Sunday, January 3, 2016


3) Papua To Build Rice Warehouse in Merauke

                                                   Freeport mining area in Timika –

Jayapura, Jubi – On November 2015 Indonesian politics was scandalised by a leaked secretly-recorded meeting between the head of the parliament and a representative from Freeport-McMoRan, a US gold and copper mining company that have a mining concession in West Papua. The meeting was related to the expiry of Freeport’s concession contract in 2021 and the head of parliament’s attempt to get some shares in the renewal of the huge contract, which was unethical not to mention illegal. It was disgraceful and it reignited the nationalistic debate whether Freeport even should be allowed to extend their concession contract beyond 2021, and instead plenty of Indonesian people believe that after decades of exploitation the mine should finally be given back to Indonesia.
Then it got me into a research mode, where I found some odd timeline about West Papua and Freeport, and discovered that “to give back” Freeport-controlled mine to Indonesia might not necessarily be an accurate expression, perhaps as misleading as to “unite back” the two Korean countries (there’s never been 1 country called Korea, only kingdoms before the peninsula was annexed by Japan).
So the timeline goes like this: Indonesia unilaterally claimed independence on 17 August 1945, while the Dutch acknowledged Indonesia’s independence from them only on 27 December 1949 but still occupies West Papua (then called Netherlands New Guinea). In 1960 Freeport geologist confirmed the Dutch discovery of a large above-ground gold and copper deposits in West Papua. On 1 December 1961 West Papua declared itself independent from the Dutch. In 1962 Indonesia began to launch a military operation to incorporate West Papua back into Indonesia (the argument goes, on 28 October 1928 Youth Declaration to fight for Indonesian independence, a youth representative from West Papua was present), however Indonesia was claiming to annex West Papua from the colonial Netherlands and not invading a recently-independent country.

Then US president John F. Kennedy (JFK) interfere [with the official reason] to restore peace. And from 15 August 1962, following the New York Agreement (which was drafted by JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy whom was the special envoy for West Papua), United Nations forms United Nations Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA) to act as a caretaker and prepare for an “Act of Free Choice” for West Papua in 1969, which is basically a referendum.
This is where it gets weird. Between 1962 and 1969 a lot of things happened: JFK was assassinated on 22 November 1963, while Indonesian president Soekarno was technically toppled in 1965 on a manipulative coup led by CIA-backed general Soeharto whom then officially became president on 12 March 1967. The 1st order of business by the new president Soeharto? He signed a concession deal with Freeport a month later on April 1967 to allow Freeport extract the gold and copper mine in West Papua, even though West Papua wasn’t officially a part of Indonesia yet. Note that a year earlier in 1966 Freeport formed Freeport Indonesia Inc, a subsidiary to negotiate a contract with the Indonesia government (not the Dutch government nor the independent West Papua government) to develop the Ertsberg mine, and the negotiation in 1967 was conducted under the guidance of Henry Kissinger (whom later joins Freeport’s board). On 5 June 1968 Robert Kennedy, like his brother before him, was assassinated. And in 1969 when the referendum was conducted, out of 815,906 population at the time only 1026 selected elders were eligible to vote, and some argued that they were under pressure to vote for joining Indonesia.

