Word: Ayu Arman
Those who choose to serve,
They were chosen to lead
The position of becoming a regent is a divine blessing. However, this position comes after we undergo a lengthy process and self-examination. Testing the quality of work, testing loyalty, testing self-sacrifice, and also testing faith in God. Yes, God tests my faith when processing the maturity of my soul before leading my homeland.
If God is testing and processing us according to His will, God’s plan can never be compromised by human actions. Therefore, even though everyone can serve, not everyone is designed to lead. Those designed to lead are people who have been tested in intelligence, steadfastness, service, faith, and unforeseen intangibles. All of these are forged together through commitment to our daily life choices.
“Serve first, lead later” is a reflection of my career journey. Leadership is about talent, while serving is about a calling of the heart. Therefore, when I think of leadership as a service, two images come to mind: (1) Jesus washing the feet of His disciples; and (2) my mother who, every day of her life, serves me.
I feel that if Jesus can take the time to wash the feet of His disciples and my mother can cook for me every day without complaining, I can certainly take the time to help someone in need.
Serving others may not always fit into our schedules, but it fits into God’s plan for our lives. God does not choose the best. God chooses the most willing. If we are willing to serve in small ways, we will change the world in big ways. It all starts with washing feet, cooking meals, and all the other small acts that grow from selfless love. If we use the position of leadership to serve with a compassionate heart, we will have a purpose in life and interests greater than our own.
As I embark on leadership as a regent, I continually pray to God: “Yes, Lord, help me serve others. Guide me to set aside personal interests and desires so that I can provide assistance to those in need.”
In 2020 or the year when this interview was conducted, my leadership had entered its third year. Over the span of these three years, I have endeavored to carry out infrastructure development, healthcare services, education services, social services, and support the economic growth of the community to realize our mission and vision. That is, to create an advanced, intelligent, healthy, and prosperous community.
I am grateful that the previous regent, Mr. Septanus Malak, laid the foundation for infrastructure development, allowing our leadership to continue and complement what is already in place. For me, something good should be continued, and something lacking should be corrected. Good leadership is continuous, with programs seamlessly extending from each leadership period. Thus, the development programs have a sustainable benefit for the community.
This leadership principle underlies the development policies I have adopted. Consequently, the development programs during our leadership, especially in infrastructure, have largely completed projects initiated in the previous administration. In the three years of our leadership, we focused on improving road availability and also undertaking new construction.
For example, road foundations were laid in the previous administration. During our leadership, we enhanced these road foundations to ensure they are fully utilized by the community. This is because the roads in Sorong Regency are generally still in gravel or aggregate base construction condition. Therefore, we upgraded the road construction to concrete or asphalt, particularly in the roads within Aimas City, which represents the forefront of Sorong Regency.
The road improvements were gradually spread across the entire Sorong Regency. Several road sections underwent enhancements, including Malawor—Makbon, Aimas—Unipa, Regional Government Office—Canal, Intimpura—Aimas Market. Then, it continued to Aimas, Mariat, Sayosa, Sailala, Maudus, Maladofok, and Disra. Additionally, road improvements were also carried out in Majener—Katapop Pantai and Majener—Petrocin Road.
In addition to road upgrades, we also undertook construction on roads in isolated areas. In 2019, we opened a connecting road between Sunook District and Maudus, spanning 5 km and will continue to be improved. Out of the current 33 districts in Sorong Regency, there are only two districts that cannot be accessed by land vehicles, namely Malabotom District and Bagun District. By the end of this leadership term, we are determined to ensure these two districts have road access.
Aside from road improvements and construction, we revitalized town squares and canal roads to enhance the main appearance of the capital. I hope all the infrastructure development and road improvements will aid the mobility of the community and support the improvement of the well-being of the people in Sorong Regency.
In addition to continuing road construction and improvement, I also relocated the construction of the Sorong Regency Regional General Hospital (RSUD) building to Kilometer 22, Aimas City.
