Bali News Update Week 16.

Making Kid’s Play of a Green Earth
Bali Safari and Marine Park Host Bali Orphans to a Day of Fun and Education

Bali Safari and Marine Park celebrated Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 by entertaining a group of children from a local orphanage.

Adopting “green city” as a theme, the outing instiled on the children principles of environmental preservation and harmonious coexistence with nature.

The Earth Day celebration saw 40 children from Dharma Jati Orphanage in Denpasar, together with a group of local media representatives, welcomed to the Park. The happy group of kids participated in specially prepared educational activities intended to enrich their knowledge about the environment and endangered animals.

“Today we celebrate Earth Day with lots of funs eco activities for our guests to enjoy the park as part of our education program on environmental awareness,” said park ranger Ratna Kartika.

In keeping with the “green city” theme, the children were taught how to reuse and recycle plastic materials.

Making the most of their visit to the Bali Safari and Marine Park, the children were treated to a treasure hunt and an elephant encounter experience. The media members in attendance enjoyed a separate agenda covering a "behind the scenes" view of the park's collection of wild animals and a visit to the Safari Poo Paper Factory where elephant manure is converted into paper.

The day finished for both the media and the children with attendance at the theatrical spectacular of the Agung Show at the 1,200-seat Bali Theatre.

A Solemn Roll Call
Bali Remembers – Pan Am 812: An Island Remembers its Dead 40 Years On

A moving and memorable commemoration on the 40th anniversary of the crash of Pan American flight 812 was held on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at the Pan Am Memorial located in a quiet corner of Padang Galak in Sanur, Bali.

The event was held to honor the 107 souls from 10 nations who perished when a Boeing 707-321 crashed into the hills of north Bali near the village of Tinga Tinga.

Bali Remembers – Pan Am 812 was made possible through the generous support of its main financial sponsors Conrad Bali Resort assisted by BIMC Hospital and Siloam Hospitals. Additional sponsorship was provided by Vision 1, Bali Advertiser and Mr. Fixit Bali.

Bali Discovery Events provided production and management for the event.

Conrad Bali’s welcomed the opportunity to support the commemoration ceremony, continuing an affiliation started seven years ago when staff members of the Resort took it upon themselves to clean up the then-deteriorating monument and conduct regular clean up and ritual rites. The connection between Conrad Bali and Pan Am 812, in fact, dates back to the actual crash in which a Hilton corporate vice-president for food and beverage, Maurice Raymond, was numbered among the dead.

The highlights of the 40th anniversary commemoration of Bali Remembers Pan Am 812 that was attended by a broad cross section of the Bali community included:
Traditional offertory prayers offered by Guru Gede Alit Adnyana, the guardian of the Pan Am Memorial.
A moving rendition of “To Where You Are" performed by singing star Anton Mirzaputra. of the nationally renowned singing group "Jamaica Cafe."
Gamelan performance by Narwastu Art Community.
Choral selections by the Bali Community Choir directed by Brendan O'Donnell.
Prayers by representatives of the major religions practiced in Indonesia.
A musical recitation of the John Gillespie Magee’s poem “High Flight.”
The reading of the names of the 107 victims of Pan Am 812 by survivors in attendance and staff members of the Conrad Bali, led by the Resort’s general manager, Jéan-Sebastien Kling.
A memorable rendering of the Indonesian song written by Chriyse “Lilin-Lilin Kecil” (The Tiny Candles) by sung Ricky Pare and the Bali Community Choir as 107 candles were lit.
A tour for survivng family member to the burial site at Tinga Tinga was provided by Bali Discovery Events on the day prior to the ceremony.

Que Pasa, Senor Winasa?
Former Jembrana Regent Gede Winasa Now in a Bali Prison

After a protracted series of trials and appeals, the former regent of Jembrana is now behind bars in Bali serving a 2.5-year sentence for his corrupt involvement in the purchase of compost making machinery.

The State News Agency Antara reports that State Prosecutors took I Gede Winasa from his home in Mendoyo to their offices for 5 minutes of administrative paperwork before delivering the former regent to prison.

Prior to his fall from grace, Winasa served two terms as the “bupati” or regent of Jembrana.

