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Bali Seeks US$243 Million in New Investments for 2010
Bali Looks for Investors to Build Roads and Power Plants.
The provincial government of Bali is seeking Rp. 2.29 trillion (US$243.6 million) in new investments for 2010. The ambitious target for the current year is nearly twice the Rp. 1.24 trillion target Bali set for new investments in 2009.
The chairman of the Bali Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM-Bali), Nyoman Surwirya Patra, told Beritabali.com that 80% of all investment in Bali for 2009 came from foreign investors.
Surwirya Patra said the government's desire is that 2010 will see an increase in infrastructure investment and energy generation which is environmentally friendly. Said Surwirya, 'We seek environmentally energy projects because we are seeking to make Bali 'green and clean.'
Seemingly at odds with the government's commitment to green development, Nyoman Surwirya told the press that the government is seeking investors to build a coal driven power generation plant at the port of Celukan Bawang, Buleleng, North Bali.
To address other infrastructure needs, BKPM-Bali is also seeking investors prepared to build new roadways and repair existing thoroughfares.
South Bali Leads the Way in War on Rabies
Vaccination and Elimination Continue as Bali Tries to Curb its Mounting Rabies Epidemic.
As Bali's human toll now exceeds more than 40 deaths in the continuing rabies epidemic, Radar Bali reports than more than 68,000 dogs have been eliminated since late 2009.
The head of the public relations and protocol department of Bali's provincial government , Ketut Teneng, confirmed that the elimination of dogs will continue. The dogs to be destroyed will be those showing indications of rabies, stray dogs and sick animals. The official count of dogs killed through March 18, 2010 has reached 68,868.
During the same period the government estimates that nearly half of Bali's canines have been vaccinated. Data from provincial authorities record 239,654 vaccinations against an estimated 447,966 dogs living on Bali.
The highest level of vaccination of local dog populations has taken place in the Badung regency where 96% of the dogs have been inoculated.
Government authorities feel that if all of Bali's remaining regencies and municipalities can emulated Badung's example then Bali can once again become free of the scourge of rabies by 2012.
2 Malaysians Arrested Trying to Smuggle Drugs into Bali Likely to Face Firing Squad.
Two Malaysians accused of acting as couriers trying to smuggle narcotics into Indonesia now face the very real possibility of death before a firing squad. Boo Guan Teik (46) and Chang Cheng Weng (39), who were apprehended by Custom's officials at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport with 2 kilograms of sabu-sabu (methamphetamine), have been formally charged by prosecutors with multiple drug crimes that carry a possible penalty of life in prison or death.
The two men who hail from Penang were arrested on January 20th after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong. Further investigation by officials revealed each man had one kilogram of narcotics taped to his torso.
Lawyers representing the two men insist the drugs did not belong to their clients who were "only" working as "mules" or couriers for a drug lord based in Hong Kong who had paid them each US$1,000 to deliver the drugs to a contact in Bali.
The attorney for the men told Beritabali.com that it would be fundamentally unfair to punish his clients with death when they were acting only in the capacity of couriers.
Australian Parliament Makes Donations for Bali Peace Park Tax Deductible.
Efforts by a group of concerned Australians to construct a "peace park" at the bombing site of a 2002 terrorist attack on a Bali night spot received a boost when the Australian parliament declared contributions towards securing the land and building the park are now tax deductible.
The former Sari Club was one of two nightclubs targeted by terrorists on October 12, 2002, that killed 202 people, 88 of whom were Australians.
The controversial park project is planned to include a small museum and meditative gardens.
The special tax status for contributions to the park have buoyed the spirits of the Bali Peace Park Association who has been bogged down in the past with internecine conflicts in trying to establish a permanent memorial in Bali to the bombing victims.
Singaporean Andrew Khoo Brings Decades of Hotel Experience to His Bali Appointment as Manager of Hard Rock Hotel Bali.
Hard Rock Hotel Bali have appointed Andrew Khoo as General Manager, effective March 8, 2010.
A Singaporean and graduate of the Ealing Hotel School in London, Khoo has worked in several leading UK Hotel chains occupying a number of front office and food & beverage positions before electing to return to his native Singapore.
In Singapore, he oversaw the re-branding of the Le Meridien to a Concorde Hotel for the HPL Group.
A veteran of 14 years with HPL's Hotel and Resort Division, the affable Khoo was appointed General Manager of the Hard Rock Pattaya in 2000, a position he held for eight years during which the property was named the "Best Hard Rock Hotel" by Hard Rock International.
The Hard Rock Hotel Bali is a 418-room property located along Bali's famous Kuta Beach front.
Heaven Knows, Anything Goes!
Bali's Governor Pastika Say Anti-Pornography Law Unenforceable in Many Areas of Indonesia.
