Bali News 2015 week 2



A Day at the Bali Museum

Admission Prices for Bali Museum Increased on January 1, 2015


Effective January 1, 2015, the cost of admission to the Museum Bali in downtown Denpasar has increased as follows:


International Visitors

Price per adult Rp. 20,000

Price per child Rp. 10,000


Domestic Visitors

Price per adult Rp. 10,000

Price per child Rp. 5,000


Student Prices

Price per University Student Rp. 3,000

Price for other students Rp. 2,000


The Provincial Culture Service have also announced that while new admission tickets are being printed, the old tickets showing the old price but charged at the increased tariff will be used.



A Case of Owner’s Negligence?

Insurers of Crashed AirAsia Indonesia QZ8501 Examining if Coverage Invalidated by Unauthorized Flight Operations reports that the insurers holding the insurance policies for the AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 could potentially refuse to pay claims on behalf of the 162 dead passengers if it can be proven that the Airline was operating illegally when it crashed on a flight from Surabaya to Singapore.


The Technical and Foreign Director for PT Asuransi Jasa Indonesia (Jasindo), Syarifudin, told the press that his office would be reviewing the policies covering AirAsia Indonesia. If operating outside government permits is mentioned in the policy then the insurers would not be compelled to pay any claims.


“At this time we are unable to confirm if the violation of its flight permission are mentioned or not (in the policy). We must review the policies on Monday (January 5),” said Syarifudin.


Jasindo is the insurance company holding the risk policies, third party liability and passenger claims (aviation hull insurance) on the ill-fated AirAsia aircraft.


Jasindo has yet to estimate the potential claims in connection with the crash of QZ8501 pending the completion of the recovery exercise.


As reported by, the Director General of Civil Aviation issued a suspension of AirAsia Indonesia’s right to fly between Surabaya and Singapore on January 2, 2015 when it was discovered that QZ8501 crashed on a Sunday, a day of the week not authorized in AirAsia Indonesia’s route permit that only allowed flights between the two points on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.



Cloudy Skies in a Troubled Garden

Workers Protest Unfair and Illegal Treatment at Sky Garden in Kuta reports that tens of employees of PT ESC Urban Food Station – better known as the Sky Garden located in Kuta are complaining publicly about number of alleged undocumented foreigners employed in management positions and various violations of Indonesian labor law.


The workers visited the Badung Social and Manpower Office on Monday, January 5, 2015 at a meeting attended by employees of the Sky Garden; the head of the labor dispute and industrial relations section of  the Manpower office Made Gunarta; and management representatives of PT ESC Urban Food Station Erna Pingkan and Idris.


The coordinator of solidarity for employees of PT ESC Urban Food Station Flory True explained that the appeal to the Badung Manpower Office is the continuance of earlier meetings held with the Government to complain about foreign members in Sky Garden's management who have acted towards local employees in an arbitrary manner – including physically assaulting, summarily firing, cutting wage entitlements and not paying severance to terminated workers.


“We have come to seek our fate with the Department of Manpower. We desire that our rights are met by the management of PT ESC Urban Food Station,” said Flory.


Separately Flory explained that the “rights” being sought by the employees include a clarification on the status of all employees who have mostly worked for more than 5 years with the Sky Garden to determine if they are fixed employees or outsourced workers. Also being sought is the right to form a labor union and payment of the annual holiday bonuses guaranteed under law. The employees complain that their bonuses (THR) have been unilaterally cut by management without any reason cited and without prior consultation with the affected employees.


“We do not demand much beyond simply seeking that our rights as employees be honored in accordance with the law,” Flory said.


Separately, a spokesperson for the Solidarity Forum of PT ESC Urban Food Station Employees, Ferdian DH, explained that arbitrary attitude of management is demonstrated by physical assaults and the firing of employees without their severance pay. “Apparently, in the management structure of the company, Sean McAloney is only listed as a consultant and marketing advisor, however Sean is allowed to terminate employees and set all company policies. We are asking who is actually the general manager or owner of PT ESC Urban Food Station, because the Sky Garden has employed many foreigner workers whose documentation is not clear,” he said.


The Forum is enquiring about the extensive use of foreign workers originating from Australia, Canada and America who they allege has reached 45 people working in almost every possible position at the Sky Garden. The Forum also claims foreigners have been employed to act as guests in order to spy on behalf of McAloney.


In response, Erna Pingkan, a management representatives of the Company said only 7 foreigners were employed by PT ESC Urban Food Station who were all fully documented. An additional 10 foreigners are in the process of documentation. In total this means only 17 foreigners are employed at Sky Garden, with indications that the actual number is 45.


The Company has declared that they will meet the employees’ demands and pay THR bonuses in full, grant permanent employee status to employees who have worked at the company for more than 5 years, and allow a bipartite association to be established with 50% of the membership from workers and 50% from management.


The head of the Badung Manpower office, Ida Bagus Dirga, reminded that all foreigners working in Bali must hold complete immigration and manpower documentation before assuming any position.



The Lady’s Not for Striking

Kiwi Man Facing Long Prison Term for Striking His Girlfriend in Bali


The State News Agency Antara reports that a New Zealand Man, James Wackrow (40), is undergoing trial in a Denpasar, Bali Courtroom charged with assaulting his girlfriend, Lisa Christina.