So this got me thinking, was West Papua the main reason CIA staged a coup on president Soekarno, to smooth the road for Freeport’s presence in there? And as a result, did CIA-backed president Soeharto struck a deal with the US on West Papua, where Indonesia gets the land but the US gets the natural resources underneath it? Despite the fact that West Papua has been a part of Indonesia for more than 4 decades now, it is still disconnected from the rest of the archipelago, with the news about the activities and history in West Papua are almost unknown until this day, as media access to West Papua have always been severely restricted. Even to visit West Papua, according to researcher at Human Rights Watch Andreas Harsono, an official permission would require signatures from 18 separate ministries and security agencies. The question is, what are they hiding?
Somewhere in the middle of these occurrences, the Free West Papua movement emerged, with Benny Wenda leading the movement for independence from exile in the United Kingdom. However, if history is any indication, the Free West Papua movement is arguably futile, because if ever they get their independence power will only shift from corrupt officials in Indonesia to corrupt officials in independent West Papua, while the majority of ordinary citizens remain relatively poor, deliberately under-educated and perhaps even oppressed. This is what have happened in a lot of post-colonial African countries and in countries with abundant natural resources, from Timor Leste to Guatemala to Nigeria. But if independence is not the answer, then what is? To his credit, compared to his predecessors, the new Indonesian president Jokowi has made a greater attention and effort to look after West Papua, including an effort to make the contract renegotiation with Freeport more beneficial for the local West Papuans. However, the results from these efforts remain to be seen and for now the big question remains, will they be significantly matter in the long run for the people of West Papua?
Obviously there are more questions than answers at this point, questions that are probably will never be truly answered.
The island of Papua is the 2nd largest island in the world after Greenland, and Indonesia officially owns half of it. The area covers around 40 million hectares of land (about 5 times the size of “main island” Java) with 3.5 to 4 million population live there (1.5 million of whom are native Papuans). Meanwhile, Freeport McMoRan controls 90.64% stake of Freeport Indonesia, where their current concession the Grasberg mine (multiple times bigger than the original Ertsberg mine, which was largely depleted in mid 1980s) span more than 2.5 kilometres in width, sit 4270 metres above sea level, and it is considered as the largest known deposit of gold and the 3rd largest deposit of copper in the world. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with 700,000 tons of rock are moved every single day, and with 6 billion tons of industrial waste expected to be produced in total. As at the current contract, which will be expired in 2021, Freeport pays 1% loyalty on gold to the Indonesian government, and 3.5% royalty on copper. It is also worth noting that Freeport has been the largest provider of jobs, infrastructure, technology, education and services in West Papua, contributing up to 45.4% of the GDP in the Papua province.
Further readings:
John Pilger on West Papua [New Statesman / John Pilger]
The history of Netherlands New Guinea [Peter Van Der Heijden]
The story of Free West Papua movement [Open Democracy / Hugh Brody]
Documents on Indonesia’s 1969 takeover of West Papua [The National Security Archive / Edited by Brad Simpson]
JFK, Indonesia, CIA & Freeport Sulphur [The Secret Truth / lisa Pease]
West Papua: a history of exploitation [Al Jazeera English / N.A.J. Taylor]
West Papua: in need of media coverage and international intention [Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization]
The Indonesian government appoints Freeport lobbyist as presidential staff [Tempo / Inge Klara Safitri]
Freeport McMoRan’s positive economic impacts to Indonesia and enterprise development [3BL Media]
Enhancing the competitiveness of the Papua region [The Jakarta Post / Mamay Sukaesih]
Conversation Between Kennedy and Sukarno on West Papua Issue (former West New Guinea) [Tabloid Jubi / Victor Mambor]

Jayapura, Jubi – During his last visit on Tuesday – Friday (29 December 2015-1 January 2016), President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurates some infrastructures project in Papua and West Papua province. He had visited a number of districts in Papua including Merauke, Wamena, Nduga, Timika, Rajaampat and Sorong during his stay for four days in the region.
After inaugurates Merauke Port, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) dedicated the new passenger terminals at Wamena and Kaimana airports.
“The geographical conditions are challenging that must be responded quickly to accelerate infrastructure development (in the region), including roads, bridges, and airports as well as the means of transportation, especially air transportation,” President Jokowi stated during the ceremony attended by Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan and Minister of Public Works Basuki Hadimoeljono.
President Jokowi, First Lady Iriana Widodo, and their entourage arrived in Wamena on Wednesday afternoon. The inauguration of the Wamena and Kaimana airports in Wamena, which the villagers in Papua had long awaited, especially people living in the hilly areas, continued despite a shooting incident at the Sinak police precinct in the district several days ago.
Jokowi noted that the geographical conditions in the region must not become obstacles in carrying out development in Kaimana and Wamena. According to President Jokowi, the new terminal at the Wamena airport is better than those in Java.
He affirmed that airports and seaports are needed to support connectivity between districts, provinces, and islands.
“In view of this, during the next five years, we will focus on infrastructure development to ease transportation of passengers and goods,” Jokowi remarked.
“Difficulties faced in carrying out infrastructure development in Papua must not pose a hindrance since if it is always used as a pretext, then no infrastructure development will ever be carried out in the province. I believe every problem has a solution, including in the efforts to develop Papua,” he said.
President Jokowi stated that the Wamena and Kaimana airports are strategically located as they are gateways connecting Papuas central hilly regions to the other parts of Indonesia.
At present, Wamena airport has a terminal capable of accommodating 282 passengers and a 2,175-meter-long runway. It will be the second busiest airport in Papua.
President Jokowi has urged the Ministry of Transportation and regional governments to work in tandem to improve services.