The refusal by Indonesia's Constitutional Court to entertain challenges to the controversial 2008 Anti-pornography law has prompted Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika to reiterate his position that the national law is inapplicable in Bali.
Quoted in BeritaBali.com, Pastika said, "As my government has said in the past, if the law (anti-pornography) is not implemented, it is because it is opposed to the sociological and philosophical values (of Bali)."
The governor made his statement during a dialogue with a civic group that called at his office on Thursday, March 25, 2010, following the rejection of the judicial challenge to the anti-pornography by the Constitutional Court that included one dissenting judge's opinion. The civic group called on the governor to strengthen his opposition to the unpopular law.
Luh Anggreni, a women's and children's rights activist in Bali said: "The definition of pornography contained within the law is dangerous. It threatens many people with criminalization, particularly women and children."
The 2008 law broadly defines pornography. The law views as pornographic any picture, sketch, illustrations, photography, writing, voice, sound, motion picture, animation, cartoon, discussion, physical movement or other means of communication in any media or public presentation that is lewd, exploits sexuality or trespasses moral norms. The law also allows individual and groups to "self-define" what constitutes pornography and encourages vigilante enforcement against those perceived to be engaged in lewd activities.
Many outlying regions of Indonesian have roundly condemned the new law, seeing it as an effort to eliminate cultural diversity. Since its inception in 2006, the law has been the cause of numerous street demonstrations by groups opposed to the law.
Pastika added: "Bali is the Island of Peace. We also reject criminal pornography, but the new law is not in keeping with the Indonesia's diversified society."
Pastika said that he personally does not favor the production of vulgar souvenirs in Bali, such as the widely sold key chains made in the shape of a male phallus. He, however, has no issue with tasteful representation of the female form.
Illustrating his point to the press, Pastika explained: "I served for years in Irian Jaya and have no reaction seeing a ‘Koteka' (traditional penis gourd). It's just a matter of taste."
The governor said it would be an impossibility to implement the law in all regions of Indonesia. To do so would necessitate the closing down of television and the Internet which often carry information and images that might be considered pornographic. Because of this, said Pastika, "the law is useless."
Bali Needs Cell Replication
Government Weighs its Options to Address Severe Overcrowding at Bali's Kerobokan Prison.
Severe overcrowding at Bali's Kerobokan Prison will soon cause the Bureau of Prisons to relocate Bali's largest penitentiary.
According to Radar Bali, plans to shift Kerobokan to a new location were confirmed by the Director General of Prisons, Untung Sugiono, at a remission granting ceremony held at the Bali prison on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. Untung told the press that short term solutions to overcrowding being considered are relocating some of the sub-classes of prisoners held at Kerobokan to other areas. Such a move, however, would require extensive preliminary planning.
The Kerobokan prison was built to house 350 prisoners but currently accommodates 717 people comprised of 439 convicts and 278 being held for trial. Within the prison's community there are separate divisions for men, women, state prisoners and narcotic internees.
Untung revealed that some of the current inhabitants of the Kerobokan facility may eventually be split between two prisons located Mengwi and Bangli. Preliminary suggestions are for the female prisoners to be moved to Mengwi, while narcotic violators would be housed in a Bangli facility.
A private business party has approached the government proposing a build and swap deal, but a special team from the prisons bureau is reviewing costs and options to alleviate the severe overcrowding at Kerobokan.
The prisons bureau operates five penitentiaries and four detention centers in Bali.
Taxing Problem of Getting a Drink in Bali
Luxury Tax Removal and Excise Tax Increase Spell Higher Prices Ahead for Beer and Liquor in Bali.
A recent decision by the government to eliminate luxury taxes applied on imported alcoholic beverages raised momentary hopes that Indonesia's regime of very expensive wine and liquor prices might be coming to an end. Such expectations have, however, been dashed by the government's decision to introduce a 40% excise tax that could result in a 40% increase in the cost of enjoying a libation in Bali.
The luxury import tax being scrapped cost consumers between 40% and 150% of the declared value of the alcoholic beverage. A finance ministry decree only made public on days before its implementation will supplant the cost burden of the old luxury tax with an increased excise tax of between 100% and 214%. While the proof awaits in the actual implementation, the consensus is that the cost of alcoholic beverages will soon increase up to 40%.
The increase in tax, done with little public consultation, has precipitated an uproar of protest from the nation's alcoholic beverage producers, hotels, restaurants and national tourism sector.
Indonesia's beer brewers are estimating that their annual tax burden will increase by US$86 million, an amount to be apportioned to each glass of beer consumed. In practical term, the excise tax on a liter of beer will increase from Rp. 3,500 (US$0.37) to Rp. 11,000 (US$1.17).
