Located in the western tip of Java, Banten which used to be part of West Java Province in Indonesia became an autonomous province in 2000 after four regencies and two municipalities merged in. Regional autonomy has as its main goal improving the quality of democracy and the government’s service to the public, as well as to better the people’s welfare.
In entering the autonomy era, there is no doubt that the newly established Banten province lags in many areas particularly as it is sandwiched between two powerful provinces — Jakarta and West Java. Community figures in the province concede that while financial and institutional development are important, certain cultural and societal ethics which have persisted so far must change in order to spur on the new province’s development.
Many people say that the new province has great potential to achieve significant progress provided locals, and their political leaders, can change their way of thinking and adopt what has been described as modernity. The key problem in the new province is how to help local people and the local political elite change their way of thinking and to be open to modernity because a large part of the population is not educated. This is the irony that the province has great potential in areas such as mining, industry, fishing, tourism, agriculture, and trade, but lacked the necessary support of qualified human resources to realize that potential.
The Banten sultanate was known for its international trade with European countries and had a trade mission in the United Kingdom and France during the 18th and 19th Centuries but the facts now shows that the majority are still living in poverty. The lack of education and various health problems plaguing numerous underdeveloped villages in the regencies of Lebak, Pandeglang and Serang are just a few to mention as examples.
Some parts of Banten, however, have been more exposed to the outside world such as Tangerang which has seen tremendous infrastructural development due to the presence of industry there. Tangerang is now even devided into three autonomous regions such as Tangerang regency, Tangerang municipality and south Tangerang municipality.
However, people in Banten will stilll have to learn how to practice democracy as stipulated in the 1999 law on regional autonomy because being democratic means a readiness to accept defeat in the decision and policy-making processes and not to resort to force or anarchic and destructive actions.
The establishment of Banten as a new province and regional autonomy are golden opportunities for people to develop themselves in all fields. The people should no longer sleep in idleness and should give up their dependence on the province’s rich natural resources.
Education is a serious problem that needs an urgent solution. To improve the quality of human resources in the new province, local administrations, investors, private educational foundations should all establish more educational institutes and training centers for the farming, fishing and plantation sectors, especially in rural areas.
Hakamudin Djamal, acting governor (2000-2002)
Djoko Munandar-Ratu Atut Chosiyah, governor and deputy governor-elect (2002-2005)
Ratu Atut Chosiyah, acting governor (2005-2007)
Ratu Atut Chosiyah-Masduki, governor and deputy governor-elect (2007-2012)
Ratu Atut Chosiyah-Rano Karno, governor and deputy governor-elect (2012-2017)
Wahidim Halim-Andika Hazrumy governor and deputy governor-elect (2017-2022)
Based on the 2010 census results held by the Central Statistic Bureau (BPS), Banten is home to a population of 10,632 people. Demography growth is 2.78 percent with an average 1,100 desnsity per kilometer. 67,01 percent of the population are urbant residents while another 32,99 percent live in rural areas. Banten Province consists of 4 Regencies and 4 Municipalities such as:
South Tangerang Municipality
Culture and Society
The majority of Banten residents possess very strong religious spirit of Islam. Typical potentials of Banten culture is seen from Debus and martial arts (Pencak Silat), and traditional dances such as rudad, umrug, saman, topeng, cokek, dog-dog, palingtung, and lojor. In addition to, historical legacy like Banten Lama Grand Mosque, Surosawan and Kaibon Keraton, Long Sacred Thombs.
Traditional arts colored by Islam such as ngabedug (drum beating art), seni rampak bedug, seni qasidah, terebang gede, marhaba rakbi, dzikir saman, debus, patingtung, rudat, angklung buhun, dog dog lojor, bendrong lesung, ubrug dan beluk are all still well maintained.
Banten is also home to traditional community called Baduy that still strongly maintains anti-modersm tradition in the way of life. The Baduy Rawayan community lives on the highgland of Mount Kendeng which is serrounded by four traditional villages called Cicarucub, Bayah, Citorek and Cipta Gelar in Lebak Regency. Banten also is home to dozens of salafi and modern Islamic Boarding Schools.
Too, Banten is home to a thousand industrial firms with a number of robustly growing industrial plants in Serang, Cilegon and Tangerang that support for the economy of Banten people. Tangerang with its pluralistc charactersitc and ethnics is known as the barometer of Banten’s economic growth due to its proximity with the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.