"The matter of defense is handled by the central government. It has nothing to do with the new autonomous region," Khairul told Medcom.id on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.
"Even without creating a new autonomous regison, strength and capability enhancements can still be carried out," he said.
Natuna Regent Abdul Hamid Rizal recently suggested that Natuna and Anambas Regencies could become a special provinces. He argued the move would encourage local authorities to be more authoritative in maintaining sovereignty in the Natuna Waters.
"The regency or city government does not have authority over sea waters, so it cannot do much in protecting and managing Natuna’s waters," Abdul said in a written statement from the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs received by Medcom.id on Saturday, January 4, 2020.
According to Abdul, the provincial government has the authority and ability to protect and manage Natuna's coast and sea area. It is currently under the authority of the Riau Islands Province.