Papuan students, churches, NGOs and others plead over embattled governor’s health

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Ailing Papua Governor Lukas Enembe
Ailing Papua Governor Lukas Enembe . . . medical treatment from a Singapore-based team earlier this month. Image: Tabloid Jubi

By Laurens Ikinia

Many organisations, NGOs, churches and student leaders have called on the Indonesian government in Jakarta to consider Papua Governor Lukas Enembe’s health problems with kindness.

The student organisations that have appealed to President Joko Widodo and the chair of the anti-corruption agency KPK include the International Alliance of Papuan Students Associations Overseas (IAPSAO), which has an affiliate in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The letter sent to President Jokowi and the KPK stressed the universal human rights of Governor Enembe over his poor health. He has been governor since 2013.

READ MORE: Fate of Papua’s Governor Enembe – the ‘son of Koteka’ – lies in balance amid allegations
Other reports on Governor Lukas Enembe

Governor Enembe, 55, has been accused of corruption in what is widely seen as a politically motivated case given his position in Indonesia’s centrist Democratic Party with a general election due early in 2024.

The allegations against him have spread to Australia, but his lawyers have dismissed all accusations.

According to the public broadcaster ABC in Australia, the authorities have said “the total amount under investigation was in the ‘trillions of rupiah’, or hundreds of millions of dollars”.

The governor’s lawyers said he had a swollen leg and general poor health due to diabetes and a series of strokes. In recent years he had had heart and pancreatic surgery.

Risk of ‘political instability’
In the letter, signed by the presidents of the Papuan Student Association in the USA-Canada, Germany, Russia, Japan and Oceania, was a plea that the central government ought to consider the risk of “political instability” in the province due to Governor Enembe’s deteriorating health.

Although the governor is unable to be physically present in the office, government services in Papua province are running normally.

While going through medical treatment from home, Governor Enembe encouraged all civil servants in the province to “deliver their responsibility with full commitment”.

Since he has been banned from travelling for medical treatment overseas, Governor Enembe has been examined twice at his home in Jayapura by medical teams from Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

The team, comprising several expert doctors and nurses, was brought in from Singapore for the first visit because the governor had been forbidden to seek treatment abroad.

Dr Anton Mote, the governor’s personal doctor who led the first examination, named the team as Cheng Ho Patrick (a cardiologist), Mariana Binti Ayob and Snooky Tabiliras Lagas (a nurse). The examination was conducted on October 11.

According to Dr Mote, Governor Enembe needed to get treatment in Singapore

Jakarta unresponsive
Tabloid Jubi reports that prior to and after the first examination, Governor Enembe’s family and lawyers had asked the central government of Indonesia to consider his health by allowing him to get treatment in Singapore. However, Jakarta had not responded.

“That’s the reason we brought in a doctor from Singapore because [Governor Enembe] must continue to receive continuous medical care,” said Dr Mote.

Meanwhile, the Papua Times reports that KPK had a coordinating meeting about the case involving Governor Enembe on October 24.

This led to a decision to send a team of medical doctors from the KPK and the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) to examine Governor Enembe.

Laurens Ikinia is a West Papuan postgraduate communication studies student at AUT University.

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