Tuesday, March 7, 2017

1) Locals need Freeport saga to end soon

2) Trans-Papua road set to be completed next year

3) Govt speeds up development in Papua

4) Is ‘Manis’ the sweet deal that brings Australia and Indonesia together?

5) Terrorism at top of agenda in Jakarta talks

1) Locals need Freeport saga to end soon

  • Safrin La Batu
    The Jakarta Post Jakarta | Tue, March 7, 2017 | 07:07 am

Because it is all about the world’s largest gold mine sitting on their land for 44 years, Papuans refuse to be left out from the ongoing saga involving the government and United States-based mining company Freeport McMoRan.
A group of Papuan tribesmen has travelled all the way to Jakarta, shuttling from one organization to another to convey the grievances of Papuan people in connection with the prolonged contract dispute.
They want to be involved in the negotiations because the future of thousands of Papuans is also at stake.
“We are not seeking shares [in the company]. We simply want the government and Freeport to think about the fate of Papuans, whose land has been damaged [by the mining operation],” Odizeus Beanal, the director of Amungme tribal council LEMASA, said on Sunday.
The tribal leaders went to the offices of human rights group Imparsial to promote their cause. Previously, they had visited the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).
John Gobai, chairman of the Meegabo Traditional Papua Council, echoed the same concerns, saying that if the company ceased operations, it would have a great impact on locals, who had become dependent on the company’s operations.
“Please let Freeport operate while the government, Freeport and the Papuan customary councils meet to negotiate the company’s contract. We do not care who will own the company’s shares later,” John said.
He added that allowing Freeport to operate would also assure the restoration of areas damaged by mining activities in the country’s easternmost province. “Is the government ready to restore this environmental damage?” John questioned while showing pictures allegedly depicting environmental damage at the Grasberg gold mine.
The company has reportedly slashed production and temporarily suspended 1,087 of the more than 32,000 workers it has as of Feb. 22, according to the Mimika Manpower, Transmigration and Public Housing Agency, following the row with the government.
According to data from PT Freeport Indonesia, 12,085 of the total workforce are permanent employees, comprising 4,321 Papuans, 7,612 other Indonesians and 152 foreigners.
The local subsidiary of the gold and copper miner has been in a deadlock over its operations as the government demands a conversion of its Contract of Work (CoW) agreement signed in 1991 into a so-called special mining license (IUPK) before extending its export permit.
John is also worried that the thousands of Papuans studying in many regions of the country on Freeport scholarships would be affected by the dispute.
Bisman Bakhtiar, executive director of the Center of Energy and Mining Law, said the government should not belittle the cause of the Papuans.
“The 2009 law on mineral and coal mining requires that Freeport build a smelter to get permission to export concentrate again, but President [Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo] could issue a regulation in lieu of law [Perpu] as a solution,” he said.
The Perpu should provide a legal basis to allow Freeport to resume operations during the negotiations, while forcing the firm to build a smelter.
Komnas HAM commissioner Natalius Pigai said the commission had received reports on the issue from Papuans, including local leaders.
“It is not fair to just think about nationalism while letting many people suffer,” Natalius told The Jakarta Post on Monday. “The government should protect the rights of Papuans, including their job rights.”
Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama could not be reached for comment on Monday.

2) Trans-Papua road set to be completed next year
Jakarta | Tue, March 7, 2017 | 04:13 pm

The development of the 4,300-kilometer trans-Papua road project in Papua and West Papua provinces on Indonesia’s easternmost island is expected to be completed next year, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono has said.
“The construction has seen significant progress,” Basuki said in Jakarta, as reported by tempo.co on Tuesday.
He said 3,850 km of the total 4,300-km road had been constructed, while the remaining section would be developed this year and next year.
Similarly, the ministry had also constructed 884 km of a 1,086-km road project near the border between Papua and Papua New Guinea, he said.
When the construction of the trans-Papua road is finished, it will accelerate development in the provinces because many areas that used to be isolated will be connected to economic centers.
Citing an example, he said the trans-Papua road section from Mamugu-Kenyam-Haberba-Wamena would result in a significant decline in prices of basic commodities and construction materials, particularly cement.
“People have started to benefit from the construction of the trans-Papua road and border road. People who in the past had to travel on foot can use vehicles,” he added.
The government has allocated Rp 7.61 trillion (US$570.75 million) for the construction of infrastructure in the provinces, as well as a Rp 2.18 trillion special allocation fund.
Apart from roads, the ministry is also developing housing and clean water projects. (bbn)


3) Govt speeds up development in Papua

13 hours ago 

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government of Indonesia will continue to speed up the development in Papua and West Papua provinces, according to Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara.

