STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT. In Indonesia, political disorder in Papua and West Papua provinces increased in 2021 amid opposition to the revision of the Special Autonomy Law. First promulgated in 2001, the Special Autonomy Law was initially intended to give greater power to the local governments in the Papuan region.
However, new revisions to the law introduced in 2021 expand the central government’s authority and have allowed for the unwelcome creation of new provinces in the region (Tempo, 16 July 2021). Tensions between the political demands of many Papuan groups and the centralized, development-oriented agenda of the Indonesian state continue to fuel unrest.
This report examines disorder trends related to the issue of Papuan independence since 2018, focusing in particular on the rise in clashes between state forces and the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), increasing levels of violence targeting civilians by the TPNPB, and disproportionate state intervention in peaceful protests held by Papuans and Papuan groups.
A number of Papuan students studying in the United States on Tuesday held a rally in front of the Indonesian Consulate General in San Francisco demanding the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to respect Papua Governor Lukas Enembe and consider his health in their investigation into the governor’s alleged graft case. The students urged the government to allow Lukas to seek treatment in another country, and accused the authorities of pressuring the KPK into criminalizing Lukas (Oct 6).
Indonesia’s Papua governor Lukas Enembe has been named a suspect by the country’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) earlier this month for graft involving 1 billion rupiah (US$65,000). He allegedly received gratuities from a private entity that wanted to win a goods and services procurement contract bid.
The governor’s lawyers have rebutted the corruption claims. They also claimed that Mr Enembe cannot be named a suspect if he has not been questioned, adding that he did not show up on Sep 12 because he was sick. The lawyers requested last week for the ban to be lifted so that the governor could seek medical treatment in Singapore.
Embattled Papua Governor and graft suspect Lukas Enembe has skipped another summons in a corruption probe while the Democratic Party has suspended him from its provincial leadership.
In a press statement delivered on Wednesday, Party Chair Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono said Lukas had been relieved of his duties as the head of the party’s Papua chapter. Agus said that as a party cadre, Lukas Enembe would receive legal assistance. However, he said that his party would not intervene in Enembe’s case at the KPK.
Agus acknowledged and supported the current legal proceedings that Lukas must adhere to. Despite the support for the legal process, AHY called for the law to be upheld fairly and set aside politicization in the Papua Governor’s legal journey.
President Jokowi on Monday called on everyone, including Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, to respect the legal process at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). In response to Jokowi’s request, Lukas Enembe’s lawyer Stefanus Roy Rening said that Lukas would come to the KPK if he had recovered from his illness. Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Friday asked Papua Governor Lukas Enembe answer KPK summons, saying every individual must comply with law enforcement in Indonesia, which the KPK follows accordingly.
A number of religious and youth leaders held a press conference in Jayapura, Papua, on Sunday afternoon. In the conference, the Papuan Youth Coalition criticized bribery suspect Papua Governor Lukas Enembe for failing to comply with the summons of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). They also criticized those who acted on behalf of Papuans to obstruct the legal process against Lukas.
Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Coordinating Minister Mahfud MD on Monday said Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, who was recently named suspect for accepting a staggering IDR1 billion bribe, is also suspected of possessing finances up to hundreds of billions of rupiah, discovered by the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK).
Mahfud said Lukas is also linked to a number of projects such as Papua leadership’s operational funds and the National Games (PON) funds, and that he is suspected of hiring a manager for the purpose of money laundering.
Mahfud said the case and Lukas’ suspect-naming was not politically motivated, highlighting that the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK), and the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) had long been investigating the case. Mahfud said the situation in Papua was heating up due to the planned demonstration on Tuesday following the naming of Lukas as suspect.
PPATK on Monday said they had evidence of expensive gambling transactions worth tens of millions of dollars by Lukas. PPATK said Lukas had made payments totaling 55 million Singapore dollars (US$39 million) to overseas casinos since 2017 after they analyzed the governor’s financial records at the request of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
In another indication of the governor’s lavish lifestyle, the KPK found that Lukas once paid 55,000 Singapore dollars for a watch. PPATK Chair Ivan Yustiavandana said the agency had frozen transactions worth more than IDR71 billion involving one of Lukas’ children and several other people in 11 financial service institutions including banks and insurance companies.
Around 4,000 people under the group the Papuan People’s Coalition (KRP) will hold a peaceful demonstration in Jayapura City on Tuesday as a sign of support for Lukas.
The group said hundreds of Lukas’ supporters traveled from Jayapura City, Jayapura Regency, and Keerom Regency to participate in the rally. Meanwhile, Jayapura City Police Chief Victor Mackbon on Monday said 2,000 joint military and police personnel would be deployed to ensure safety at the rally.
West Papua Police Spokesperson Adam Erwindi on Friday said the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) attacked 14 Trans West Papua Road workers and shot dead four of them, after accusing them of being intelligence agents at the border of Teluk Bintuni and Maybrat regencies, on Thursday.
The armed criminal group claimed the shooting and killing were carried out after they found 12 canisters of SS1 ammunition and a number of handgun ammunition. Adam said the local police, military district command, and Mobile Brigade team had been dispatched to the scene of the attack to evacuate the victims.
A group of anti-corruption activists on Sunday released damning pictures Lukas purportedly playing table games at an overseas casino amid unsuccessful attempts by law enforcement agencies to interrogate him in person after he was named a graft suspect two weeks ago.
Security members have arrested 14 people during a rally in the city of Jayapura by the supporters of Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, who has been named a suspect for alleged corruption and money laundering, police said on Wednesday.
Authorities have deployed a joint team of the police and the military to prevent Tuesday’s rally from becoming a massive-scale riot in the country’s easternmost province. Police said the 14 protesters were arrested for carrying “sharp weapons” and cocktail bombs.
The Indonesian Anti-Corruption Community (MAKI) said the pictures that appear to be screen grabs from security cameras were taken on July 20 to 21 in Malaysia’s gambling resort Genting Highland.
MAKI Chair Boyamin Saiman said that in addition to Genting Highland, the governor also has played table games at Crockfords Hotel Sentosa in Singapore and Solaire Resort & Casino and Entertainment City in Manila. The activist urged law enforcement agencies to investigate if the governor has used taxpayers’ money for his gambling habit.
We also appeal to the governor as a role model for compliance with the rule of law to undergo questioning after twice ignoring the KPK summonses. Not only does the KPK have to guarantee the governor’s safety, the antigraft body must make sure the law is enforced against Lukas fairly and free from any political motives or personal interests. Lukas and other leaders of the opposition in the Democratic Party have spread the narrative that he is a victim of the politicization of the government’s antigraft campaign.