Buoyant on his trip to prison, Winasa encouraged the media to come close to obtain better pictures of the start of his incarceration. “Come here, don’t be so far away. It’s O.K. Come closer so you can get good photos and can interview me,” said Winasa as he cajoled the press.

He took pains to explain to the press that he had not tried to evade capture in order to avoid being brought to prison. He also took issue with one news source who had accused him in the press of trying to use money and bribes to avoid imprisonment.

Tax Evaders in Paradise
Tax Office On the Trail of Foreigners Evading Tax Through Illegal Villa Operations

The director general of taxation has begun “sniffing out” illegal Bali villas owned by foreigners that are failing to pay taxes.

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, the director general of taxation for Bali, Sunarko, said in Kuta on Thursday, April 24, 2014, “We will work together with immigration to trace the ownership data on these villas.”

He went on to say that foreign villa owners avoid paying their tax obligations by transacting rental agreement offshore.

“Transactions between renters and villa owners are done outside of Indonesia online. Those renting these villas are mostly foreign tourists who often claim they are family or relatives of the villa owner,” Sunarko explained.

When tax officials visit the subject villas, he continued, security guards or gardeners  often meet them.

Sunarko declined to cite the number of illegal villas operating in Badung, but did add: “Usually these villas have no name, but always display a sign saying ‘for rent’ outside.”

He said that the taxes that are avoided are not only related to the rental fees but  date from the time of land acquisition, construction and the servicing of the villas when applicable taxes are also side-stepped.

Hotel and other accommodation providers in Bali are required to pay taxes. “In Bali there are 595 foreign investors in the tourism sector. Yet, not all of them have registered themselves as Bali taxpayers. Many are registered as tax payers in Jakarta,” said Sunarko.
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Meanwhile, the head of the counseling, service and public relations division of the Bali Tax office, Tubagus Djodi Rawayan Antawidjaja, said his office is not only looking at villas owned by foreigners, but also examining luxury vehicles based in Bali.

“We are surveying a number of luxury vehicles in Bali via their SPT (tax declarations). Are they listed in as the assets of the owners or not?” asked Tubagus.

He explained that the value-added tax on luxury goods is 35% from the purchase price from the time the vehicle was imported into Indonesia.

“But in Bali it appears that the actual ownership of many luxury vehicles needs to be investigated. Hopefully the taxpayers who own these cars are not from outside Bali. Because of this, we will check ownership against taxpayer's declarations (SPT)?

Parked in a Waiting Zone
Head of Bali Airport Parking Authority Could Face 22 Years in Prison for Corruption

Record-high prison sentences continue to be sought in the criminal proceeding connected to the corruption of parking fees at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

On Monday, April 14, 2014, public prosecutors, led by Romulus Halolongan. called for the former director of PT Penata Sarana Bali (PSB), Chris Wisnu Sridana, to be imprisoned for 17 years for his role in the corruption of Rp. 28 billion (US$2.43 million).

Prosecutors read their indictment of Sridana, citing his shareholding in PSB as further proof of his culpability in the crime causing losses to the State.

Prosecutors are also seeking a fine of Rp. 1 billon (US$87,000) that, if unpaid, will add 6 months to the sentence and preclude any sentence reductions for time served.

The State is also seeking the return of the Rp. 28 billion lost to corruption. If the defendant cannot return the stolen money prosecutors want an additional 5 years added to the prison term.

Said prosecutor Halolongan: “The Defendant is proven guilty and has failed to admit his crime. He has also enjoyed the fruits of his corrupt acts.”

The sentence demands, if agreed by the Court, would represent the harshest penalties ever handed down in a corruption case in Bali.

The next court session will see Sridana deliver his defense, via his attorneys.

Earlier Sridana had boasted before the court that his monthly income was Rp. 2 billion (US$174,000).

Little Enthusiasm for Bali’s Renovated Airport
Public Forum Present Numerous Complaints on Operation of Bali’s Revamped Airport

A public forum organized by the Bali Tourism Board on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 to discuss service and conditions at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport brought a shower of strong criticism from stakeholders in the Island’s tourism industry concerned with the many complaints about the airport received form the traveling public.

