percent of their monthly output. 

Now there are buyers from outside Timika, from big cities such as Jakarta. Many have placed huge orders.

“We receive orders from clients every week,” added Tomy, the owner of Arto Boyo. The 42-year-old came from Cilacap, Central Java, looking for work five years ago.

Another tanner, Usman Sugianto, said that the collectives have rejected loans offered by banks to buy equipment to mechanize the process.

“Big capital is necessarily required if we want to buy modern tanning machines,” Sugianto said. “But we can’t afford the maintenance, not to mention other costs. In addition, it needs funds for permits from the government to operate.”

Pardianto voiced a similar sentiment. “The profits that I have are enough to pay for my six employees. Most importantly, I have enough funds to purchase the raw materials for crocodile leather from the community. I am grateful for this effort so that until now I can have a house, land, and personal vehicles.”

Sudarwanto, who came from Jakarta to go into business with Pardianto, said that the collectives offered goods at competitive prices to stores in the capital.

“In the plazas, malls, and shops in Jakarta, the prices could rise dozens of times. Only the upper class can buy them,” he says. “For a pair of shoes from a famous brand like Hermes or Louis Vuitton, the price could be Rp 40 million. Purses and belts could be Rp 15 million. A lady’s handbag might be worth Rp 400 million.” 

The prices in Timika were more reasonable, he added, ranging from Rp 250,000 for a belt, a pair of shoes for Rp 1.8 million or a handbag for Rp 2 million.

Big-ticket items such as golf bags could be had for Rp 20 million, while a travel bag might be had for Rp 40 million. 

“Handbags and purses are in great demand on the market. Most of our buyers are businessmen, government officials and individuals,” Pardianto says. “We also work together with galleries or shops in Timika in an effort to introduce our products.”

Unggul says that a single item can be made in as little as a day, depending on size. Suitcases, shoes and handbags take a day, while a golf bag needs five. 

Titus Mameyau, 48, says he makes Rp 8 million a month supplying crocodile skins to the collectives — enough to send his two sons to university in Semarang, Central Java.

He hunts for crocodiles while walking along the river, typically catching two a month. He’s done the work for about 10 years.

Pardianto describes what happens after the skins are purchased: “The raw crocodile leather is still rough leather that has been skinned. The skinned leather must be soaked in a small bathtub measuring 150 centimeters square and mixed with chemicals, in order to make it odorless and durable, for one week up to ten days. Then, it should be dried for three days. The dried leather is varnished with brown, black and yellow leather paint.”

Usman Sugianto, who resells crocodile goods on Jl. A. Yani in Timika, says he takes delivery of products from the collectives about three times a month. “The selling price in my gallery is certainly different from the original price. However, the buyers never bargain.”

For the curious, take an ojek (motorcycle taxi) from Timika to the workshops on Jl. Apel for about 
Rp 20,000.

— Photos by Markus Mardius

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2) PNG AUTHORITIES DETAIN INDONESIAN POLICEMAN
West Papua and Papua New Guinea


Jayapura 24/3 (Jubi) – A policeman from the Keerom Police, First Brigadier Muhammad Muryamin, was briefly detained by the Papua New Guinean army on Sunday (23/3)  for carrying a firearm at the border with PNG, police said.
Papua Police spokesman Commissioner Senior Sulistiyo Pudjo Hartono said Muryamin was visiting the border area with his family when he was arrested.
“He was crossing the border area with his family for vacation, and accidentally  he brought a weapon,” Hartono said on Monday (24/3).
Hartono said the officer has been transferred to the Indonesian Consulate in Vanimo to be returned to his police unit by Monday (24/3).
He  was handed over  by Indonesian Consular in Vanimo, Jahar Gultom to the chief of Keerom Police Operations, Commissioner Bambang Dimara, for a further examination by Provost.
Hartono said Muryamin was entering the border legally and his luggage and weapon have been returned. The Police also did not impose a penalty for this case.  “We have crossed him to the Border Office at 13:00 Papua time along with his weapon and bullets as well,” said Gultom by phone on Monday (24/3). (Jubi/Indrayadi TH/rom)


