The implementation of regional autonomy should be guarded. This is the result of long process of governmental decentralisation. The regional autonomy depicted the wish to provent the centralistic tendency and consentristic in managing the country and taking care of people’s needs.
That was the explanation of the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Prof. Dr. Jimly Asshiddiqie, S.H. in front of Siak Regent, H. Arwin AS, S.H., Vice Regent of Siak, Drs. H. O. K. Fauzi Jamil as the Chairman of Riau Customary Community Institution (LAMR) Siak Regent, the Regional Secretary. Drs. H. Adli Malik, Head of District Court, Aswijon S.H., M.H., staffs of Muspida (Regional leaders deliberation, the traditional figure of Siak Sri Indrapura, Lecturer of constitutional law, and consitutional study teachers in Siak Regent, Friday (11/1), in Siak, Riau.
Commenting on the relieving feeling of the SIak Regent because of the result of reformation that it ended in regional autonomy that leads to the possibility of Siak to be back on track economically-socially-culturally, Jimly said that it was needed to be guarded and make the best use of it so that it didn’t move backward as often happened in the history of Indonesia in conducting the decentralisation.
Related to the abovementioned history, Jimly told that before Indonesia gained their independence, the founding leaders had been discussing allabout the form of the country whether as the Unitary State or Federal. Bung Hatta as the co-proclamator, continued Jimly, since in the university had been involved with the federal idea. The Discussion had been goind on since 1930-es. Then just before the independence, in the BPUPKI meetings that discussed the formula of the 1945 Constitution, there were discussions and brainstormings before the idea was settled in building a Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) but with vast opportunity for regional autonomy to the provincial government. “That is why it becomes the soul of the debate on Article 18 of the 1945 Consitution. That is also the soul of the debate on NKRI,” explained Jimly.
Even though so, continued Jimly, when Indonesian had just been established and the 1945 Constitution was not popular, it caused the difficulty in the realisation. Then, jimly added, within three months minus four days Indonesia had formed the first parliamentary cabinet with Sjahrir as the Prime Minister. “Nevertheless, based on the 1945 Constitution, Indonesia was not a parliamentary country but presidential, without a Prime Minister. This is the example of not making 1945 Constitution as the guidelines. That is the example of what has been decided is not easy to be reaslised,” he revealed.
Because at that time Indonesia was categorised as a new country and still needed consolidation of power, with vast area and great number of people also complex problems as the result of hundred of years invasion, the government of the republic needed the centralisation policy and the concentration of power. That was what happened in reality even when Indonesia was facing many problems such as RIS (United Republic of Indonesia), and them back to 1950 Temporary Constitution, many rebellions, Dutch agression, etc. that made the spirit of regional autonomy was no longer prioritised in the government of the old order.
From the series of events above, explained Jimly, during the years of 1965-1966 there was a revolution that brought up again the idea of regional autonomy. When there was a revolution from the old order to the new order, the spirit or regional autonomy was brought up again through TAP MPRS 1967. Even so, it didn’t last long because in 1974 another regulation was issued about the uniformity of regional government and village government. “Then the tendency that people forgot about the regional autonomy happened again],” as Jimly told.
The peak of centralism was during the period of 1980-1990-es. Then in the reformation period, explained Jimly, in 1998 the passion of regional autonomy raised again and there was a Stipulation of People Deliberation Assembly (TAP MPR) on regional autonomy even during the B.J. Habibie governance Act No. 22 Year 1999 on Regional Governance was issued. “This were the ups and downs of the history of the regional autonomy. The difference is, now besides the spirit of regional autonomy has been put in the regulation, it is also included in the 1945 Constitution. This is the difference between the present regional autonomy and the autonomy in 1967 and 1945. Now, the guarantee for the process of regional existence to roll on is safer from the recentralisation effort because it is put in the constitution,” explained Jimly.
Therefore, Jimly expected that Pancasila (the Five Principles) and the 1945 Constitution as the guidelines of the unity should be fully understood that Indonesian citizens should be unified in NKRI which prioritise in preserving the diversity. Jimly also expected that the meaning of Pancasila should not be narrowed. “the Second Principle did not say United Indonesia, but Unity of Indonesia. Unity contains diversity, whereas United means uniformity. Why should we be unified, because we have  many diversities,” exclaimed Jimly.
Before closing the remark, Jimly reminded the audience to use best the opportunity (regional autonomy) to build prosperity for the people as well as to bring up the wisdom of local traditions. (Wiwik Budi Wasito/Yogi Djatnika)

Monday, January 14, 2008 | 07:04 WIB 283