The meeting, attended also by representatives of the airport authority PT Angkasa Pura I, raised a number of concerns, including:
Leaking roofs inside the terminals.
The recent increase in the international passenger service charge to Rp. 200,000 and plans to soon increase the domestic passenger service charge to Rp. 75,000.
The inferior overall quality of facilities and services at Bali’s airport as compared to competing destinations in the region such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
The oftentimes brusque speech and offhand manner of security personnel at the airport, who need to be tutored in passengers relations skills.
Long delays and lines at immigration counters, both during the embarkation and disembarkation process, despite 24 total counters now in place.
The high cost of “fast immigration service” now sold to speed customers through the arrival process.
The overuse of the airport’s public address system instead of silent, screened announcements.
Poor quality and unclean public restrooms.
A lack of trolleys for luggage.
Poor money changer facilities.
Poor taxi service
The widespread presence of brochures from unlicensed and illegal travel operators and spas distributed at the airport.
The requirement to pay parking fees even when passengers are only being dropped off and no parking is involved.
The need for designated drop-off and pick-up zones.
Representing Angkasa Pura at the forum was the general manager for Bali, I Gustu Ngurah Ardita.

Ardits told the forum that he is listening to all complaints and feedback, pledging to take remedial steps to make the airport operate properly.

Quoted in the Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post), the chairman of the Indonesia Tourism Association (GIPI), said: “The physical renovation of the airport’s buildings and facilities must be followed by improvements to its passenger services. Passengers must feel comfortable and safe when they arrive at an airport. This will reflect the condition of any destination, especially for Bali as an international tourist destination.”

Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
Virgin Australia and Indonesian Police Declare In-flight Incident Involving 28-Year-Old Australian was a ‘Flight Emergency’ and Not a Hijacking.

Bali’s Chief of Police Inspector General Albertus Julius Benny Mokalu has told the press in Bali that no hijacking occurred on board an inbound Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane on Friday, April 25, 2014.

“There was no hijacking of the airplane,” said General Mokalu. He went on to explain that the incident that brought military and police rushing to a remote parking area of the airport where the Virgin aircraft was parked after landing in Bali, was caused when a 28-year-old Australian Matt Christopher Lockley became aggressive and tried to forced his way into the cockpit of the plane.

Confirming there was a disturbance on the aircraft, it was determined by airline and security elements after landing that no hijacking had occurred.

According to Bali’s top policeman, a man, acting strangely and presumed to be drunk, had tried to gain entry to the cockpit. The pilot, fearing that a hijacking was underway, sent a coded signal to Air Traffic Control that a hijack was underway.

Upon landing the aircraft was surrounded by elite troops who, upon entering the aircraft, took Lockley into custody for interrogation by Air Force and Police officials.

Separately, the 137 passengers and 7 crew on board the Boeing 737-800 were sequestered to obtain eyewitness reports of the incident in the air and to confirm that Lockley was traveling alone.

Virgin Airlines officials were quick to publicly declare that a "hijacking" had not occurred, classifying the incident as a “flight emergency” resulting from the disorderly passengers banging on the cockpit door when the plan was one hour out from landing in Bali.

Heri Sudjatmiko, the Airport Manager for Virgin Australia in Denpasar, told Metro TV: "There was a drunk passenger, intoxicated and aggressively behaved. He was trying to enter the cockpit, banging the door, but he did not enter the cockpit."

Crewmembers on the flight subdued the man by handcuffing him before the plane landed in Bali.

Meanwhile, police authorities have initially encountered difficulties interviewing the agitated Australian who flight attendants described as looking “paranoid” while on the plane. Blood samples have also been taken to determine what role, if any, drugs or alcohol had in the incident.

During the course of the flight emergency the airport was closed to incoming our outbound flights for several hours, causing a number of flights to be deferred.

Depending on the results of police investigation, the young Australian could potentially be charged with simple disorderly behavior on an airplane punishable by up to one year in prison. If, however, authorities consider his behavior endangered the safety of the flight or that the man is guilty of committing violence during the flight, he could serve between 5 and 15 years in prison.

Lady Drivers
Blue Bird Tax Declare Desire to Hire More Female Drivers

Indonesia’s largest taxi group Blue Bird Group Holding has expressed a desire to employ more female drivers.