The tax on a liter of locally made wine will increase from Rp. 10,000 (US$1.06) to Rp. 30,000 (US$3.19). Imported wine will incur a tax increase from Rp. 20,000 (US$2.12) to Rp. 40,000 (US$4.25).
Imported spirits with an alcohol content of more than 20% will see taxes increase from Rp.50,000 (US$5.40) to Rp. 130,000 (US$13.80) per liter.
While the new decrees officially states the increase in tax is intended to compensate for revenues the government will lose from the elimination of luxury tax, the higher rates to be imposed also suggest a desire to dissuade the consumption of alcohol through the application of a "sin tax."
Joining those protesting the higher tax regime is the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) who are calling for an urgent review the higher excise tax levels, alleging the higher taxes will cause irreparable harm to efforts to promote tourism. Representative from the countries meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition sector (MICE) are also concerned that alcohol beverage costs that are already the highest in the region will increase further making Indonesia non-competitive in the lucrative conference market.
Concerns have also been expressed that the high cost of alcohol will only serve to enlarge the already bustling black market in illegally imported alcohol into the country.
The Liberalization of Foreign Property Ownership in Bali
Indonesian Government Promises Liberalization of Foreign Property Rights, But Warns there Will be Restrictions.
The National Land Agency (Badan Pertanahan Nasional-BPN) is busily looking a number of possible revisions to the laws banning foreign ownership of property in Indonesia and what limitations should be put on place when, and if, foreigners are allowed ownership or long-term leases.
The chief of the BPN, Joyo Winoto, told Bisnis Indonesia that suggested revisions are now being considered by the government to the property law of 1996 governing ownership and occupancy of Indonesian properties by foreigners and the 1985 law on multiple residence dwellings.
The Minister for Housing, Suharso Monoarfa, is compiling revisions that would result in a single regulation addressing ownership of property by foreigners and access to financial instruments for their purchase.
Limitations on Foreign Ownership
Joyo is asking the government and the Minister of Housing to provide clear guidelines on what limitations should be imposed on foreigners owning property in Indonesia addressing issues such as lease terms, location, minimum price thresholds, building types and maximum periods of ownership.
Property developers in Indonesia are urging a liberalization of the property sector. Foreign residents in Indonesia are presently allowed to lease lands for 25 years with subsequent extensions possible for 25 and 20 years. Developers are asking the government to allow leaseholds of 70 years for foreign owners.
The Chairman of the Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI), F. Teguh Satria, says, "In other countries the right of ownership extends to 90 years making the Indonesian ownership option unattractive and in need of change." Teguh assured that REI is preparing a number of limitations on foreign ownership, including ownership access only for apartments or condominiums with a minimum price of US$100,000 per unit.
Echoing the need for control on foreign ownership, the Housing Minister Suharso, quoted by the Bali Post, said limitations were needed in a number of areas, including how financial instruments for the purchase of property would be structured for foreigners. He promised that any changes to the current law would offer more opportunities to property developers but, at the same time, would place some controls on foreign ownership.
Suharso confirmed that changes to the law were being intensively considered by his ministry. He hopes that a new draft regulation will be ready to place before the President in May. He cautioned that the implementation of any new regulation faces problems via an amendment process awaiting any regulation in the national legislature.
Man Who Insulted Bali's Hindu's on Facebook Could Go to Prison for Five Years.
Troubles continue to mount for Ibnu Rachal Farhansyah, the young man who posted inflammatory and defamatory statements against Balinese Hinduism on his Facebook account. [See: Silence is Often a Virtue]
Postings on the Bali Hindu high holy day of Nyepi likening the holiday to feces infuriated many Balinese, prompting on line calls for his execution and imprisonment.
The thousands of admonitions and threats that immediately followed Ibnu's misguided postings brought the young man to his senses who issued a plea for forgiveness on Facebook.
And while a number of Hindu leaders have urged acceptance of the young man's apology, calling for the public to remain calm, many insist the young man be punished for his religious blasphemy.
The Secretariat of the Forum for Religious Harmony (FKUB) - an organization comprised of religious leaders from all the religious communities found on Bali – have agreed to make a formal police complaint against Ibnu Rachal Farhansyah on behalf of the FKUB and the provincial office of religious affairs.
The charges of defamation, insult and religious blasphemy are punishable by five years imprisonment if the young man is found guilty.
Ibnu hails from Jakarta and is reported to have lived in Bali for four months where he is employed at a supermarket located near the Simpang Siur intersection. Efforts by the press to make contact with the man who stays near Sanur have been unsuccessful. The Facebooker has reportedly gone into hiding and de-activated his mobile telephone.
With the young man's photo posted on Facebook and personal details available from his employers, Bali police should have little problem bringing Ibnu in for questioning.
Elimination of 10% V.A.T. on Silver May Prove to be a Boost for Bali's Jewelry Makers.