“Synergy is the key to improving the quality of services offered to the public in Papua,” he affirmed.
He noted that Papuans had long awaited the availability of better public services.
On the occasion, President Jokowi not only called for better services but also urged to pay attention to the condition of aircraft operating in the region.
“There must not be any compromise with regard to the safety of passengers and flights, especially as the region has a hilly terrain,” he added.

Indonesia`s Biggest Sago Factory Begins Operations

Indonesias state-owned forestry company PT Perhutani has set up the biggest sago factory in the country in Kais, West Papua, and it began operations on Friday (1/1/2016).
President Joko Widodo inspected the factory on Friday and expressed hope that it would have a positive impact on the environment along with the regions economy.
The companys president director, Mustoha Iskandar, stated that natural sago has huge potential in Papua.
The company has invested Rp150 billion on the factory that would employ 40 locals and involve 600 farmers to supply the raw materials.
Currently, the price of sago in Java is Rp6,800 per kilogram, and its demand is expected to increase, he noted.
He remarked that the production from the factory would be distributed to Papua, Jakarta, Medan, Cirebon, Semarang, and Surabaya, while exports will be made to Japan, Korea, Thailand, and China.
Papua has the potential to produce eight million tons of sago from naturally grown trees.
With the factory becoming operational, the villagers of Kais would no longer have to visit Sorong, which could take a week by boat to reach, in order to sell their sago trunks as they could now supply them to the factory at a price of Rp nine thousand per trunk.

Railway Construction to Start this Year in Papua

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said the government will likely start construction of railway track in Papua from Sorong this year.
“Yesterday I just opened new railway track in Sulawesi. Papua will follow,” the president told the local people in a meeting in the Kais district of Sorong Selatan regency.
Earlier the president hoped the process of feasibility study of the project would be wrapped up in a year, but apparently more time is needed.
“It does not matter. What is important is the track would be built as expected. Most likely work would start from Sorong,” the president said.
He pledged that all regencies in Papua would be connected with railway track in 2018.

Open to Holding Dialog with Anyone

The Indonesia government is open to holding a dialog with anyone in the context of development, including in Papua, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated here on Wednesday.
“From the onset, I have no problem in holding a dialog with anyone in the context of development,” the head of state remarked after dedicating and inspecting the district government offices in Jayawijaya.
He said dialog had also been initiated to settle the problems in Aceh.
While referring to groups conducting violence, the president said he had ordered security agencies to take firm action.
In the context of dividing the Papua province, the president said he had received inputs from various parties on the matter.
“I have to discuss with various parties first, including with the governor here (about it),” he noted.
On the issue of limited supply of electricity and internet services, the president remarked that similar complaints had also been received from other regions.
“This is our task. We must build a power plant, and it takes three to four years to realize it,” he affirmed.
The head of state remarked that by undertaking frequent visits to Papua, he would be able to gain a better understanding of the problems being faced by the people in the region, such as limited infrastructure that had caused the prices of commodities, such as cement, rice, and fuel oils to increase.
“With adequate infrastructure, it is hoped that the prices of cement and fuel oils would drop by 50 percent from the current rates,” he emphasized.
He remarked that the extension of the runway at the Wamena Airport would make it possible for bigger aircraft to land and help to boost the regions economy.
“The facilities at Merauke Port also need to be upgraded along with increasing the number of cranes and extending the pier. The work on these facilities will all be completed next year,” he affirmed.
The president said if the infrastructure such as the roads and ports are good, the economy in Papua would grow faster, while the distribution of logistics as well as the flow of goods and passengers would improve. (*)
Source : ANTARA
SUNDAY, 03 JANUARY, 2016 | 15:26 WIB
3) Papua To Build Rice Warehouse in Merauke

TEMPO.COJayapura-Papua provincial government plans to build a rice warehouse in Merauke regency to support food logistics in the region.
“We will build a rice warehouse in Kurik district with a capacity of 5,000 tons,” head of food plants and horticulture office Semuel Siriwa in Jayapura, on Sunday, January 3.
He said the warehouse will be lent to the Papua regional division of the logistics bureau (Bulog) that has been actively buying farmers harvest in Merauke.
So far, Siriwa said limited warehouse capacity was one of the constraints of Bulog from buying farmers products in Merauke.
He added that the provincial government plans to buy a boat to distribute Merauke rice to all other areas in Papua.
“This means, rice from the south can be distributed to the north,” said Siriwa.

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