President Jokowi Talks about Papua, Diaspora to Indonesian Nationals in New Zealand
President Joko Jokowi Widodo met with Indonesian citizens in Amopura Gathering, Te Papa Museum, on Monday (19/3) in a series of his working visits to New Zealand. On the occasion, Fransiscus Orlando – one of Indonesian citizens from Papua who lives in New Zealand asked about the Presidents motivation to visit Papua very often.
The President accompanied by First Lady Ibu Iriana answered that as a leader, he wanted to see first hand the circumstance of society and infrastructure in Papua, not only from the reports he received.
According to the President, eastern Indonesia has long been forgotten and overlooked. “One and a half months after being inaugurated, I immediately flew to Papua. To date, I have come to Papua seven times and it is the province I visit most often. In fact, it takes six hours from Jakarta to Papua. But, we must take Papua into account as part of the territory of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia,” the President said.
The President also shared his stories and experiences during his working visits to various underprivileged regions in Indonesia, one of which is when he visited Nduga District in Papua. “At that time, the Commander did not allow me to visit Nduga District because it was a conflict-prone area. I flew there on a helicopter because it took 4 days and 4 nights from Wamena to Nduga walking in the middle of the forest. In Nduga District, even one meter asphalt road did not exist. This is what made me sad. That is my motivation so that Papua has the same infrastructure and human resources as other provinces in the country,” the President said.
In addition to Franciscus Orlando, there are two other people who also asked questions to the President. One of them is Reza Abdul Jabar, a successful farmer who now owns about 2,000 cows and 800 hectares of farmland in New Zealand’s largest province.
“There is a mandate from New Zealand’s diaspora about how we deal with the second and third generation of our children who want to maintain their citizenship status. We were kind of worried. In fact, many of them are skillful and they are facing obstacles if they want return to their parents home country. So we ask for solutions and facilitation to this problem,” he said.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi who was also present at the event was invited by the President to answer the question directly. The Minister said that the issue of diaspora is an issue that is being explored and studied.”We are also working with the diaspora. There are working groups on immigration matters, one of which may be dual citizenship. This is not an easy decision, there needs to be a national consensus so that all parties must get involved. Later on, Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand will disseminate the Indonesian card diaspora; the Government’s goal is to facilitate Indonesian citizens living abroad,” the Minister said.
The last question was about cultural issues raised by Megan Collins, a New Zealander who used to live in Indonesia for quite a while and fell in love with Indonesia.
The President said that Indonesia’s DNA is in its culture. One of the Government’s visions when it comes to culture in the future is to develop new tourist destinations. “We are in the process of making 10 new Bali. We will finish it, and later on we move to the next 10. We want to focus on it,” the President added.
According to the President, culture and creative industries are one of the great strengths of the Indonesian nation. All provinces have different arts and cultures. “Yes this is what we will use as a great power of our nation to compete with other countries. If we want to compete in the industry, we’ve lag far behind Japan, Germany, and Korea. But if we play here, there’s a big chance we’ll be the main players. Therefore, I call on you to work hard together,” the President concluded.
The meeting with the Indonesian citizens is the last agenda of President Jokowi’s state visit to New Zealand. Furthermore, the President and Ibu Iriana together with the entourage will return to Indonesia. (Bureau of Press, Media, and Information/EN)(MUR/MMB/YM/Naster).