Blue Bird operates taxis and other tourism services in 13 cities across Indonesia, including Bali, ranging from standard taxis, luxury transport, buses to hotels. Its current fleet is estimated to number nearly 29,000 vehicles.

The president director of Blue Bird, Nono S.A. Purnomo, told the press that of the 36,000 drivers employed by the company only around 100 are female.

Hoping to increase the number of ladies behind the wheel, Purnomo has made assurances that safety will remain the prime consideration for both Blue Bird’s passengers and drivers.

Purnomo said that a female driver could earn Rp. 4 million (US$350) per month.

Purnomo added: “Female taxi driver earn good wages and we never get complaints about their work because they are cautious. So we need more women drivers.”

Punishment to the Maksi
Mikhael Maksi Operational Manager of Bali Airport Parking Concession Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison

Mikhael Maksi, the operational manager of PT Penata Sarana Bali (PSB), who operated the parking concession at Bali’s airport, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the ongoing series of trials in connection with the corruption of Rp. 28 billion (US$2.43 million) in parking fees.

The sentence was handed down on Monday, April 21, 2014 in Denpasar.

The tribunal of judges in Denpasar also imposed a fine of Rp. 1 billion (US$87,000) that if unpaid will add four months to the sentence and preclude any sentence reductions for the native of Manggarai, East Nusa Tengggara.

Prosecutors had asked for a 14.5 years in prison of Maksi.

See Indonesia First
Government to Spend US$2.6 million on Promoting Domestic Tourism in 2014

The Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy has allocated Rp. 30 billion (US$2.6 million) to promote domestic tourism through the end of 2014.

Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, the director of promotion for domestic tourism, Tazbir, said the government has allocated Rp. 30 billion for domestic tourism promotion, aiming to increase the number of domestic tourism journeys in 2014 to 252 million trips.

Tazbir said the contribution of domestic tourism to the national economy was significant. In order to improve the performance of the domestic tourism sector the government is holding a number of regional festivals across Indonesia.

“This year there are more than 30 events including festivals held in the regions. This is our effort to hold a number of cultural festivals that will stimulate domestic travel, said Tazbir.

Bali Shows Strong Start to 2014
Bali by the Numbers: Bali Q1 2014 Arrivals Up14.87%

Foreign arrival figures for March 2014 recorded 280,047 – an increase of 14.5% month-on-month against March 2013 when Bali had 245,311 foreign visitors.

Arrivals for the first three months of the year (Q1) totaled 835,099 – an improvement of 14.87% over the same period one year before.

Projecting ahead to the end of 2014 and assuming the 14.87% rate of growth is sustained, Bali can expect to welcome 3.75 million foreign visitors in the current year.

Australia – After showing a flat performance through most of 2013, Australian arrivals to Bali have increased 15.67% during Q1 of 2014 as compared to the same period last year.
People’s Republic of China – Very strong growth is reported from the PRC market during the first three months, growing a dramatic 50.17% during Q1 2014. Close observation is warranted to se what, if any, effects the Malaysian Airline disaster will have on Chinese travel patterns.
Japan – After showing signs of significant recovery, Japanese arrivals are weakening, down 10.03% for Q1 2014 as compared to the first three months of 2013.
Singapore – Singapore travel to Bali is booming, up 48.72% for Q1 2014.
Russia – A troubled economy in Russia may explain in part the 14.17% decline in Russian arrival.
France – French arrivals showed double digit improvement in Q1, improving 14.35%.
Germany – German arrivals declined a concerning 8.84% in Q1.
India – remains of Bali’s strongest emerging markets improving 28.13% during the first three months of 2014.

Conquering Asia– One Restaurant at a Time
Will Meyrick Takes the Mama San Brand from Bali to Hong Kong

Bali celebrity chef Will Meyrick continues to spreads his culinary wings far and wide.

With three successful restaurants under his belt – the award-winning fine dining flagship Sarong, its younger sibling Mama San – both in Bali, and the more recently added E&O Jakarta in the Indonesian capital – Will is now commuting regularly to the "fragrant harbor" to open his fourth venture Mama San Hong Kong.