The Public Prosecutor has told the panel of judges that Wackrow has been proven to have attacked and wounded Christina under Paragraph 351 Subsection1 of the criminal code (KUHP).


The attack reportedly took place on September 4, 2014 at midnight on Jalan Pantai Balangan in Jimbaran, South Kuta


Prior to the assault, Wackrow had been driving a motorcycle carrying Christina as a pillion passenger. Unable to control the motorcycle, Christina fell from the bike precipitating an argument between the two that led to the attack.


Striking the women with both his hands and a helmet, Christina sustained injuries to eye, left cheek and a broken nose that required treatment at the Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar.


The New Zealand man faces a maximum 32 months in prison if found guilty of the assault.



His Lips Were Moving

Minister of Tourism Promise of Free Visas for Five New Countries Fails to Materialize on January 1, 2015


Promises issued by Indonesia’s new Minister of Tourism promising visas free on arrival starting in January 2015 for the citizens of 5 countries –China, Russia, Australia, South Korea and Japan has failed to materialize, calling into question the veracity and bureaucratic prowess of the new man in charge of National Tourism.


As reported on Removing Obstacles to Tourism Growth , the minister made the pronouncement on free visas on November 5, 2014, insisting the step was needed to meet official goals for increased tourist flows and assuring that inter-agency agreement was in hand to allow the plan to go ahead.


Tourist from the five countries, however, arriving at Bali’s airport since January 1, 2015 have been met with shrugs of indifference from immigration officials telling tourists they had received no official notification of any change inexisting  visa policy that would allow them to extend visa-free status as announced by the Tourism Minister.


In response to many complaints from travel agents and travelers, the Director General of Immigration in Jakarta issued a statement on January 5, 2015, announcing that Presidential Instruction Number 43 of 2011 on visa policy remains unchanged and only 15 countries are eligible for “visa-free” status, namely: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Chili, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam, Ecuador, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar


While admitting there had been “suggestions” for the widening of the “visa-free” status to include the five additional countries, immigration authorities insist no new official order has been issued that would allow them to change the existing visa policy in effect at the end of 2014.



Cell Therapy for Drug Offenders

Much Needed New Prison to Open in Bangli, Bali in 2015 reports that a special penitentiary dedicated exclusively to housing narcotic offenders will open in Bangli, Bali in 2015, providing badly needed relief to Bali’s over-crowded Kerobokan prison.


“In the near future, the narcotic penitentiary will commence operations, reducing the over crowding at Kerobokan,” said the head of Prisons at the provincial office of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Nyoman Surya Putra on Monday, January 5, 2015.


The Kerobokan prison presently houses more than 900 inmates, well in excess of its design capacity of 323 prisoners. Surya Putra said that the new Bangli prison is in its final finishing stage and that, once completed, 250 narcotic offenders will be gradually moved to the new facility.


The Bangli prison has been designed to house 500 prisoners.


The Bangli prison stands on a site measuring 2 hectare located in the village of Tiga, in the Susut District of Bangli Regency.



An Abundance of Caution

Without Explaining Why, Australia and U.S. Issue Travel Warning Reminders to their Countrymen


Following closely on the heels of a warning from the U.S. Government for its citizen to exercise caution when using American branded hotels and banks in Surabaya, East Java – the Australia government is now warning its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia.


The Australian government on Monday, January 5, 2015, warned its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, “including Bali” because of a "high threat of terrorist attack."


The warning classification telling travelers to “exercise a high degree of caution” is essentially unchanged from the warning already in effect. The new caution does contain the additional information alluding to the earlier U.S. warning.


Like the U.S. warning, the Australian government did not specify what prompted the warning or the precise source of any threat.


It should be noted that stronger warnings to “reconsider your need to travel” or “do not travel” were not posted in the latest Australian announcement.


Both the Indonesian President and the Governor of Bali made public statements saying that the Country and Bali remains safe for travelers and saw little basis for a heightened state of alert, given the strong security safeguards already in place to protect visitors.



A Final Uphill Climb

Dutch Visitors Collapses and Dies on Cycling Outing in Bali’s Hills reports that a 64-year old Dutchman, Hendrikus Bernandus collapsed and died during a bicycle outing in the Bangli regency of Bali on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.


Cycling together with his wife, Anna Hendrika Elisabeth, Bernandus suddenly toppled from his bike, striking his head on the asphalt as he fell.


The couple staying in Ubud had set out on an extended bicycle tour from Tampaksiring to Kintamani. On Jalan Raya Temen, the man fell and reportedly died on the spot before he could be brought to a nearby health center for treatment.


Medical forensic experts at Bali’s Sanglah Hospital are endeavoring to identify the cause of the man’s collapse and subsequent death while awaiting instructions from his family on the final disposition of his remains.



Much Ado About Nothing

Bali Governor Sees Little Basis for and Minimum Effect from Latest Australian Travel Warnings


The State News Agency Antara quotes Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika as dismissing any negative impact on tourist arrivals due to the travel warning re-issued by the Australian Government for Bali


“I think there won’t be much (effect) because Bali for the Australians has become something of a second home. This is even more so in the current cold season – everyone comes here,’ explained the Governor.