"Hence, the public will realize that the government is serious about the progress of development in Papua and West Papua," Rudiantara remarked in a media discussion on "Indonesia Centrist Vision: Equality in Papua," here on Monday.

The minister noted that access to the Internet in Papua and West Papua is around 300 kilobytes/second, much slower than that in Jakarta with 7 gigabytes/second.

"In addition, the cost of Internet access to Papua and West Papua is 65 percent more expensive compared to Jakarta," the minister noted.

Therefore, Rudiantara added that the government is currently developing the Palapa Ring projects in areas that cannot be reached by telecommunication operators.

The Palapa Ring, one of Indonesias priority infrastructure projects for the 2016-2019 period, aims to accelerate the growth and distribution of telecommunication network across the country.

With an undersea fiber-optic cable network stretching across 13 thousand kilometers and an onshore network of nearly 22 thousand kilometers, the Palapa Ring project is expected to provide high-speed broadband Internet access to the entire people living in urban and rural areas.

According to the minister, the project demonstrates that the government of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is serious about establishing cooperation with investors for infrastructure development in the country.

The Palapa Ring project -- divided into three sections of west, central, and east Indonesian region -- is the first cooperation in the telecommunication sector under the availability payment method scheme initiated by the Ministry of Finance.

Of the three Palapa optical fiber ring projects, the west section will link areas in the provinces of Riau, Riau Islands, and Natuna Island with total optical fiber cable length of 2 thousand kilometers.

The central section will cover Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and North Maluku, with an optical fiber cable length of 2.7 thousand kilometers.

The third or east section will cover 35 districts/municipalities in four eastern Indonesian provinces of East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, West Papua, and Papua.

"The east section of Palapa Ring project will have a total optical fiber cable length of 8,454 kilometers with the total value of Rp5.1 trillion," Rudiantara remarked in Jayapura, Papua, on Thursday.

Rudiantara visited Papua recently to promote the Palapa Ring projects east section to the local government. He underlined that the project aims to meet the publics infrastructure needs in the telecommunications sector, particularly in the eastern region of Indonesia, and to offer faster Internet access to the region.


4) Is ‘Manis’ the sweet deal that brings Australia and Indonesia together?

A security forum involving Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore could work where others didn't.
Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia featured prominently 75 years ago for Australia when our troops deployed and fought there in the Pacific War. We do well to commemorate their efforts and the losses suffered, notably with Indonesian President Joko Widodo visiting Australia last month.
Ever since World War II, Australian security and economic policymakers have appreciated the significance to Australia's security and prosperity of engaging constructively and respectfully with these countries. With Donald Trump as US President and China's assertiveness adding to regional uncertainty, Australia would be wise to look at new ways to sweeten regional ties, while mindful of the past.

For nearly 50 years, Australia and New Zealand have partnered with Malaysia and Singapore, as well as the United Kingdom, in the Five Power Defence Arrangements. On one level, the arrangements are an anachronism – a hangover from the sunset of the British Empire. Yet the participating nations have found it to have enduring utility. It facilitates multilateral regional military engagement and cross-pollination of ideas, practices and experiences in a non-threatening way.

At times, when bilateral ties have strained, the five-power collaboration has proceeded largely unhindered by surrounding political storms. When, for instance, Malaysia and Australia had a falling out when then prime minister Paul Keating's labelled his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad as a "recalcitrant", security ties embodied in the arrangements continued uninterrupted.
Today, economic ties have never been stronger. Security ties remain robust, too: Australian military ships and aircraft routinely operate in and through Malaysian and Singaporean air and seaports. Australian maritime surveillance flights across the South China Sea routinely include Malaysian military personnel. The Integrated Area Defence System, based in Malaysia with a senior Australian officer in charge, plays an important role in facilitating close but largely unheralded engagement between these long-standing security partners.