The glamorous sister to the famous Mama San Bali, the Mama San kitchen and bar is located in the heart of Hong Kong’s dining precinct at 46 Wyndham Street, Central.

Mama San Hong Kong opens in May 2014.

A self-proclaimed street food enthusiast, Will Meyrick has undertaken in-depth research of traditional recipes and culinary heritage during countless travels throughout Asia, collecting the spices, flavors and textures of the local food and cooking styles. Among the cooking persuasion absorbed and admired by Meyrick include Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Malay, Singaporean, Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese.

He has taken these culinary traditions and amalgamated them into his personal style that is now synonymous with his reputation as a street food chef. “Mama San illustrates a story of a madam of authority in an Asian gentlemen’s club, who takes care of her girls with affection,” Meyrick said.

“That’s pretty much how I see myself in keeping the authenticity of the cuisine culture in the restaurants I manage by learning from women all over the region, who are willing to pass on their knowledge,” he continued.

The new restaurant plans to adapt to Hong Kong and an adopt an ambiance reminiscent of edgy colonial times in Shanghai during the 1920s – all located in a purpose-designed industrial ceiling warehouse. Diners can gaze up to Mama San in all her glory or stare down at patrons dining and pondering over a travelogue of old photographs. Textile designer Justine Missen created the retro-inspired wall mural wallpaper at Mama San.

During his endeavors, the restaurateur, writer, entrepreneur, and judge on Top Chef Indonesia allies with his long term Thai “partner in crime” Palm Amatawet. "We've both fallen in love with travelling, finding authentic recipes and the story within a dish." Will explained. The two chefs actively scour the villages and street food stalls from India to Indonesia, Myanmar to Malaysia, Vietnam to Thailand. They are currently developing a further restaurant location in Bali that is due to open at the end of the year.

Not afraid to head into unchartered territory and learn "on the fly" as he goes, Will’s career has led him from London to Sydney and then throughout South East Asia. After successful periods with two of Sydney’s leading restaurants (Longrain and Jimmy Liks), Will succumbed to the charms of the small island of Bali.

Will Meyrick continues to explore the culinary landscape of Asia, taking inspiration from the unique food culture of each destination. You’ll find him at street stalls, in neighbourhood kitchens and backyards, at markets, getting off the beaten track to get to the heart of the dishes that move and shake him, tracking down the original recipes that are handed down through generations or reigning supreme at one of his popular eateries in Bali, Jakarta and, now, Hong Kong.

Shown on Balidiscovery.com are Palm Amatawet and Will Meyrick.

Bali’s Golden List
Conde Nast Traveler Includes Four Bali Luxury Hotels in it 2014 Gold List

The Conde Nast Traveler UK Gold List has published its listing of the best hotels, broken down country by country, based on a reader survey conducted among a readership comprised of the world’s most sophisticated trip-takers.

Here's the best hotels in Indonesia in named by Conde Nast Travele.  This year’s list has four outstanding Bali hotels shown withh the score received out of a possible score of 100.
St. Regis Bali Resort  – 91.5
Amandari Bali  -92.9
Four Seasons Bali at Sayan  - 96.4
Amankila, Bali  – 97.4

The Dirty Secret of Secret Beach
Tourism Minister Disgusted with Trash-Strewn Pandawa Beach in South Bali

Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu recently leveled criticism at the trash scattered near Pantai Pandawa in South Bali.

“I hope the trash scattered near and on Pandawa Beach can soon be cleaned up,” said the Minister during a working visit to the southern white sand beach sometimes called “secret beach.”

As reported by the State News Agency Antara, Minister Pangestu is showing pictures of the trash strewn beach to the press and other officials in her effort to prompt a clean up.

“We can't allow trash to continue to accumulate. This clearly ruins the natural view. Because of this, I ask the Badung regency to continually safeguard cleanliness at all tourism areas,” said Pangestu.

In response, the regent of Badung Anak Agung Gde Agung promised to send the regency's Parks and Public Hygiene Service to clean up the area. Agung also ordered that trash containers be put in place.

“I hope traditional community leaders will join the campaign for cleanliness, because tourists will not be interested in visiting tourist areas that are untidy and dirty. Let’s all work together to keep the area clean,” said Agung.