At the same time, the Pastika, who once served as Bali’s Chief of Police, said he saw the latest announcement by the Australians as something of an overreaction, while acknowledging it remained the right of each nation to address the need of its citizens as it sees fit.


Admitting that a terrorist attack can happen anywhere and anytime, Pastika said that Bali had no major specific security or health issue at the moment.


The Governor took the opportunity to remind the people of Bali to remain consistently vigilant in safeguarding the security of the Island.


Pastika noted that in the past there has been a cycle of ups and downs in the severity of Australian travel warning for Bali, all with little impact on steadily growing tourist flows.


The Australians remain Bali’s largest source of foreign visitors.




As Those That Cannot See

International Council on Educational for the Visually Impaired in Bali September 28 –October 1, 2015


The International Council on Education for People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) will hold its international conference for those disabled by blindness in Bali.


Quoted by, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said: “Helping fellow members of society, particularly those among us with disabilities, forms a part of the 1945 National Constitution. What’s more is the attention that must be paid to those with disabilities who are numbered among the poor. It is our shared responsibility to help to ease the burden of the disabled.”


The Governor’s comments were made while receiving the chairman of the ICEVI, Sri Soedarsono, on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.


The Governor continued, saying that efforts to provide skill training to the disabled will improve their quality of life. Adding: “I hope that in the future, this conference will persuade the people of assist the provincial government to make the Bali Mandara program a success and disabled people will receive more attention and care, thereby improving their general welfare.”


The ICEVI Conference will take place September 28- October 1, 2015 with 400 delegates from across Asia expected to attend.


According to Sri Sudarsono, “This organization is humanitarian in nature. And, this conference wants to raise public awareness to ensure a wider acceptance of those with disabilities within society.”




Higher and Higher

Indonesian Minister of Transportation Taking Bold Steps to Enhance Aviation Safety, Even if it Means Fewer Flights


As reported by The Jakarta Globe, Indonesia’s new Minister of Transportation, Ignasius Jonan seems destined to make fundamental changes in the Indonesian Aviation Industry that he insists will result in safer skies.


Certain to have far-reaching impact, is Jonan’s plan to set minimum pricing levels for Indonesian domestic air carriers. The Transportation Minister views the low-cost fares offered on some domestic air routes as financially non-viable and contributing to poor safety standards found among some Indonesian carriers.


An advisor to the Minister, Hadi Djurad, said that low-cost airlines will no longer be allowed to sell at rates that are 40% less than full-service competitors on domestic sectors.


“In the future, [budget carriers] can no longer offer cheap tickets, like say Rp 50,000 [$3.93]. The limit will be set at 40 percent [of prices set by non-budget airlines],” Hadi told “We are still awaiting approval from the Ministry of Justice."


The Minister’s proposed change in how domestic airfares are structured is precipitating harsh criticism from airline operators and legislators who accuse Jonan of exceeding his authority.


While air operators argue that it is the proper role of the Transportation Ministry to regulate safety issues, with fee structures best left to the airline’s management and market forces.


One aviation expert, Gerry Soejatman, labeled the Minister’s decision “a blunder” and “irrelevant to flight safety.”


“Ticket prices don’t have anything to do with the flight safety at all,” said Soejatman. “If the government wants to improve [safety standards], they should conduct inspections to see if safety regulations are met."


Many air operators are laying the blame for any shortfalls in aviation safety on government officials who are lax in enforcing existing rules and regulations, and air traffic controllers and safety inspectors who perform at sub-standard levels.


Other have pointed out that the government intervention in airline pricing will adversely affect Indonesia’s fast-growing airline and tourism sector, arguing there is no definitive proof that full fare airlines are safer than low-cost airlines.



When Only the Best will Do

The Villas at AYANA Resort Reopened and Revitalized


The Villas at AYANA Resort has re-launched their 24 luxurious Ocean View Pool Villas following a complete renovation, designed to celebrate Balinese style and maximize the ocean and sunset views provided by its cliff-side setting.

bedroom Ocean View Pool Villas are among 78 spacious villas nestled on the cliff-top sanctuary, which were named the World’s Leading Island Villas at the World Travel Awards in November.


Guests enjoys a calming space of warm palettes and textures, hand-crafted artworks, plush bedding and decor, and the seamless indoor to outdoor living that reflects the island’s iconic style. The gardens are a hive of colors and fragrances leading to koi ponds, bridges and streams, and connecting with a jogging track to the private white-sand beach.

e have maintained the overall layout of the Ocean View Pool Villas as our guests told us they loved the views to the ocean, the large plunge pools, and the lush gardens which ensure privacy,” said Clive Edwards, general manager. “But we have completely changed the interiors including all furniture and fixtures, and significantly increased living spaces and natural lighting. The result is a cozy cocoon where guests feel at home surrounded by the spirit and hospitality of Bali.”


Following the renovation, the one-bedroom Ocean View Pool Villas feature:

15% increase in size of interior living area, as part of the total 298sqm of indoor and outdoor space including plunge pool.