With Singapore, Australia signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement in 2015, bringing bilateral economic, security and people-to-people ties virtually to the level of ties with New Zealand. That agreement built on the ties established over three-quarters of a century.
Clearly, Australia's ties with Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand are strong, multifaceted and overwhelmingly positive.
Yet this is simply not the case with our most important neighbour, Indonesia. Despite having been first to recognise Indonesian independence after World War II, Australia's ties have been buffeted repeatedly. In the 1960s, this revolved around the fate of the Dutch colony of New Guinea and Indonesia's "confrontation" over the newly emerged Malaysian confederation. The nadir came in 1999, when Australia supported an independent East Timor. Having supported Indonesia's takeover in 1975, the Australian volte-face is still seen as an act of treachery.
Subsequently, there was a "silver lining" to the tragedy of the Jakarta and Bali bombings and the Indian Ocean tsunami in the early to mid-2000s: Australia was able to offer a hand of friendship, providing invaluable humanitarian and other support as Indonesia struggled to respond. That support led to the signing of the Lombok Treaty in 2006 – itself largely predicated on Australia's agreement to recognise the former Dutch colony of New Guinea (now Papua) as being Indonesian territory in perpetuity.
Since then, unfortunately, the bilateral relationship has been like a game of snakes and ladders, with moments of apparent closeness followed suddenly by strained ties. Controversy over beef, boats, spies, clemency and Papua have continued to unsettle relations. Yet, like Malaysia and Singapore, getting the ties with Indonesia right is far too important to be subject to such sour notes. Perhaps bringing in our other regional friends and partners may help stabilise and sweeten relations for all concerned.
In a discussion with The Jakarta Post's Indonesian editor, Endi Bayuni, we considered how to sweeten regional relations between these important neighbours: Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Singapore. Endi pointed out that, as an acronym, the word Manis means "sweet" in Indonesian. It occurred to us there was scope for the Manis countries to form their own regional maritime cooperation forum.
Controversy over beef, boats, spies, clemency and Papua have continued to unsettle relations with Indonesia.
Indonesia, understandably, would never want to join the Five Power Defence Arrangements: established as an imperial legacy and mindful of concerns over Indonesian future intentions. Similarly, being non-aligned and rightly proud of its independence, Indonesia has studiously avoided alliances. So an alliance is out of the question, but a maritime cooperation forum might just be sufficiently low-key to work.
With some vision and determination, the five Manis countries could work together on a broad range of issues of common concern related to the maritime space they share, unhindered by the apparent stasis associated with other broader regional forums. There are many trans-jurisdictional issues of shared concern to explore, including responding to natural disasters, the environment, climate change, cyber security, fisheries and people smuggling. A Manis forum could help change the regional dynamics.
Naysayers may argue Australia is already committed to too many ASEAN-related regional forums. Australia's engagement in such forums remains important, for although progress can sometimes seem glacial, they cover a wide range of issues of concern in which Australia has an interest. Perhaps, however, it is worth the extra effort to help form a Manis forum, engaging a range of government agencies, non-government bodies, thinktanks and academic institutions. It might just manage to make greater progress on some of the issues that have stalled or have been interminably delayed in other forums.
John Blaxland is professor of international security and intelligence studies at the ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs. john.blaxland@anu.edu.au

5) Terrorism at top of agenda in Jakarta talks
Updated: 6:36 pm, Monday, 6 March 2017

Terrorism and maritime stability have topped the agenda in meetings between Indian Ocean nations in Jakarta, with Australia hailing a landmark declaration on preventing violent extremism.
With two thirds of the world's oil shipments and half of the world's container ships passing through the Indian Ocean, Indonesian President Joko Widodo spruiked the waters as 'the future' at the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) business summit on Monday
'(Around) 2.7 billion people are inhabiting the IORA regions. That's why, Indian Ocean is the ocean of the future and the future of world's economy lies in this region,' he said.
Both Indonesia and Australia are looking to the region for new opportunities both in trade and tourism and are also hoping to create fresh avenues of co- operation with countries they may otherwise not meet diplomatically.

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