High Drama
Bali Police to Interview Virgin Australia VA 41 Crew

The Bali Police are planning to interview the entire crew of Virgin Australia VA-41 flying from Brisbane to Bali on Friday, April 25, 2014. That flight was met with an emergency military and police presence that took 28-year-old Australian Matt Christopher Lockley into custody after the man reportedly tried to gain entry to the cockpit.

Quoted by the spokesman of the Bali Police, Hery Wiyanto said on Saturday, April 26, 2014, “We will take statements from the aircraft’s crew to determine the actual situation while the flight was underway.”

Wiyanto said the criminal division would interview Captain Neil Thomas Cooper, Co-pilot Tyan Richard Stockwell and the rest of the plane’s crew.

The police say the additional statements are needed to supplement explanations obtained from Lockley who has been moved to a police hospital in Bali.

Blood and urine samples have been taken from Lockley.

It is not clear if the data voice from the cockpit was downloaded as part of the police evidence file.

The drama began on Friday, April 25, 2014 when Indonesian Air Traffic Controller received a coded communication from the airplane that an “unlawful interference” was underway shortly after 2:00 pm when the plane was still one hour out from Bali.

Police and military authorities were immediately informed triggering the dispatch of an armed security contingent trained for such situations.

Meanwhile, planes scheduled for take off were delayed while inbound air traffic was deferred alternate airports.

Garuda Says ‘No’ to Halim
Garuda Cancels Plan to Open Second Jakarta Hub at Halim Airport

The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation is re-opening opportunities for all Indonesian airlines that wish to operate from Jakarta’s second airport – Halim Perdanakusuma, following the withdrawal by the national carrier Garuda Indonesia from plans to fly from Jakarta's secondary airhub.

Bisnis.com quotes the director general of civil aviation Herry Bhakti S. Gumay who confirmed Garuda’s withdrawal from allocated flight slots at Halim on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

Bhakti said he had yet to receive formal written confirmation of Garuda’s withdrawal from plan to expand their operation to Jakarta’s second airport. But, based on discussions with Garuda’s CEO Emirsyah Satar, Garuda has affirmed alternative plans to transfer its 16 daily flight slots at Halim to their subsidiary Citilink.

Garuda has reportedly undertaken a study showing the use of the Halim flight slots would prove inefficient and require an investment in a number of infrastructure items. As a result, Garuda will instead focus its Jakarta operations on Soekarno-Hatta Airport - the primary air gateway of Jakarta.

On the heels of Garuda’s decision, 74 daily flight slots from Halim are now apparently up for grabs to all other airlines operating in Indonesia.

Do Ubud Bungalows Really Pollute Less?
Bali Legislator Wants Ban on Starred Hotels on Polluted Ayung River in Kedewatan

With Gianyar,, that includes the Bali city of Ubud, now seen as a "trending area" for hotel investment, some members of Provincial House of Representatives for Bali (DPRD-Bali) are calling for a halt to new starred hotel development in the areas surrounding Kedewatan.

The call for an end to starred hotel building in Kedewatan is being lead by DPRD-Bali Commission II member Wayan Tagel Arjana who says continued development in the area threatens the already delicate environs of the Ayung River

As reported by Metrobali.com, Arjana said: “Based on recent research conducted by the Ganesha Educational University (Undiksa), the Ayung River is polluted due to sewage produced by hotels and the heavy development of the area.” For this reason, he declares that the riverbanks of the Ayung that bisects the Kedewetan region is no longer suitable for starred hotel development.

No mention, however, was made of the large number of luxury boutique properties located in Kedewatan operating in grey areas with “pondok wisata” (Local Inns) licenses that by law allow no more than 5 rooms.

Arjana called on the government of Gianyar to curtail new starred hotel in Kedewatan allowing only bungalows to be opened as new accommodation venues.

Hoping for a Land Rush
Indonesian Property Business Continue to Lobby for a Change in Foreign Land Ownership Rules

The leadership council of Real Estate Indonesian (REI) is again planning to discuss with the government its desire to see a change in the rules for foreign property ownership in Indonesia, arguing such change is needed as Indonesia embarks on the ASEAN Free Trade Zone (2015).

