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The year of 1999 marked the big monumental change in Indonesia. Preceded by the 1998 Reform Movement that ended the 32-year dictatorship of New Order Era, Indonesia entered a transitional period of democracy. In the same year, the government ratified the regional autonomy policy that changed the administration from centralized government to decentralized government.
This regional autonomy policy may be perceived as a response to an increasing demand of regional independency from the state government and to a wider public participation in all aspects. Regional autonomy policy also creates a new hope of building good governance as an instrument to improve the community welfare. Regional autonomy is expected to give greater opportunity for the community to actively participate in determining policy, which is prerequisite for the creation of a good governance. Through decentralization, management and utilization of communal resources will benefit more for the community’s interests, particularly in local region.
However, in reality, the changes of relationship between local and national government in the decentralization policy does not necessarily change the relationship pattern between the society and the state. The society is still excluded from any decision making practice and receives limited access to public services. For example, the ratification of Local Government Budget (APBD) policy has not yet involved public participation, particularly the vulnerable and poor communities. This condition results in limited access to public service. Meanwhile, corruption, collusion, and nepotism are increasingly rampant and have become normal practices in governmental bureaucracy, including at the local government.
In that context, PATTIRO (Center for Regional Information and Studies) was founded on 17 April 1999 in Jakarta. As a non-governmental organization, we dedicate our activities to actualize good governance and to improve public participation in Indonesia, particularly at the local level. In other words, we try to encourage the fulfillment of regional autonomy purpose, which is the improvement in the public service quality, that in turn improving the welfare of the society.