Public Participation in Development Planning: A Case Study of Indonesian Musrenbang

By Rasita Ekawati Purba.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The term “public participation” has been popular in Indonesia since the reform era started in 1998. Nowadays it is a ubiquitous feature of government policy and practice, both at the central and local levels, including in managing development planning. Based on observations of Musrenbang, a multi-stakeholder public consultation forum for discussion of development issues, this study highlights key findings of how the approach actually works. Democracy and decentralization are crucial as the main foundations to support genuine public participation, as well as some other technical necessities. As genuine public participation in Indonesia is a relatively new approach, the implementation of participatory governance is somewhat vague. Even when democratic methods are adopted, in practice it is difficult for some groups, particularly those who are marginalised in society, to participate and get their voices heard. However, it should be noted that participative development planning itself is a long and complex activity with contested views about the balance of community empowerment versus an ‘output-based’ planning process. The institutionalisation of the approach through laws and regulations within the context of a newly but profoundly democratised and decentralised governance in Indonesia deserves continuous assessment to foster improvement.

Keywords: Decentralization, Public Participation, Development Planning, Gender, Poverty

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 12, pp.265-278. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 856.440KB).

Rasita Ekawati Purba

Postgraduate Student, Department of Politics, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Rasita Purba is currently a Phd student in the School of Political and Social Inquiries, at Monash University, Australia. Her research project is investigating the implementation of decentralization policy in Indonesia and its impact on education policies at district level. Graduated from Gadjah Mada University, she was awarded ADS (Australian Development Scholarship) to undertake her master at the University of Western Australia, and she is receiving ALA (Australian Leadership Award) for her Phd. Her main interest is public policy, in particular such policies to promote the interests of the poor and gender equality. Her professional experience in community development spans over 10 years with Plan International and ACCESS-AusAID. Plan International is a non profit organization which deals with complex issues of children living in poverty; and ACCESS-AusAID is an effort to promote good governance by strengthening civil society and state-public engagement.


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