New canopy-style beds with indigenous textiles and throw cushions.

50% larger marble bathroom designed around a hand-carved Roman-style bath centerpiece, with additional indoor-outdoor shower featuring an all-glass wall for natural light and garden views.

Completely new furniture and fixtures, drapery, hardware and other decor.

New indoor and outdoor furniture to enable more outdoor entertaining poolside, and a more comfortable in-Villa dining experience.

New lighting, air-conditioning system, and 55-inch HD-TVs in living room and bedroom.

Spacious walk-in wardrobe.

Landscaping of garden and pool terrace area.

The Villas at AYANA Resort also include 38 one-bedroom Cliff Pool Villas boasting a more modern minimalist design, as well as 10 two-bedroom villas and the incomparable three-bedroom AYANA Villa- arguably the island’s most exclusive escape for a wedding, honeymoon or private event.




Keeping Cancer on the Run in Bali

Four Seasons “Bali for Hope” Fun Run on Sunday, March 1, 2015 to Raise Funds for Cancer Care and Treatment in Bali


Bringing hope and inspiration for people in Bali who are battling cancer, Four Seasons Resorts Bali will again host Four Seasons “Bali Hope for Life”, on Sunday, March 1, 2015.


All are invited to take part in the 5-kilometer fun run, starting at 6:00 a.m. The route begins and finishes at the Lapangan Puputan Niti Mandala Renon, Denpasar. A celebratory party will follow the challenge, providing a light snack and live music.


This event will raise funds for cancer awareness and treatment in Bali. This year’s Bali Hope For Life event will support cancer care and treatment, working in cooperation with Yayasan Kanker Indonesia and Yayasan Kasih Anak Kanker Indonesia. Many Bali residents have benefited from past Bali Hope for Life events with free health seminars and cancer screenings, as well as counseling for families.


The Charity Run began in 1987 when Isadore Sharp, Founder and CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts made a corporate commitment to lead the charge against cancer. Since then, each year, there has been a run held at every Four Season Hotel & Resort around the world to raise funds for cancer research and finding cure.


All proceeds raised from Bali Hope For Life will be donated to Yayasan Kanker Indonesia and Yayasan Kasih Anak Kanker Indonesia.


Tickets for Four Seasons “Bali Hope for Life” are available at Rp 100,000 per person at either Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay or Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan.


For more information call Dewi Fadmawati at (0361) 701010.



Caged for Three Decades

Ketut Pujayasa - Balinese Crew on Holland American, Sentenced to More than 30 Years for Violent Sexual Assault on a Passenger


The Sun Sentinal (Florida, USA) reports that a U.S. Federal Judge has handed down a sentence of 30 years and 5 months to a 29-year old Balinese man, Ketut Pujayasa, who plead guilty to attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault on the Holland America cruise Ship Nieuw Amsterdam where he was employed when the attack took place on February 14, 2015.


At the sentencing  held on January 8, 2015, the Court heard how the woman awoke in her cabin to discover she was under violent attack by the Balinese room service attendant. In a struggle that lasted between 30 minutes and one-hour, Pujayasa beat, chocked, repeatedly struck and sexually abused the woman before screams from other passengers at the woman’s cabin door caused the man, now naked, to escape by climbing from balcony to balcony along the ship’s exterior.


Ketut Pujayasa who freely admitted the crime had initially told Persecutors that his attack was in retaliation to an incident that happened during breakfast service when the woman greeted his delivery of a breakfast tray by shouting: “Wait a minute, son of a bitch.”


Pujayasa said he considered the woman’s expletive as a grave insult to his mother, prompting him to use his passkey to extract revenge.


During the police investigation the woman said she had no recollection of the encounter or ever seeing Pujayasa prior to his attack.


In a statement form the woman read by federal prosecutors to the Judge, she said,” It is impossible to explain the terror I felt." She also said that the Balinese man "spoke not one word" and was deathly calm "not frantic or fumbling."


Continuing, she said, "It was me or him was all I could think."


Prosecutors said only the woman’s fitness acquired as a fitness instructor and the intervention of fellow passengers prevented the woman from being killed.


The presiding judge who sentenced Pujayasa was shown photographs and medical evidence that demonstrated the woman had suffered fractures to her spine, skull and face. The woman also suffered dislocation of her teeth and her face was covered with broken blood vessels resulting from repeated attempts at strangulation by Pujayasa.


The victim attended the sentencing hearing but did not speak at the hearing. The woman has suffered brain injuries that have left her impaired on a cognitive and intellectual level, possibly on a permanent basis. She is also diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and an obsessive-compulsive disorder that makes it impossible to leave her unattended for extended periods.


The victim’s statement before the court said: "He has changed the way I live forever. He took my dreams, he took my independence, he took my self-esteem."


They woman, accompanied by the mother, heard Pujayasa, speaking through an interpreter, addressed her at the sentencing, saying: "Thousands of sorrys will not be enough. You can stab me, you can kick me, you can break all my bones in my body … I'm only human. Please, I beg you to forgive me."


Pleading for a “reasonable sentence,” Pujayasa spoke to the Judge, saying, "I'm fully aware that whatever punishment goes to me will not ever pay for the mistake that I made.”


