Yogyakarta Special Zone

It is not clear whether Yogyakarta is Special anymore.

The Yogyakarta Special Zone is traditionally ruled by the unelected head of the Yogyakarta royal family, currently Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X. However due to the Sultan’s clearly stated and firm refusal to take up the position of Governor of Yogyakarta for another term doubts have been raised as to whether Yogyakarta will be any longer deserving of “Special” province status.

Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X
Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X

Earlier this week thousands of Yogyakartans from all walks of life took part in a rally demanding that the central government in Jakarta give more concrete, formal, and permanent recognition of the special status of the province.

During the rally, sponsored by the board of the New Democratic Party, residents put on art performances and gathered signatures in support of the province and the sultan, who is also automatically the governor of the province. Those taking part in the event said the central government had ignored a draft law currently at the House of Representatives on the special status of Yogyakarta.

Article 18 of the 1945 Constitution guarantees the special status of the province.

Yogyakarta was truly Special, said Dahlan Ta’ib, an assistant to the Yogyakarta provincial administration.

Historically, Hamengkubuwono X and Pakualam VII voluntarily made Yogyakarta part of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia.

The special characteristics of DKI (Jakarta) are clear, also Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and Papua. But what about Yogyakarta, where is its special status?

No laws, apart from the constitutional article, have ever been passed outlining the special status and privileges given to Yogyakarta.

One marcher said:

I’ll give my support without being asked. In principle, I follow whatever decision is taken by Ngarso Dalem [Sultan Hamengkubuwono X].

The marchers were later received by members of the local legislative council, who naturally also supported the special position of Yogyakarta.

The special status is fixed and we have to struggle for it.

said Noor Haris of the National Awakening Party.

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