Subject: AN: West Timor misery

Antara (Indonesia)

December 23, 2005 Friday


Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara Dec 23

_ Inhabitants of Belu and Timor Tengah Utara (TTU) districts located in the border area shared by East Nusa Tenggara and Timor Leste urgently need the government_s help to get out from their misery.

_We urge the Government to increase its budget for the development of the districts and the welfare of their inhabitants living near the border area of East Nusa Tenggara and Timor Leste,_ said Harun Al Rasyid, a member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD), said here Friday.

Harun and his colleagues just returned from a visit to the border region shared by Indonesia_s East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Timor Leste to see how the inhabitants are living, and to inspect security check-points in the border area.

The DPD delegation found out that the living condition of the local people and military personnel on duty in the border area cause for concern.

Most of the security check-points were in a deplorable cindition as more than the total of 50 security posts have piles of dried leaves still on their roofs, which have to be removed.

Such a poor condition would disturb the performance of the military officers because the roofs were leaking when it rained, Harun said.

Harun, who had a dialogue with those officers, said he was amazed by the fact that despite being in such a deplorable situation, the military officers still looked happy.

He stated that the local people and the military officers in the area must not be ignored and needed prompt attention. The Government must increase the budget to improve their condition, he said.

The DPD and the House of Representatives (DPR) would urge the Government to give attention to improve welfare of the inhabitants in the border area, said Harun, former governor of West Nusa Tenggara Province for the 1998-2004 period.

"Those military officers have been separated from their wives and children. They have to live in very poor living conditions in a remote area, and yet each officer get only Rp18,000 (less than two US dollars) per day,_ he said.

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