Monday, July 27, 2009

Authority Followed Up Contamination of Petitenget Estuary

As reported earlier, estuary located close to Petitenget has been heavily violated. Local residents believed that certain restaurants located in the area have disposed their waste directly to the river. Click here for previous report about this issue.

Badung Environment Agency (BLH Badung) and Administrative Police (Satpol PP Badung) have sealed waste gate of La Luciola Restaurant and Villa Samaya Seminyak as those waste gate were suspected to drain waste directly to the estuary.

Both government agencies led by the commander of Satpol PP Badung, Wayan Adi Arnawa came to the location for inspection after local residents complained about pollution of Petitenget estuary. During the inspection, the team found La Luciola Restaurant and Villa Samaya have waste drainage directly going to the estuary.

Operators tried to defend themselves by saying that the waste gate were not intended to dispose hazzardous waste. Representative of Villa Samaya management, IGN Wahyudi admitted that the waste gate was intended to dispose waste for their restaurant, however he deffended that the disposed material was not hazzardous. For hazzardous waste Villa Samaya has its own waste processing installation.

Meanwhile management of La Luciola restaurant, Deddy, refused that the drainage was used to dispose waste. He deffended by saying that the drainage was used only to direct rain water.

However the team ignored their excuse, especially as they found that the waste gates were flowing yellow colored waste. Adi Arnawa immediately instructed to seal those waste gates with cement. Both businesses were also warned to stop disposing their waste into the estuary. “It is a preliminary action. If they remain in ignorance, a more strict action will be enforced”, Arnawa threated.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Villa Development on Bali Valley is Stopped

Exploitation of land plots along the valley of Gianyar regency has never decreased. Construction of private villas in conservation area dedicated for water preservation such as Tegenungan at Sukawati districts of Gianyar keeps going on. Massive constructions even taking place on very dangerous elevating slopes and carrying on without holding permit from the government of Gianyar regency.

A villa development project next to Tegenungan bridge of Sukawati has just been ceased by Gianyar's administrative police (Satpol PP) on Monday (July 13th). More than built without permit, the project located on top of a valley also violates river setback regulation.

Commander of Satpol PP Gianyar, A.A. Oka Digjaya confirmed his action to cease the villa development after in an inspection the developer failed to show a valid permit. A project supervisor told BaliPost reporter that he has nothing to do with legality as the issue is under responsibility of the developer. Failure to show the permit has immediately led to suspension until a permit issued. Some equipments were seized to ensure suspension obbeyed.

Digjaya exposed that in addition to violation of regional regulation on building construction permit, the project also employs workers from outside the area without proper citizenship paperworks. “We have issued a preliminary warning and instructed them to have the paperwork completed before cosntruction started”, he said.

In Ubud area, Villa Puri Sekar Ayu, owned by local resident A.A. Ngurah Kesuma Wardana has received a warning as it was built without construction permit and one of its Ubud villas started to rent without operating license.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Paradise for Money Laundering

Indonesia, including Bali, is currently considered as one of the best place for money laundering, especially related to enormous flow of investment in tourism industry all activity sectors.

Head of Bali Branch of Indonesian central bank, Viraguna Bagoes Oka, noted Bali as one of paradises for money laundering. “There is quite significant potential considering a lot of business investments in the area”, he told the press on Thursday, July 16th, after a discussion about money laundering.

He further pointed to the weak regulation giving chance for money laudering to take place unidentified. More than traditional way of money laundering such as banking, hotels, and foreign exchange, there is also significant potential in property sector. “Property transactions involved large volume foreign operatives”, he said.

Therefore he invited related stakeholders including banking industry in Bali to play active role in preventing money laundering by enforcing tight regulation. Impact of money laundering goes wider than just economy but also law and social issues. “We encourage banks to record details of their customers especially those involved in large transactions”, he said.

Bagoes Oka admitted that money launderings are quite difficult to identify, as the sum of large transaction can be splitted into smaller chunks involving many individuals. Among anticipation he suggested is close monitoring of customers' ID.