The construction of the Sorong Regency Hospital building had actually started back in 1997, during the tenure of Regent John Piet Wanane. However, the building was not functional. Therefore, at the beginning of my leadership, I was determined to move the RSUD Sorong Regency, which was still located in Kampung Baru, to Kilometer 22, Aimas City. The reason is simple: to bring health services closer to the people of Sorong Regency.
In early 2018, we focused on various improvements and the relocation of the RSUD building, completing it with various healthcare facilities and continuously processing the relocation requirements. It turned out that relocating a hospital requires complex stages and requirements.
While all these relocation processes were ongoing, RSUD was utilized as a polyclinic. After enduring struggles and hard work, RSUD Sorong Regency finally moved to Aimas City.
I was very happy to inaugurate RSUD, later named RSUD John Piet Wanane. After 15 years, I could bring to life the building that was first initiated and envisioned by John Piet Wanane in 2003.
I also thank the heirs for approving the government’s proposal to use the late John Piet Wanane’s name for the RSUD Sorong Regency. I suggested using this name as an expression of gratitude and an effort to continue the great aspirations of Mr. Wanane, who initiated the construction of this hospital. When I served as Budget Head, I knew precisely that the idea of building RSUD Sorong Regency sparked intense debates between Mr. John Piet Wanane and Mr. Achmad Hatari, who was then the Head of the Finance Department.
The idea of building the hospital was initially rejected by Mr. Achmad Hatari, citing that Sorong Regency, being a small-scale region, could not possibly build an internationally standard hospital. However, Mr. Wanane, with strong and unwavering commitment, eventually started its construction in 2003, consistently including it in the regional budget for the next two years. And, thus, the building was completed.
Finally, in July 2020, I could fulfill Mr. Wanane’s grand aspirations. Currently, Sorong Regency has a general hospital with 15 outpatient clinics and 21 specialist doctors (clinical pathology, microbiology, radiology, and nutrition), two sub-specialist doctors (digestive and obstetrics consultants), 13 general practitioners, as well as 2 dental specialists. The hospital is also equipped with an inpatient facility with 305 patient beds, including 226 adult beds, 30 infant beds, and 49 incubators.
To support the improvement of healthcare services, we also constructed a building for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Papua (Unipa), which was initiated by Regent Malak. The main campus of this university is in Manokwari, while the Aimas campus serves as the second campus.
We also completed the construction program for the Aimas City hotel and meeting building, continuing the previous program initiated by Regent Malak. This Aimas hotel and meeting building is the largest building in West Papua, capable of accommodating 2,000 to 3,000 people. The hotel is currently in the process of collaborating with a management team.
Additionally, we revitalized the Aimas Wholesale Market. This market had been built during the era of Regent John Piet Wanane and had been officially inaugurated by Regent Stepanus Malak. However, the market was not maximally utilized. Approximately 50 percent of the building and stalls for trading were damaged and covered with vegetation up to 2 meters high.
I took the initiative to revive this abandoned wholesale market building. All stalls or spaces in this wholesale market are owned by traders residing in Aimas and Sorong. I also emphasized to the stall owners to promptly display their merchandise. Otherwise, the spaces or stalls that have been purchased will be reclaimed by the government.
I hope that by revitalizing and operating this wholesale market, it can benefit many people’s lives and stimulate the local economy. A market is a gathering place for agricultural, fisheries, and craft products. To support the existence of this wholesale market, I made efforts to build several road sections leading to the market and terminal, with the hope that people will soon sell their goods at the Aimas Wholesale Market. Above all, I do not want to see abandoned buildings that have drained the regional budget. Therefore, I revive existing buildings to ensure they come to life, sustain lives, and enliven the community and the local economy so that the buildings have value. Building infrastructure is not just about construction but also about bringing buildings to life. Moreover, it must be able to bring widespread benefits in the long term.
