Padang, West Sumatra – Vice President Jusuf Kalla received an honorary doctorate degree (doctor honoris causa/ Dr. HC) in the field of Local Government Law from Faculty of Law, University of Andalas in Padang, West Sumatra.

The awarding ceremony was conducted in the auditorium of the University of Andalas on Monday (Sept. 5) and was part of a series of events to commemorate the university’s 60th anniversary.

On that occasion, the Vice President delivered a scientific oration entitled “Decentralization for Good Governance, Strengthened National Integration, and National Development.

In his speech the Vice President said that, in addition to democracy, which is characterized by free elections, the mushrooming of political parties, and the freedom of the press, a fundamental change that occurred after the reform era is regional autonomy.

“Regional autonomy essentially means giving dignity to the regions in managing their natural resources, making decisions, and plannting as well as carrying out development programs,” he said.

Besides, he continued, the development of a region would be more appropriate when performed by local residents as they are born, grow, and better understand the place.

“I remember a Minang wise saying Nan tahu dikayu tinggi alangNan tahu di poso-poso ayamNan tahu dikili-kili bantiang. The ones who knows the subtlety and the nature of a country are the scholars of the country themselves,” said the Vice President.

However, the Vice President reminded that the success of regional autonomy is highly determined by the quality of human resources, planning, execution and control, and should be subject to the national standards.

“Regional autonomy should be subject to national standards, or even international standards, since there are things that may not be compromised by the reason of local autonomy, for example matters relating to national security, safety, and sustainability,” he said, adding that it is the national standard that has framed Indonesia as a united nation.

Concluding his speech, the Vice President stressed that the aim of decentralization is to realize the prosperity of the people.

“It’s not to vie or to satisfy one’s own interests,” he affirmed.

Earlier, the Rector of the University of Andalas Tafdil Husni said that H. M. Jusuf Kalla is deemed eligible to receive an honorary degree due to his active contribution in the formation of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Decree No. XV/MPR/1998 on Regional Autonomy, which influenced the formation of local government system in Indonesia afterwards.

“Mr. Kalla is also credited in starting a peace mission to recover Aceh local government recovery after the failure of the Cessation of Hostilities Framework Agreement (COHA) and the Joint Council of Tokyo in 2003, initiating the Helsinki talks, and inspiring the formation of Law No. 5 of 2006 regarding the Government of Aceh,” he said.

Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Andalas Saldi Isra, a lawyer and Professor of Criminal Law Todung Mulya Lubis, and Professor of Criminal Law who is also the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Andalas Elwi Danil were the three promoters in awarding the honorary degree to the Vice President.

The awarding proposal is stipulated in the Letter of the Rector of the University of Andalas No. 7086/UN16.R/PP/2016 dated July 14, 2016 which was subsequently endorsed by the Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education with the letter No. 2448/D2.I/KP/2016.

This title is the eighth honorary doctorate degree received by the Vice President. Previously, in 2007 the Vice President has also been awarded the Dr. HC from the University of Malaya, Malaysia. That same year, he also received similar award from Soka University, Japan. In 2011, the Vice President again received the Dr. HC degree from the Indonesian Education University (UPI) in Bandung, Hasanuddin University in Makassar, and Brawijaya University in Malang. Afterwards in 2013, the Vice President received the same degree from the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java. Then in 2015, the Vice President received another degree from the University of Syiah Kuala in Banda Aceh.

Also attending the event were the Chairman of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) Irman Gusman, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing Basoeki Hadimoeljono, Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Muhammad Nasir, and Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Abnur Asman.