Wednesday, January 3, 2018

1) North Sumatra police chief cancels Papua gubernatorial bid

2) In Sorong: hope and promise
3) The National Archives releases (part 1): the Keating–Suharto security treaty

1) North Sumatra police chief cancels Papua gubernatorial bid
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Apriadi Gunawan
Jakarta/Medan | Wed, January 3, 2018 | 01:23 pm

North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw has decided to cancel his plan to run for Papua governor in the 2018 regional elections and instead serve the police force for the remainder of his term.
"I have canceled the plan, because my term will last until 2022," Paulus said recently in Medan, North Sumatra.
Paulus said that his superiors had not intervened in connection with his decision to cancel his plan, claiming that although he had already garnered some support, he had simply decided not to proceed with his gubernatorial bid.
The former Papua Police chief had registered with the Golkar Party in order to contest the election for Papua governor. While Golkar executive Yorrys Raweyai had said earlier that the party might consider endorsing him, the party was later reported to have thrown its weight behind incumbent Lukas Enembe.
The National Police confirmed that Paulus had decided not to resign from the force, spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said.
Paulus further said that most of the police personnel who were planning to resign in order to run in the regional elections were more senior than he and were nearing retirement.
Other senior police officers reportedly contesting this year's simultaneous regional elections include the National Police’s Mobile Brigade commander Insp. Gen. Murad Ismail, who will contest the Maluku gubernatorial election with the formal backing of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P). East Kalimantan Police chief Insp. Gen. Safaruddin is running in the province's election and the National Police's deputy chief of education and training, Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan, is being considered by the PDI-P as its candidate for the West Java gubernatorial election.