Pujayasa’s mother and his wife of nearly two years, were flown to Florida to attend the sentencing.


The Balinese man sobbed as his mother begged the victim and the courtroom to forgive and have mercy on her son. The man’s mother and wife, said that Pujayasa was a “simple, kind and gentle’ man whose violent attack was totally out of character.


Pujayasa had no criminal record prior to the attack.


Federal Public Defender Chantel Doakes assigned to defend the Balinese said that the case was the most difficult of her career, telling the court that Pujayasa accepted full responsibility for the attack and was nothing but remorseful.


The public defender also told the Court that Pujayasa came from an impoverished background in North Bali where he endured a "difficult and traumatic childhood" at the hands of a mentally disturbed, violent and physically abusive father.


"Many times Mr. Pujayasa's meals consisted mainly of boiled water and a little rice. Sometimes they ate rice that was discarded by other families in their village," Doakes said.


Reflecting his deep remorse, early in the judicial process Pujayasa entered a guilty plea to the charges effectively eliminating a longer trial process that might have allowed a plea bargain for a lesser sentence.


U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez, who handed down a sentence of 30 years and five months, ignored federal sentencing guidelines that recommend a punishment of 14.5 to 17.5 years in prison for Pujayasa. Justifying the severity of the penalty, Judge Martinez cited the extreme violence of the attack and the lasting injuries suffered by the victim.


Barring an appeal seeking a sentence reduction, Pujayasa can expect to spend at least nearly 25 years in prison before he is eligible for release.


During his imprisonment in the U.S. Federal Prison System he must undergo anger management and sex offender treatment. Upon release he will be registered as a sex offender and deported back to Indonesia.



An Eye for an Eye

Indonesia in Need of Eye Donors for Corneal Transplants


Indonesia suffers a severe lack of donor corneas for sight-saving cornea-transplant surgery.


As quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Dr. Tjahjono D. Gondhowiardjo, chairman of the College of Indonesian Ophthalmology, said on Thursday, January 8, 2015: "The status of cornea donorship in Bali is very sad. We are still dependent on corneas donated from abroad. The number of Indonesian donors compared to the total population is very small – we have around 25,000 registered. But these (the 25,000) cannot be used in the near future."


Dr. Gondhowiardjo said there was little interest among the people of Indonesia to donate their eye or a portion of their eyes after death.


“Overseas, people no longer register themselves as eye donors. Countries have made laws that every one is a donor at death unless he has specifically listed him or herself as a non-donor while alive,” he explained.


Tjahjono said damage to the cornea need medical treatment that can include transplantation of a new cornea.


The technique of cornea transplantation most commonly used is Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) in which the entire later of cornea is replaced with the cornea of a donor. Another method - Lamellar Kerastoplasy utilizes a partial transplant and exposes the patient to a lesser threat of rejection and has a quicker recovery time of only 3 days.


Bali Can be Beastly for the Balinese

Bali Governor Challenges Idyllic Depictions of Bali Amidst the Reality of Widespread Poverty and Ignorance


Bali governor Made Mangku has again publicly proclaimed that he is uncomfortable with pronouncements proclaiming Bali as a “heavenly island” or “The Island of Paradise.”


The Governor said that while many foreign visitors consider Bali as a “heaven” it is still an Island plagued by many problems, endured to a great extent, by Bali’s poor.


“I am embarrassed if Bali is called a ‘paradise,” said Pastika. Speaking in Denpasar on Thursday, January 8, 2015, the Governor said he could only label Bali as The Island of the Gods, The Island of Love, and The Island of Peace and Democracy.


The Governor’s reluctance to term Bali as a “paradise” is because poverty, ignorance, unemployment and homes unsuitable for human habitation still prevail in many parts of the Island.


Quoted by, Pastika said that a true home of the Gods is a place where everyone is happy, the air is cool, the necessities of life are available in abundance and we are served by angels. Pastika said, however, the situation in Bali was much the opposite, making it hard to his home a heavenly island.


The Governor revealed that the latest data suggests that at least 24,000 families in Bali live in dwelling unfit for human habitation.


A home repair program run by the provincial government has managed to build 10,000 suitable family dwelling through the end of 2014. As a result, there are still 12,000 families waiting for a better dwelling from the government.


Citing another example, Pastika complained that there are many school-aged children in need of and entitled to scholarships so they can continue their educations. “The allocation for education is substantial and equal to 20% of the provincial budget as stipulated by law. Nonetheless, there have been many mistakes and missteps meaning that there are still a great number of students who have not received a scholarship,” explained  the Governor.



Give on to God . . .

Seminar Examines if the Cost of Religious Observances are a Major Burden on Bali’s Poor


The chief of the Bali Statistics Bureau (BPS), Panasunan Siregar, says poverty is on the increase in Bali, suggesting at the same time that the cost of religious ceremonies may be one of the contributory causes to the Island’s lingering problem of poverty among the Balinese. reports that Siregar made his comments at a dialogue titled: “Do Religious Ceremonies Influence Poverty in Bali?" The seminar was held on Thursday, January 8, 2015 in the meeting hall of the Monument of the People’s Struggle in Renon and was sponsored by the Public Relations Division of the Provincial Government of Bali.