Deputy Director of the Central Bureau of Analysis and Reporting of Financial Transaction (PPATK), the body responsible for taking care money laundering cases, admitted that there are many issues which have not been included into the money laundering regulation, including property transactions which normally involve large sum. “This is something which we need to improve in the future”, he said.

He further exposed that there have been money laundering cases brought into the Court of Justice. “So far there have been about 700 cases forwarded by PPATK for police follow up”, he said. Meanwhile Bagoes Oka said that the central bank reported money laundering suspicions to PPATK for further follow up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Development Programs of Karangasem

Getting closer to completion of cruise marina, Karangasem as a tourism destination has to prepare itself to make benefit from tourists visiting Bali on cruise ships. There have been many cruise agents asking about completion of the marina so they can put it in their schedule. The Regent of Karangasem, Wayan Geredeg exposed the situation during his roadshow on socialization of his development programs at Selat district.
He further informed that completion physical construction of the marina has became a commitment of both the central government and the provincial government of Bali, therefore his administration is heating in preparing supporting infrastructure, so Karangasem can take maximum benefit from the presence of the new marina. “The route between Putung and Manggis will become a tourist route to agro-tourism where tourists can taste snake-skin fruit wine, a new tourism icon which will be launched in Nusa Dua whist awaiting for approval from the drug and food supervisory board”, the Regent explained.

He further explained that analysis conducted by a number of travel agents as well as Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI) concluded that there will be more tourists coming to Bali on cruise ships, and therefore building a marina at Tanah Ampo is considered a strategic step.

To maintain continuous business pace, the marina investors will operate jetfoil for public transportation, which will keep the marina busy on the days when no cruise ship lands.

With regard to snake-skin fruit, Regent Geredeg informed that still this year an processing machine will be imported from Australia aling with proparing investor, appointing distributor, supervision mechanism, and distribution system of raw material.

Karangasem is also planning to have representative art market built to international standard which will also presents traditional art performances.

Regent Geredeg expressed his appreciation to his people for significant decrease in poverty, from 3,629 poor household down to 2,883. Selat has been showning significant increase in ecomomic activity. Among other indicators is increasing price of land up to 100 million rupiah per are (100 sqm). Still on poverty alleviation, he exposed that his administration has been working hard to push poverty level by at least 30% to the end of 2010. By procentage Karangasem recorded 16% of poverty decreasement, higher than national average of 15%.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Violation by Five-Star Hotel in East Bali

Another occurance of violation by five star hotel development in East Bali has just taken place. A five star hotel located at the district of Kubu, Karangasem, has been operating for one month without holding permits. With regard to presence of the mentioned hotel, the Regent of Karangasem, Wayan Geredeg admitted that the issue has been up to his attention. “It is a pity that local residents in the area have never reported presence of a violating hotel in the area, they tried to hide it instead”, Regent Geredeg said.

Furthermore he exposed that he has warned the German investor as well as the local partner involved in the business. To the question whether the hotel will be stopped and even demolished, Regent Geredeg said “We have warned them, and it seems like that the Provincial Governor of Bali has done the same”. Unfortunately he refused to inform any plan for further actions.

Presence of the hotel which violated the zoning plan of Tulamben tourism area hs actually reported by local residents when the regent paid a visit to Kubu to expose his development program. In response to the report, the administrative police (Satpol PP) of Karangasem has visited the hotel to meet the investor about three weeks ago. However they left the hotel after a while and there has been no legal enforcement attempt conducted ever since.

An employee who has been worked for the hotel since April 1st 2009 told the press that there are 80 locals and 6 expatriates working at the hotel. He further explained that the hotel does not have any paperworks except a pricipal approval from the national bureau investment coordination (BKPM). More than having no permits, the hotel also violates beach setback regulation as its building reaches the beachline. To protect itself from tidal wave the hotel built concrete cribs along the shoreline.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I'll be kicking around Alask in July, working on a forthcoming LPTV Roads Less Travelled program.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Visit Lombok - Sumbawa 2012

Governor of West Nusa Tenggara, Muhammad Zainul Majdi, said that Visit Lombok - Sumbawa 2012 will be taken as the momentum to boost Lombok to become wa world class tourism destination in 2012. “Our will is to make Lombok a world class tourism destination by 2012″, he said when he launched Visit Lombok - Sumbawa 2012 in Jakarta.