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3) Garuda keen to take over  Merpati’s pioneer flight  service in Papua
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Tue, March 25 2014, 12:30 PM
Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has expressed its interest in taking over one of Merpati’s pioneer flight services in Papua offered by the Transportation Ministry.
“We are exploring the possibility of taking over Merpati’s route from Sorong to Timika,” Garuda Indonesia sales and marketing director Erik Maijer said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.
The financially troubled Merpati stopped operations in February due to mounting debts, which had reached Rp 6.7 trillion (US$577.7 million).
Erik said most pioneer routes were usually served by small airplanes, each with a capacity of 18 passengers.
However, he said, Garuda Indonesia does not currently have any small-sized airplanes.
“We don’t have any smaller airplanes. Our smallest airplane has a capacity of 70 passengers. The Sorong-Timika route is the only possible option,” he said.
Garuda is one of the five airline companies expressing an interest in taking over 19 routes in Papua from Merpati. The other four are Sriwijaya Air, Citilink, Kalstar and Express. (put)
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4) Chance for candidates to  show stance on rights 
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Tue, March 25 2014, 12:05 PM

Candidates competing in the July 2014 presidential election will have an opportunity to explain to voters their positions on major human rights issues thanks to a new survey, an international non-governmental organization (INGO) has said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), an INGO that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, said that it had distributed a questionnaire to likely presidential candidates on March 21, giving them nine questions on the country’s most pressing human rights concerns.
HRW will release responses received by the survey’s May 16 deadline in early June.
“Indonesia’s next president will inherit serious human rights problems which require leadership and commitment to resolve them all,” said HRW’s deputy director for Asia, Phelim Kine, in a release made available to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
“Indonesian voters should insist that presidential candidates make explicit their plans to promote and strengthen human rights in the country,” Kine further said.
There are currently five presidential aspirants who, depending on the results of the legislative election on April 9, will form election tickets with vice presidential candidates. Additional candidates may join the presidential race depending on the results.
The country’s election laws require a political party to win more than 20 percent of seats in the 560-seat House of Representatives, or 25 percent of the total votes, in order to nominate a presidential election ticket. The government plans to release the results of the legislative election on May 6.
The HRW questionnaire sought responses on issues concerning religious minorities, women’s rights, the situation in Papua, reforms to the justice system, as well as refugees and asylum seekers. (ebf)

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Questionnaire Spotlights Contenders’ Stance on Key Issues
MARCH 24, 2014


(Jakarta) – Candidates for Indonesia’s July 2014 presidential election will have an opportunity in a new survey to explain to voters their positions on major human rights issues, Human Rights Watch said today.
Human Rights Watch distributed a questionnaire on March 21, 2014, to likely presidential candidates posing nine questions on the country’s most pressing human rights concerns. Human Rights Watch will release the responses received by its May 16 deadline in early June.
“Indonesia’s next president will inherit serious human rights problems requiring leadership and commitment,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director. “Indonesian voters should insist that presidential candidates make explicit their plans to promote and strengthen human rights in the country.”
Indonesians will vote for a new president on July 9. Indonesia’s presidential term limits bar the current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has been in elected office since 2004, from running for a third term. There are currently five aspirant presidential candidates who, depending on the results of Indonesia’s April 9, 2014, legislative election, will in the coming weeks form election tickets with vice presidential candidates. Additional candidates may join the presidential race depending on those results. 
Indonesian law requires a political party or a coalition of parties to win more than 20 percent of seats in the 560-seat House of Representatives, or 25 percent of the total votes, in order to nominate a presidential election ticket. The government will release the results of the April 9, 2014, legislative election on May 6, 2014.
The Human Rights Watch questionnaire seeks responses on issues concerning religious minorities, women’s rights, the situation in Papua, reforms to the justice system, and refugees and asylum seekers.

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