Politic

Renggali and Seulanga

When Renggali’s Fragrance is not as Good as Seulanga

Hairul Anwar

“EXCUSE me gentlemen, I have been making you wait. I just arrived from Bener Meriah. I had a little bit business,” Iwan Gayo said. He welcomed his guests friendly.

Five men have been waiting for him about an hour. Iwan had invited them to his house at Paya Tumpi, Takengon, Aceh Tengah district. Iwan also asked me to meet them on 7 February 2008.

Iwan clarified why does he invites them, lengthy. His tone is up and down, as well as a preacher in church or mosque. Sometimes he stand up and then back to his chair.

“The demand for ALA extension became our parent motivation, including my father, Abubakar Bintang, head of Indonesia National Party (PNI). Since 1945, they have been struggling for it. However, it never occurred as Aceh was in war, ranging from Dutch to Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (Free Aceh Movement),” Iwan said.

Those five men were listening quietly. They did not interrupt him.

“As head of village, please do tell your population. Tell them that Acehnese people in the hinterland where located in five districts were demanding to establish new province. Therefore, we could take good care of the people. If there come any support, let us together go to Jakarta. We will give our support to the commission II in house of representative (DPR) to signing the law of government of ALA,” he continued.

Iwan showed them sample of a piece of letter from a village headman. It is a form of conformity the head of village to fly to Jakarta. He will also conform to follow sort of constraints, such as not to bring any kind of blades, keep him under control, and … the most important is, ready to sleep in house of representative building as a way to fight the demand.

“I’m joining you. I’m ready,” a guest said.

“Yeah … I agree,” said the man next to him.

“I suggest all of village headman to gather before we go to Jakarta. Some of them have not known yet about our struggle of ALA province establishment. We have to brief them first,” the other village headman interrupted.

Going to Jakarta is not as simple as they thought. Besides its distance, the cost from Aceh to Jakarta is quite expensive.

“We would take some contribution from them, at least five thousand rupiah,” Iwan said.

The supporters of the ALA province establishment had planed they will go to Jakarta on April 2008. It means there are two months remain to take the contribution. Then, Iwan give them donation form.

“Number of contribution should note down as well as the identity,” Iwan continued.

Iwan Gayo is member of Committee of Acceleration of ALA Province Establishment (Komite Percepatan Pembentukan Provinsi ALA). He is a spokesperson of the committee.

This activity had made Iwan back to his village. Prior to join the committee, more than 40 years he lived in Jakarta as a freelance journalist and working in his printing enterprise. He also had known as writer of Buku Pintar, which very famous among students.

Since he became spokesperson, Iwan is very busy. Almost every day he went to one village to another campaigning aims of ALA province establishment and raising villagers endorsement.

Guests have been always coming to his house, journalists, students, government officials, and former member of Free Aceh Movement as well. Probably, that is the reason why some polices escorting around his house.

“We should make them believe that ALA population was endorsing the province establishment,” he told me.

ACEH Leuser Antara or known as ALA consists of five districts, Aceh Tengah, Bener Meriah, Aceh Singkil, Gayo Lues, and Aceh Tenggara.

Besides ALA, Indonesian House of Representative (DPR-RI) submitted the establishment plan of Aceh Barat Selatan province, called ABAS. Its region ranging from Aceh Jaya, Aceh Barat, Nagan Raya, Aceh Barat Daya, Aceh Selatan, Simeulue district.

Although banners of the establishment province demand is used the acronym of ALA-ABAS, initiative of it has protracted historical struggle. It sounds more and more loud recently. The ALA initiators were campaigning through cultural-art performance or mass demonstration.

The name of Aceh Leuser Antara has three meaning. ‘Aceh’ representing geographic landscape, ‘Leuser’ representing three regencies where located in Leuser Mountain National Park, and Antara representing Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah districts entity.

“Proposal of the province name was changing for few times, but we finally come to ALA name. In the beginning, the name was Galaksi. It is an acronym of Gayo Alas Kuala Simpang Singkil. It changed to GATS with similar acronym to Galaksi. Late, Kuala Simpang or Aceh Tamiang was canceled its membership,” Iwan told me.

On 7 October 2005, Kompas daily reported the demand of ALA province establishment had discussed thoroughly in Brastagi, North Sumatera, during May 2001. Some of prominences, member Indonesian house of representative, and officials of Internal Affairs Department attended the meeting. It was exclusively meeting, as province extension issues were being sensitive. Three years later, the legislators approved the establishment and put into initiative draft of Indonesia parliament. The initiators in five districts held a congress toward ALA establishment on May 2005. They earned Rp 20 billions to financing the new province materialized.

On October 2005, they held mass demonstration in Jakarta. Nearly 500 participants who lived outside Aceh demanded the government to extent Aceh province region.

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