This is the importance of continuous programs. They should have practical value and, undoubtedly, no budget wastage. Therefore, even if I did not initiate the construction, I must continue it to ensure that the construction is completed and can be maximally used for public service. So, development does not always have to start from scratch. This is a principle in my leadership. I prefer to seek value over name. Of course, this requires magnanimity and suppressing my personal ego as an ordinary human being. I do all this because I only want to use my position to promote goodness. Thus, the infrastructure development has practical value in the lives of the people, whether visible or not.
I am reminded of the story of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. Jethro was a shepherd of the Kenite tribe and a priest in Midian. The Bible only mentions his name once. He is not as famous as Moses. However, Jethro’s role was invaluable in Moses’ struggle to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses’ success was assisted by several helpers and, especially, by his advisor, Jethro, who happened to be his father-in-law.
In addition to Jethro, there is also the story of Barnabas. Barnabas was a Levite from Cyprus. He was a good person, blessed by the Holy Spirit and faith. His original name was Joseph, but he was called Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.” In many ways, Barnabas was an extraordinary example, particularly in offering contributions and helping people become disciples of Jesus.
Barnabas had a close relationship with the Apostle Paul. Before the Apostle Paul followed the teachings of Jesus, his name was Saul. He was known for being very cruel, having persecuted Christians—those who followed the teachings of Jesus. In the course of his life, he repented and embraced the teachings of Jesus. However, many disciples of Jesus were skeptical of him.
Barnabas was the one who convinced followers of Jesus that Saul, the notorious persecutor of Jesus’ followers, had now become part of Jesus’ circle since he encountered the Lord and taught in Damascus (Acts of the Apostles, 9:27). “Do not be afraid of Saul. He is now Paul, he is no longer the same. He now truly fears the Lord,” said Barnabas.
As we read the Bible, we may be more familiar with the name Paul than Barnabas. Yes, Barnabas may not be popular, but he is invaluable for his role in convincing everyone that Saul has indeed become Paul. Consequently, Paul gained trust.
In this life, I adhere to such principles. Seeking value is more important than seeking a name. This underlies my policy in leadership. Thus, I do not have to create sensations or implement grand programs just to appear different from the previous leadership. No. Let my name not look like it matters as long as what I do has value and real impact, felt beneficial by the community.
Infrastructure development remains a paramount and crucial aspect of my leadership. Infrastructure will enhance regional connectivity, addressing isolation in various isolated districts and overcoming backwardness that pervades other issues. This will have a direct impact on the local economy, public services, health, and education.
Moreover, Sorong Regency has been designated as the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Papua by the Central Government. The establishment of this SEZ is expected to become a new economic growth center in Eastern Indonesia, aligning with one of the Nawacita principles, which is to build Indonesia from the periphery. The SEZ is located in the Mayamuk District and is built on an area of 523 hectares. This area is strategically positioned along the trade route of the Asia Pacific and Australia.
Therefore, infrastructure development in Sorong Regency will continue to be a primary program in my leadership. Whether it’s the construction of roads, bridges, irrigation—improving water dams for agricultural areas, or building resorts and tourist villages like in Malagufuk Village, Makbon District. This area will become one of the tourism icons in Sorong Regency.
Here, we have already built the Eco Village Gapura and homestay. The natural attraction of Malagufuk includes the presence of rare wildlife, such as flocks of birds of paradise, cassowaries, birds of prey, hornbills, and so on. I cannot enumerate one by one the completed and ongoing infrastructure developments here. What is certain is that we remain committed to fulfilling our promises in our vision and mission.
In addition to infrastructure development, human resources development (HRD) is also a primary focus in my leadership to realize the future generation. I am aware that the abundant natural resources in the form of fertile land, deep-sea harboring various materials and biodiversity, lush forest wilderness, and various mining products in the mountains’ depths will only provide maximum benefits when processed by knowledgeable, skilled, and technologically adept individuals.
Therefore, there is no other way to develop this land of Papua except by preparing human resources through education, which will later shape and transform the future of Papua with their experiences in knowledge and innovation.***