Immortalizing the Face of a Papuan Hero on National Currency

In the coming mid December of 2016, the government of Indonesia will change the faces on the national currency. There are 12 names of national heroes already selected for the new appearance. The decision is regulated by President Decision Number 31 of 2016 regarding The Determination of National Heroes as the Front Face of Paper and Coin Money of the republic of Indonesia. President Jokowi himself has signed the President Decision Number 31 of 2016. This is the tribute to the merits of the national heroes as has been carried out in most countries in the world.

Penetapan Gambar Pahlawan Nasional Sebagai Gambar Utama Pada Bagian Depan Rupiah Kertas dan Rupiah Logam Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia.

From Papua, Frans Kaisiepo have been chosen as one of the 12 national heroes that will be the font faces of Indonesian currency. He is chosen as the new face of the ten thousand rupiah bill, replacing the national hero, Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II. This decision is made after the consideration that according to the survey of Bank Indonesia, the ten thousand rupiah bill is the most frequently used denomination in transactions of the Indonesian people. Hence, it is expected that Frans Kaisiepo would be more widely known.

frans kaisiepo
Frans Kaisiepo via

There are four other Papuan heroes that were taken into account besides Frans Kaisiepo. Those heroes from Papua are Marthen Indey, Frans Kaisiepo, Silas Papare and Johanes Abraham Dimara.  Frans Kaisiepo was chosen out of 147 national heroes from all over Indonesia, proposed by each representative office of Bank Indonesia. The decision has been reviewed in joint work between the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, historians and also the beneficiaries of the national heroes for six months.

Frank Kaisiepo was born in Biak, 10 October of 1921 and was decided as a national hero by Presidential Decision Number 077/TK/1993 on 14 September of 1993. He became an Indonesian national hero after his merits for this nation. One of those merits are when he served as the first Governor of Papua in 1964-1973. Frans also had a big role during the People’s Consensus (Pepera) that has been the diciding factor of Papua’s inclusion into the Republic of Indonesia.

Frans Kaisiepo was the founder of Partai Indonesia Merdeka (Indonesia Liberation Party) in Biak. He rejected the Netherland’s plan to form Eastern Indonesian Nation-State when he was the representative of West Irian (now Papua) delegation during Malino Conference. He even changed the name Netherland Nieuwe Guinea with IRIAN which is the abbreviation from Ikut Republik Indonesia Anti Netherland (Join Indonesia and Anti netherland). Frans Kaisiepo and the people of Biak continued on the fight for netherland in Biak.

During the Round Table Conference (KMB), Frans rejected his assignment as a member of Netherland Delegation. Hence, he was sanctioned and out-casted. when the Netherland refused to acknowledged the independence of Indonesia, they insisted that Irian remained to be a part of Netherland. President Soekarno then declared the Trikora (Three People’s Commands) as a measureto liberate Irian from Netherland. Frans Kaisiepo was also actively participating to help the Indonesian National Forces to land on West Irian. On May the first of 1963, the United Nations officially included West Irian as a part of the Republic of Indonesia. Frans Kaisiepo was appointed as the first Governor of Papua.


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