Panusunan Siregar told those in attendance that poverty levels have increases in Bali from 3.95% in September 2013 to 4.76% in September 2014. This increase, he contends, is within acceptable limits when the effects of relatively high inflation rates in Bali are factored in.


The head of the BPS for the Province said it is interesting to analyze the spending habits of the poor in Bali. In a survey conducted by BPS covering non-food expenditures the cost of religious ceremonies ranked second after the cost of housing. Expenditures for health and education received the smallest portion of a Balinese household’s budget.


This fact prompted Panusunan to ask Bali’s governor if Balinese religious could be simplified without detracting from their religious essence.


The chairman of the Bali-Indonesia Hindu Society (PHDI), Gusti Made Sudiana, told the meeting that there are no religious ceremonies that cause the Balinese to be poor. In fact, Sudiana said that on the contrary religious ceremonies indirectly enhance the income earned by Bali’s tourism sector.


Sudiana said, “Tourists come to Bali not only to see the Island’s natural beauty, but also to witness its unique traditions and culture that are showcased in our ceremonies.”


A Hindu spiritual leader Sri Mpu Jaya Prema Ananda said that the people have been advised on way to conserve cost in conducting religious rites, with the decision on whether or not to accept these cost-saving ideas left to the individual worshipper.


As a result, Empu said the possibility exists that the poor may suffer financial difficulties due to high cost of religious ceremonies.


At the close of the meeting, Governor Pastika emphasized that the BPS survey did not say that ceremonies cause poverty. “What we need to underline and pay attention to is the fact that the requirements for ceremonies occupied the second place in non-food expenditures for the poor,” he said.


He called on Balinese to allow their religious belief to be expressed in rituals and ceremonies while, at the same time, following religious teachings that demand assistance be given to the poor and sick.



Crystal Ball Gazing

Bali Lawmaker to Summon The Crystal on the Bay Hotel Project for its Illegal Occupation of Protected Mangrove Forest


The State News Agency Antara reports that the deputy-chairman of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), Wayan Tagel Arjana, confirms that the owners of The Crystal on the Bay hotel project will be summoned to the House to discuss the hotel’s alleged incursion into protected mangrove areas.


“We have prepared a summons for the owner of The Crystal Hotel. In the village of Bualu, Badung Regency, who are suspected of building on protected mangrove lands behind the hotel,” said Arjana on Friday, January 9, 2015.


The Legislator said that based on a surprise inspection carried out on Wednesday, January 7, 2015, the indications are that the project has infringed on zoning rule stipulating set back rules from protected mangroves.


“Clearly they have broken the rule, because the zoning rules for the province of Bali (RTRW) say the minimum set back from the mangrove’s edge is 100 meter. Moreover, (the project) occupied areas inside the mangrove,” said Arjana.


Tagel Arjana expressed his unhappiness that the regency government has apparently granted a building permit and other licenses without first checking the location that will be used for tourist accommodation.


The lawmaker said that such violations cannot be ignored. He demanded that the Badung government impose strong sanctions against the project. Violations of the law must stop, he said.


Arjana dismissed suggestion that a firm enforcement of the law will somehow deter investors from establishing businesses in Bali.


He called on the people to report buildings that violate the rules to the authorities so appropriate action can be taken.


Arjana asked the people of Bali not to accept promises of jobs and other facilities as compensation from investors who chose to violate zoning and building codes.


DenPost Reports


DenPost reports separately that the surprise inspection carried out at the building site of The Crystal on the Bay on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 discovered many infractions of zoning and building codes, including set back rules and requirements not to damage conservation areas.


The inspection group was led by Ketut Tama Tenaya, chairman of Commission I of the DPRD-Bali and representatives of the Environmental departments of both the Denpasar and Bali governments. The team found that the hotel project has infringed and illegally taken over portions of the mangrove conservation area and have undertaken dredging of the mangrove in order to widen the land area of the hotel to accommodate a swimming pool.


Tenaya said that the owner of the Hotel is claiming it had received permission from the surrounding community and local fisherman to "acquire" a portion of the mangrove for the Hotel's use. Meanwhile, a village organization vehemently rejects these claims from the Hotel's owners, saying any recommendations held by the project were forged and the signatures of local officials falsified.


Earlier, a visit by Commission I of the DPRD-Bali also discovered that the project did not hold a current and valid building permit and that the 6-story building was in flagrant violation of the maximum 15-meter height restriction for buildings in Bali.


Photo shown on of The Crystal on the Bay from DenPost.




Dotting “I’s” and Crossing “T’s”

Indonesian Government Suspends 60 Domestic Flights for Bad Paperwork


Following the embarrassing discovery that the ill-fated AirAsia Indonesia QZ8501 that crashed on December 28, 2104 while flying from Surabaya to Singapore was operating outside its authorized flight permit, the Indonesian Civil Aviation Department has undertake an urgent review of all domestic flight operations and discovered some 60  flights operated by four airlines operating outside assigned routes and authorized flight slots. quotes Indonesia’s Minister of Transportation, Ignasius Jonan at a press conference at his office on Friday, January 9. 2015, who estimates some 60 illegal flights have been uncovered by his team among 5 airlines:

Garuda – 4 flights

Lion Air – 35 flights

TransNusa – 18 flights

Susi Air – 3 flights

Flights operating frequencies without the required permits and licenses, like the AirAsia Indonesia flight from Surabaya to Singapore, have been “frozen” until application is made and approved by the respective airline to the Ministry.