Visit Lombok - Sumbawa 2012 will be officially declared by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono whicn will be accompanied with various supporting events such as planting pearl seeds and 5th International Ecotourism Business Forum which will bring 25 sellers from across the country to meet 20 buyers from 11 countries including UK, Germany, UAE, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, India, Hong Kong, France, Japan, and Indonesia.

Governor Majdi said that as a province rich of marine resources and beautiful beaches, the leading products which will be offered is eco-tourism including pearl farming and marine adventures in addition to culture, art, and traditional handicraft such as pottery and hand woven fabrics. “We have 15 point of interests both on the beach and the hillside”, he added.

Furthermore he expressed his confidence that Visit Lombok - Sumbawa program can generate more foreign and domestic tourists and increase popularity of the two inslands as preferable holiday destinations. “The impact we expect is getting Lombok a well known destination after Bali. In another way, after Bali, Lombok there will be Lombok which is ready to welcome tourist visits”, he said.

As a holiday destination Lombok has all people may want, scattering from the soaring mountain into deep at the bottom of the sea. Lombok is very well prepared to welcome tourists. The govenrment keeps in pushing their efforts to increase service quality as well as facilities. Various accommodation facilities are avalable, from homestay to five star hotels, event Lombok villas. International airport is underway and will be ready for inauguration soon.

The Director General of Tourism Marketing, Sapta Nirwandar, said that pearl farming will become the icon of Lombok tourism. Therfore systematic promotion is needed, started by Visit Lombok - Sumbawa 2012. “In the future Lombok will become the center for production and sales of the finest pearls in the world, it will beat Japan and Spain”, he said. At the end the program is expected to bring more tourist in. Statistic recorded visits of 450,000 tourists in 2008, and the government targets 530,000 in 2009.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

President Opened the 31st Bali Arts Festival

Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, opened the 31st annual Bali Arts Festival on Saturday evening, June 13th 2009, by sounding “kulkul”, Balinese traditional way to call people for gathering, which then immediately followed by performance of colossal dance-drama titled “Bima Swarga”.

Like Bali Arts Festival (PKB) of previous years, the event was started by a parade involving all participants including delegates from every regencies and cities of Bali as well as those from other Indonesian provinces and other countries.

In his speech President Yudhoyono said that art and culture are part of nation's identity, and PKB which has been held for the 31st time expressed Balinese will to sustain it and therefore deserved appreciation. “Honelstly, from one year to another, we have been witnessing various attraction here which have always impressed me. I am impressed by the magnitude of Balinese cultural arts including continuously improved creativity. Every year I saw different scene, different creativity, and different moral and spiritual messages. It is absolutely impressive and well worth to be proud of”, he said.

President Yudhoyono further expected PKB to play its role to strengthen Bali's position as a center of tourism, center of culture, center of creativity, and bridge among different community across the globe. He underlined the fact that Bali was not only the pride of Balinese alone but also Indonesian. Bali was also adored by the whole world. Being the center of tourism activity attracting interest from the whole world, President Yudhoyono admitted that he had a significant hope on Bali to continue serving the leader and the center of tourism and creative economy, including the economy of Indonesian cultural products.

President Yudhoyono expressed is enthusiasim with the title of PKB this year “mulat sarire” which lierally meant return to identity for the glory of the nation and country. He believed that the theme held strong relevancy down to the root whilst expressed wide perspective related to values, cultural heritages, and nation's humanity.? Through the theme he expected to bring up views from two different perspective related to Indonesian national identity.

The first perspective related to official vision towards national identity. Indonesia had an identity as a nation with four basic consensuses to be fully implemented in daily life namely national ideology, constitution, natonal unity, and the concept of unity in diversity. Second perspective was history leading the nation into the way it appeared at the present time including heritages, ways of life, religions, culture, and a lot more, reflecting vast diversity requiring thorough understanding and acceptance.