2) In Sorong: hope and promise
Karim Raslan — Ceritalah ASEAN
Posted at Jan 02 2018 05:11 PM
Sorong is booming. With 9.3% GDP growth in 2016 (almost double the national average) and located on the westernmost point of Papua, the 300,000-strong city is fast-becoming a regional transport and logistics hub, boosted by its proximity to the fabled Raja Ampat islands and the ever-elusive bird of paradise.
However, Sorong isn't a pretty sight. In fact, the city feels as if it's still emerging from the scrubland – its urban sprawl stretching many kilometres into the interior, far from the waterfront that's now bustling with activity.
Having spent some time in Papua recently, I was very curious how the younger generation – the city's millennials – viewed their future. 
Were they optimistic? Did they see the new airport, port and Trans Papua Highway as the harbingers of a prosperous future? How were relations between indigenous Papuans and newer communities – the Bugis, Javanese and Minahassans?
I met three 18-year-old students: Maria Hestina, Maria Korwa and Mega Imbiri. All three were studying at the city's largest tertiary institution, the Sorong Muhammadiyah University. 
Maria Hestina’s background was unusual. The daughter of transmigrants, her family was originally from Flores in East Nusa Tenggara. Her parents – now divorced – weren't well-to-do. Her father was a labourer while her mother sold petrol and fruits at the market. Maria Hestina and her sister lived with her mother while her younger brother was with her father. 
“As the eldest of three siblings, and the first to go to university, there’s a lot of hope pinned on me. My sister is 12 years old and my brother is only 7—I have to set an example for them.”
Maria Korwa’s family has been in Papua for generations. She was the product of an inter-religious marriage: her father was Muslim while her mother was Christian. In an arrangement that is common in Indonesia, her brothers were Muslim but her sisters and she were Christian. 
“My entire family is scattered across the Republic. I have 6 siblings: two are in Jakarta, two in Raja Ampat, one in Pulau Doom (“Doom Island”) and another in Manokwari. It’s reassuring to know that wherever I go, I will have someone to rely on. Someday, I too will make my own way.”
Mega Imbiri was the daughter of a fisherman and a housewife, both of whom are Papuan natives.
“My father has to go out to sea every day and sometimes comes back with very few fish. He has to brave the rain, the waves and saltwater…As a child I would hold his hands; they were always coarse.”
“I want to be an office worker. I imagine myself leaving the house at 8:00am in neatly-pressed clothes and ending work at 4:00pm to return my family. That’s the life I want.”
Papua has long been considered a restive, troubled part of Indonesia. 
However, Sorong on the very “tip” of the island has largely escaped the turmoil of the interior. 
Instead, the city has benefited enormously from the current administration's focus on strengthening transportation links with the rest of the republic – creating a boom that more than matches Timika, the central Papuan town, home to Grasberg, the world's largest gold mine and second largest copper mine run by the controversial American miner Freeport-McMoran.
The three young women present a positive “spin” to the Eastern Indonesian region. Their religious diversity is remarkable – Maria Hestina is Catholic, Maria Korwa is Pentecostal Christian and Mega Imbiri is Protestant. Maria Hestina is a first-generation transmigrant while Maria Korwa and Mega Imbiri are natives. 
The three of them, all close friends, work together at a Christmas booth in Sorong’s Ramayana Mall (named after the ancient Hindu epic), selling bags. 
They are all studying in the same class, working towards a degree in Public Administration – a diverse group brought together at a university founded by the second-largest Islamic organization in the country. 
Maria Korwa is unequivocal about the province’s problems: “There’s a lot of crime in Sorong. Every day, there are muggings, fuelled by alcoholism and drug addiction—including glue-sniffing among youths.”
Maria Hestina adds: “Around 2005-2006, the water supply was very unreliable and we often suffered from blackouts. It has improved since then, but there’s still a long way to go.”
“The price of petrol has also gone up—it’s now IDR5000 per litre. I know because my mother sells petrol; people are finding it difficult to cope.”
Mega Imbiri has her own take: “Development is difficult in Papua. The terrain is hilly and heavily forested. It will take years before projects see results. What makes me very happy is the attention Jokowi (Indonesian President Joko Widodo) has been giving Papua. He’s visited the island more times than any other president before him.”
All of them nod vigorously in approval.
The administration’s initiatives have already begun to bear fruit. Maria Hestina noted that under former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Jokowi, primary and secondary education was made free. On 20 December, the government announced plans to bring electricity to the whole of Papua and build new roads. 
“My goal is to become a civil servant. I want to play a role in developing my home,” says Maria Korwa. 
“Me too!” shouts Mega Imbiri, who later sheepishly adds, “It’s also a really decent job…”
Maria Hestina laughs.
“You can all serve the government! I will have my own business, providing goods to people at a fair price. There’s more than one way to contribute!”
The trio burst out in laughter. 
So, while the two provinces (Papua and West Papua) continue to represent a major challenge to Indonesian unity and stability – the eagle-eyed focus on economic growth has brought tangible gains to their people.
It's this transformation that may well hold the key to binding the island of Papua to Indonesia. 
Admittedly, this is a very positive take—that the current administration's focus on economic grievances is having an impact. 
But is it enough?
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.