“The penalty for violations is removing permission to fly (the subject route) and we are asking the affected airlines to make application as soon as possible,” said the Minister. The flash investigations that revealed the non-authorized flights was carried out by the Ministry of Transportation and the Criminal Division of the National Police (Bareskrim).


On-the-spot investigations were conducted at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Medan’s Kualanamu Airport, Surabaya’s Juanda Airport, Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport and Makassar’s Sultan Hasanuddin Airport. The snap investigations were also intended to reveal officials at the airport who are suspected of playing a role in violation of flight regulations.


Prior to the latest snap inspection, 7 officials from the Ministry and Airport Authority were transferred out of their current positions for administrative anomalies.


Among those moved out of their position and placed on temporary suspension:

Two positions at the Ministry of Transportation - the chief of Security and airworthiness in control of “slot –times” at the Surabaya Airport and the Principal Operational Inspector at the Ministry in charge of AirAsia Indonesia.

Three officials from Air Navigation – the general manger of Air Navigation in Surabaya, the manager fir air traffic services in Surabaya and the senior national manager for air traffic services.

Two officials from Angkasa Pura I- the department head for operations at the Surabaya Airport Authority and the section head for Apron Movement Control at the Surabaya Airport.

The reassignments were part of the follow-up investigations carried out in the days following the crash of AirAsia QA8501 on December 28, 2104.

Surabaya- Bali Flights


Denpasar Flights Affected


Among the flight “frozen” by the Ministry for insufficient paperwork are AirAsia Indonesia QZ620 and Lion Air JT 990 operating from Surabaya to Denpasar (Bali).



Extended Length of Stay

Lithuania Tourist Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison in Bali for Drug Offense.


A major narcotics case came to a conclusion when a sentences was handled down by the Denpasar District Court on Wednesday, January 7, 2105 to a Lithuanian well driller.


Lithuanian, Victoras Lisenkovas (41) was arrested at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport on August 11, 2014 carrying more than 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamines in his luggage off a flight from Hong Kong.


A panel of judges sentenced the Lithuanian to 15 years in prison and fined the man Rp. 6 billion (US$500,000), a penalty less than the 20 years and Rp. 10 billion sought by prosecutors.


The man said he will consider the sentence before deciding on whether or not to appeal his sentence.



Where There’s Will, There’s Good Food

Will Meyrick’s Hujan Locale Precipitates Good Eating Ahead for Ubud, Bali


ng of some of the “Mains” at Hujan Locale are no less enticing:

Hand rolled tagliatelle tossed with hand prepared chorizo duck egg parmesan truffle oil and Italian parsley

Crispy Sumatran duck with spiced cassava leaf curry ikan teri and lemon basil

Twice-cooked cumin-basted shoulder of lamb with quinoa salad cucumber yoghurt and roasted potatoes

Slow braised soy beef cheek with wasabi green pea risotto and snow pea shoots

Honey roasted pork hock with highland black pudding cauliflower pickles truffle bean puree and mustard pork jus

Roasted sea bass served with house smoked pork belly lentils spinach and a red wine sauce

Kashmiri-style roasted snapper wrapped in banana leaf with curry leaves garam masala tomato and green chili served with mint yoghurt

Southern Indian seafood curry with tomato chopped coriander home-smoked chili and saffron rouille

Crispy fish served with a sweet chili sauce coriander lime leaf and deep-fried basil

Menus change continually in response to seasonal availability the culinary whim of the chefs.


The ambient at Hujan Locale has something of an Old French Vietnam feel that is provincial, yet slightly urbanized. Look for walls adorned with modern linear art, botanical prints and recycled teak panels. A range of table sizes are available with a limited number of cozy banquettes clothed in mint chenille fabrics.


An outside smoking area on a second floor vestibule is available for those who need a nicotine recourse between courses.


Seating is limited across two floors, and, during my visit just two weeks after its late-December 2014 opening, Hujan Locale was booked out.


Open only for dinner, prior booking is best to avoid disappointment.


I also recommend bringing friends who like to share servings. But, be warned, bookings by more than 6 “food sharers” at a single table could result in food fights.



Ahoy! Bali

Bali Port of Benoa to Host 60 Cruise Ships in 2015


The State News Agency Antara reports that Bali is scheduled to welcome 60 cruise ships to the southernmost port of Benoa in 2015.


Ali Sodikin, the general manager of Pelindo III – the authority that manages the Port of Benoa, said: "This year, we will welcome 60 cruise ships. On January 1, a cruise ship named 'Sapphire Princess' with 2.6 thousand tourists arrived in Benoa. This is a positive indication for tourism in Bali."


"The tourists on board the cruise liners visit Bali and their numbers keep increasing from year to year. In 2013, there were 43 cruise ships, and their number increased to 50 in 2014. In 2015, their number is expected to increase further," Sodikin continued.