Past efforts to liberalize property ownership rules to allow foreign land holdings have failed with the Indonesian Constitution Court declaring foreign land ownership is not allowed under the 1945 Constitution.

The chairman of the REI council, Eddy Hussy, told Bisnis Bali: “In this period, the discussion has not yet begun. We have long struggled (for a change). We will try again to fight for foreign ownership.”

Hussy hopes the government will make new regulations allowing foreign land ownership in order to provide access to what is believed to be a large new potential property market. He sees access for foreign property buyers as capable of generating large amounts of foreign exchange and stimulating new investment in Indonesia.

Underlining both the need and the opportunities of allowing foreign land ownership in Indonesia, according to Hussy, is the coming ASEAN Free Trade Agreement that will allow ASEAN citizens to work freely in any ASEAN neighbor. With ASEAN nationals able to work freely in Indonesia, he believes will also come a concomitant desire to own land in Indonesia.

Among the issues being discussed by REI is whether or not foreigners should pay higher transactional taxes (BPHTB) when acquiring property in Indonesia.

If foreign property ownership is allowed in Indonesia, REI says Jakarta, Bali and Batam would be large potential markets for foreign buyers.

Bali and Beyond Travel Fair 2014
Buyer Target Surpassed for Bali and Beyond Travel Fair 2014

The chairman of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), Ketut Arsana told Radar Bali (Jawa Post) the Bali and Beyond Travel Fair (BBTF) June 10-14, 2014 has exceeded its target of 300 buyers, registering 360 buyers to date.

This total is broken down further with 90 domestic buyers and 260 international buyers.

Representatives from ASEAN, Europe and Japan dominate the foreign buyers.

Ardana is hopeful that some 400 buyers will register before the event’s opening in June.

Meanwhile, 441 sellers have registered for BBTF 2014, but with many booths remaining unsold and still awailable.

Many of the sellers are registering as co-delegates sharing a booth.

A Most Taxing Situation
Bali Tax Office Asks Jakarta to Double Staff Numbers

The Bali office for the Directorate General of Taxation is asking Jakarta to double staffing levels in order to optimize tax collection on the island.

Bisnis.com reports that the head of the Investigation, Audit and Tax Collection office for Bali, Ipen Hardi, claims that a lack of qualified staff remains a major impediment in maximizing tax collections.

In Bali the number of tax auditors spread across eight tax offices is 100 people. Moreover, the number of investigators in Bali is limited to only 5 staff to handle cases emanating from an area with 579,273 registered taxpayers.

Hardi told Bisnis.com: “In Bali we only have 100 auditors. Ideally, we need 200 auditors and 10 investigators – twice what we have now. This is needed so we can conduct more orderly investigations.”

A moratorium of new tax employees since 2012 has been in place while at the same time the work load of the tax office has increased. At the same time, new divisions of have been created at the tax office requiring the shifting of tax officials from existing divisions that are already understaffed.

Indonesia has 31,000 tax officials serving a national population of 240 million with a resulting ration of one tax official for every 7,700 people. By comparison, Germany has a ratio of 1 tax official for every 727 residents; Australia 1:1,000; Japan 1:1,818.

Drunken Passengers Won’t be Boarded in Bali
Following ‘Unlawful Incident’ on Virgin Australia Flight, Security at Bali’s Airport to be Increased

The State News Agency Antara reports that the managers of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport are implementing steps to enhance security and supplement personnel following an “unlawful incident” initially reported as the hijacking on a Virgin Australia flight from Brisbane to Bali.

The co-general manager of PT Angkasa Pura I, I Gusti Ngurah Ardita, said on Sunday, April 27, 2014, “We will increase our vigilance in accordance with incremental steps to improve security.”

He said that as an anticipative step whenever security staff at Bali's airport encounter an intoxicated passenger or someone acting in an uncontrolled manner in the departure terminal, that passenger will be denied boarding.

“These people will not be allowed to depart without the permission of the airlines,” Ardita affirmed.

© Bali Discovery Tours. Articles may be quoted and reproduced if attributed to http://www.balidiscovery.com.

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