3) The National Archives releases (part 1): the Keating–Suharto security treaty
1 Jan 2018|Graeme Dobell
In Jakarta’s presidential palace in December 1995, Australia’s Prime Minister Paul Keating stood with Indonesia’s President Suharto as their two foreign ministers signed a security treaty.
Keating was ebullient. Here was Australia as a regional insider, able to strike a unique bilateral deal with the delphic Javanese leader at the centre of Southeast Asia.
The Agreement on Maintaining Security secretly negotiated with Suharto was a singular achievement that became a failed leap of faith. The mix of bravado and aspiration in the treaty’s creation made it a deal between two extraordinarily different people—Suharto and Keating—more than an agreement between two extraordinarily different peoples.
The announcement of the treaty a few days before the signing ceremony shocked the rest of Southeast Asia as much as it surprised Canberra—and it blindsided the military elite around Suharto.
At the signing ceremony in Jakarta, Australia’s deputy prime minister, Kim Beazley, went up to a group of Indonesian generals he’d come to know when serving as Australia’s defence minister (1984–90) and cheerfully greeted them: ‘Hello, allies!’
The treaty was an uncharacteristic moment for proudly non-aligned Indonesia, marking a moment of sublime acceptance for Keating. And three months later, when Labor was swept from power by Australia’s voters, it became his final grand international gesture. Keating left politics expressing confidence that the security agreement would endure as a monument to Australia’s rightful place in Asia.
On the flight back to Canberra after the signing, Keating confided to Beazley his fear that the treaty would be his last ‘big picture’ moment as prime minister. As Beazley recalls that conversation with Keating: ‘He said to me, “You know, Kim, I think we are going to lose [the federal election].” Which was not good news to a deputy about to fight an election two or three months after that.’
The Liberals had been in opposition for a dozen years, and Keating told Beazley: ‘I think they can do some very silly things. I want to put in place as much ballast that they can live on while they bring themselves up to speed.’
Just as Keating had built his personal relationship with Suharto to achieve the APEC summits, so the treaty was the ultimate expression of friendship between two leaders whose closeness emphasised all their contrasts. As Gough Whitlam jested about Keating’s commitment to Suharto: ‘Paul always preferred older men.’
Beazley reflects that Keating had ‘enormous admiration for the old man’. Indeed, says Beazley, Keating ‘loved Suharto, and Suharto loved him. Suharto regarded him as a son and was enormously protective of him’.
Beazley was speaking ahead of the release by the National Archives of the 1994 and 1995 cabinet records of the Keating Labor government.
The submission Keating put to his cabinet for approval of the deal (with the draft press release to go out immediately after cabinet agreed) is a classic bit of prime ministerial fait accompli. And it’s classic Keating on Indonesia:
There is no country more important to Australia than Indonesia. Australian territory can in effect be directly threatened with military force only from or through Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Bilaterally, this agreement will:
• provide reassurance that Australia and Indonesia recognise that each has a fundamental interest in the security of the other;
• commit each to cooperating with the other in ensuring their own security and that of the region;
• demonstrate that each has confidence in the intentions of each towards the other; and
• complement the progress that has been made in other areas of the relationship.
It will have, therefore, an important and positive effect on the attitudes of the public in each country towards the other. Through the agreement Indonesia is making a clear statement that it is not a threat to Australia and is committing itself to cooperating with us.
Standing in the presidential palace reporting the signing ceremony, I spent most of my time on the then common ASEAN obsession: staring at Suharto to check his movements and speech and health. The age-old problem of one-man rule is old age. Australia shared the region’s obsession with what would come after the strongman lost his strength. The issue of Suharto’s eventual departure was the justification for the agreement Keating never used in public. But his cabinet submission was explicit:
Whether or not the succession to President Suharto goes smoothly and what direction Indonesia’s policies will take are difficult to predict. While this agreement will not in itself obviate problems for us, it could well help us deal with that period. This agreement is an important long-term structure which will consolidate Australia’s place in the region, reinforce the stability of our region, and help reduce the uncertainties in our future.
Suharto fell in 1998, after 31 years in power, consumed by Asia’s financial crisis. By September 1999 the treaty was gone, abrogated by Indonesia’s military as Australian soldiers entered East Timor at the head of a multinational force to stop the slaughter that followed Timor’s vote for independence.
Ultimately, the logic of the security deal reasserted itself. In November 2006, Australia and Indonesia signed the Lombok treaty—an Agreement on the Framework for Security Cooperation—a broader and more detailed version of what Suharto and Keating attempted. It was among the last big foreign policy wins of John Howard’s government—a rare bit of Howard–Keating symmetry.
But there’s one crucial difference: the Lombok treaty is an agreement between two democracies, not just between two leaders.
Graeme Dobell is the ASPI journalism fellow. Image courtesy of the Indonesia Australia Report.

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