He stated that each cruise liner has more than a thousand tourists on board. Therefore, the estimated number of tourist arrivals to Benoa Port reached fifty thousand in 2014.


With as many as 1,000 passengers on each sailing, Sodikin estimated that 50,000 plus cruise ship passengers visited Bali in 2014.


"In addition to boarding cruise ships, the tourists also use yachts. So, the number of foreign tourists visiting Denpasar via the Benoa Port is more than fifty thousand," Ali added.



Free at 97

84-Year-Old Indonesian Man Sentenced to 13 Years Prison for Smuggling Methamphetamines Through Bali's Airport


NusaBali reports that a 84-year-old Indonesian man was sentenced to 13 years in prison and fined Rp. 6 billion (US$500,000) for attempting to smuggle 2.48 kilograms of methamphetamines through Bali's airport on Sunday, May 18, 2014, when he landed off a flight from Kuala Lumpur.


Sentenced by the court was Arsain Bin Anwar, originally from East Java, who has held various jobs as a expatriate worker in the region. Anwar told investigators he was only acting as a courier and had been paid the equivalent of US$62 to carry "a package" to Bali. The man thought the package contained items of clothing.


Customs officials say Anwar n acted suspiciously during the disembarkation process and searched his baggage, working on a tip-off that elderly gentleman might be carrying contraband.


The sentence handed down was less than that sought by State Prosecutors. The type of narcotic and the quantity allowed prosecutors the option of seeking the death penalty in the case.


With little to lose, the senior citizen told the judges he plans to appeal the decision and sentence handed down by the court.




Bali's Presidential Palace's on Shaky Ground

Tampaksiring Palace in Bali Being Sued for Unpaid Acquisition of Land in 1957


The iconic Presidential Palace at Tampaksiring in the Gianyar region of Bali is embroiled in a court case filed by the inheritors of the Tampaksiring Palace who claim they have never received the promised compensation for their land in 1957 when the Presidential Retreat was built.


The case is now undergoing mediation in the District Court of Gianyar.


According to information from The Bali Post, Indonesia's first President Soekarno "borrowed" a tract of land to form part of the Presidential Palace now standing in Tampaksiring. The land was originally occupied by a residence (palace) owned by the ancestors of those now seeking compensation. The original occupant of the house, Cok Made Oka, moved his home to Banjar Tegal Suci Tampaksiring to allow the Presidential palace to be built.


In the intervening 50 plus years a formal transfer land certification of the tract has not been undertaken. Land taxes on the land have continued to be paid in the name of the original owner and the survivors of Cok Made Oka have never been paid compensation for their ancestral land.


The suit filed against the Tampaksiring Palace, the State Secretariat and the Minister of Finance has been lodged by four survivors of the late Cok Made Oka: Cok Swama Putra, Cok Gede Putra Samaradana, Cok Raka Niti Smara and Cok Gde Agung Pawwirta.


The tract of land that forms the subject of the legal action forms 2.96 hectares of the total 18-hectares occupied by the Tampaksiring Palace.


An initial mediation-hearing schedule during the first week of January 2015 was postponed until January 21, 2015 when representatives of the State Secretariat and Minister of Finance failed to attend the first court session.


The plaintiffs in the case are seeking cash or replacement lands of equal value from the State.


In documents placed before the Court, damages in the amount of Rp. 88.8 billion for land value and another Rp. 2.2 billion in lost harvests are sought - that combined are roughly equivalent to US$7.6 million. In lieu of cash, the plaintiffs are prepared to accept a piece of equivalent value land measuring 4.4 hectares to cover the land and income lost.



Too Many Rooms

PHRI Calls for Government to Take Steps in the Face of Oversupply of Rooms in Bali, Jakarta and West Java


The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) has again suggested to the Government to put a temporary freeze or moratorium on permission to build new hotels in a number of areas in Indonesia suffering from an oversupply of hotel rooms.


Wiryanti Sukamdani, the chairman of the PHRI, recently told the press assembled outside the office of the Indonesian vice-president, “We have made our recommendation based on the fact that there are a number of areas with too many hotels, such as Bali, Makassar and West Java.”


Sukamdani’s comments were made following a meeting held with the vice-president and a number of board members of the PHRI to discuss the condition of the national hotel sector.


Recent policies to limit the number of government meetings at hotels has reduced hotel incomes across Indonesia. This situation prompted the PHRI to take concrete steps and request a moratorium on new hotels in selected areas from the government.


While hoping that the government might reconsider or, at least, loosen the restriction on government meetings in hotels, the PHRI also called on the vice-president to improve connectivity and accessibility to help boost tourism numbers. Equally important, according to PHRI, is the need for improved airports that will facilitate both domestic and international tourism arrivals.


PHRI is also asking the government to consider the injection of promotional funds to help promote tourism across the nation.


In response to the plea of PHRI, a spokesperson for the Vice-president’s office said the government will increase promotional spending for tourism from Rp. 250 billion to Rp. 1.2 trillion.


The spokesman also pledged that money saved by the government in reducing meetings at hotels will be diverted to addressing infrastructure issues, such as the upgrading of airport facilities.




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