The government is preparing to remove the value-added-tax (VAT) of 10% on silver as a means of helping to stimulate small and medium-sized handicraft producers.
The planned tax reduction was discussed in a meeting between silver craftsmen in the Gianyar regency and a representative of the Department of Trade and Industry, Leonard Siahaan. From the Directorate General of Small and Medium Sized Industries, Siahaan confirmed that the government is in the process of finalizing the tax exemption. "Hopefully, it will soon be ready so the tax savings can be quickly put in place," said Siahaan.
The tax relief is targeted to be in place by April 14, 2010, after which Bali's large silver-working handicraft sector will enjoy a 10% reduction in their basic production costs.
Bali's silver working industry is centered in the regency of Gianyar in the Sukawati communities of Singapadu and Celuk. According to data from the local department of trade and industry, there are 1,002 silver works in Gianyar employing 4,038 workers. The Ginayar regency generates 60-80% of Bali's exports.
On a recent tour of Gianyar handicraft producers, the Minister of Trade and Industry, M.S. Hidayat was impressed by the evident skills of the Balinese craftsmen, causing him to remark during a stop at a wood carving workshop: "If the skill of these carvers is combined with quality materials, such an industry can never die."
Hidayat promised to intensify the promotion of Bali's handicraft products in a number of overseas markets.
A Double Dili Daily
Merpati Preparing to Fly Twice Daily Between Bali and East Timor.
Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MZ) will soon increase the frequency of their flights between Bali and Dili, Timor Leste in anticipation of heightened competition on that route from another domestic carrier - Batavia Airline.
The director of operations for Merpati, Nikmatullah Rahmatullah Zaman, said the airline will soon increase flight frequencies between Bali and East Timor from once to twice daily, market conditions permitting. He said the recent entry of Batavia Air on the Denpasar to Dili route demonstrates growing demand for Dili as a destination. Merpati Airlines presently operates Boeing 737-300 aircraft on the route with an average load factor of between 70-80%.
Batavia Air has requested permission to serve the Bali to Dili route with final approval needed from Department of Civil Aviation in Timor Leste and the Indonesian government. Batavia Air have applied for permission to fly Airbus A319 aircraft to Timor Leste.
Safety Riding Takes a Back Seat in Bali
Bali Police Campaign for Greater Safety on Motorcycles Has Lost its Steam.
Efforts by the police to reduce the carnage on Bali's roadways via a system dubbed "safety riding" appears to be an idea that came and went with little impact on road safety.
Beritabali.com reports how the program was launched in late 2009 with much fanfare and the slogan "The People Love Safe Roads." Motorcycle clubs were recruited to travel in police-led convoys around the island in orderly parades and, day and night, with their headlights illuminated publicizing the campaign. Under threat of fines by police, Motorcycles riders were reminded that they were now required to always ride with their headlights "on" as a sign of their commitment to safer roads on the island.
And while police were initially active in the high-profile "safety riding program," pulling over motorcycles without headlights "on" and drivers who failed to wear helmets, the passage of time has dimmed, if not extinguished completely, any official support and enthusiasm for the program.
At the Surpati bypass near Jembrana in West Bali, police took the extra steps of installing loudspeakers to broadcast safety reminders to passing motor cyclists and installed banners in locations through the regency.
According to Beritabali.com, the people now pay little attention to safety guidelines, driving past the front of the Jembrana Police Headquarters with headlight off and heads unprotected by helmets. Sharing the public's lack of enthusiasm, the police also show little interest in enforcing the safety guidelines introduced with much fanfare just three months ago.
Dr. Professor I Nyoman Erawan, 1948-2010
Nyoman Erawan, Bali's Leading Economist Specializing in the Tourism Economy of the Island, dead at 62.
One of Bali's most distinguished economists and sons has died at age 62 after being hospitalized with dengue fever. Dr. Professor I Nyoman Erawan, a senior economic lecturer at Bali Udayana University died on Sunday morning, March 28, 2010, at the Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar where he had been hospitalized for the past five days.
Professor Erawan's remains lay in state at his home on Jalan Tekad Melangut Gang XII, No 2, Panjer, Denpasar. A cremation ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, April 1, 2010 at Setra Desa Adat Panjer.
A world recognized authority on Bali's tourism-based economy, Professor Erawan was a tireless voice in efforts to create economic systems that benefited the Balinese people and preserved the traditional agrarian nature of the island's culture.
Dedicated and hard-working, Erawan held a number of key academic positions including heading the economic faculty's post-graduate degree program.
Born in the North Bali village of Penataran, Buleleng in 1948, Erawan earned his Ph.D from Indonesia's prestigious Gadjah Mada University in 1987 with a thesis on the economic significance of tourist development in Bali.
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