Mon, 11 Jun 2001


Follow-up actions to Dayak-Madura reconciliation urged

PALANGKARAYA, Central Kalimantan (JP): Several local tribal leaders have called on all levels of the government to promptly follow up results of the newly concluded Dayak people's congress, which recommended the settlement of interethnic conflicts that occurred months earlier.

The four-day Central Kalimantan People's Congress (KRK) ended on Thursday night with the unsurprising outcome of allowing Madurese migrants who were born in Kalimantan or who have family ties there to resettle in the province after they formally apologize for not respecting the local culture.

The Dayak figures made their appeal in a news conference in the provincial capital on Friday, attended by former Central Kalimantan governors R. Silvanus and W.A. Gara, former deputy governor Victor Paing and local veteran independence fighter W. Narang.

"The congress has approved a very favorable agreement, particularly for Madurese migrants who can now return to Central Kalimantan under certain conditions, and all levels of the regional administration should immediately take further action to support the agreement," urged Silvanus.

Victor asserted the importance of promoting the results of the congress to prevent a recurrence of the conflict, which left hundreds dead.

According to Gara, however, the conditions for a Madurese wishing to return to the province as defined by the KRK will not just end there. "The resolution needs to be disseminated to all Dayaks across the country and even the world, which has so far condemned the Dayak culture," he asserted.

Steering committee chairman H. Usof meanwhile told reporters that the congress decision had yet to be formulated into a draft regional regulation, pending its debate by the regional legislature. It would also be circulated to four previously clash-stricken towns.

Despite the Dayak's acceptance of Madurese returning to the province, the process of resettlement "should take heed of the preparedness of local inhabitants and all technical matters will be left to the relevant regencies", Usof added.

The congress also decided to declare Feb. 21 Central Kalimantan Community Awakening Day, to mark the recapturing of Sampit from "two days of Madurese control" by the Dayaks in this port town and compatriots in mountainous areas. (32)