Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika is recommending that the people of Bali refrain from demonstrating as a means of expressing their political aspirations because his administration has already prepared a monthly open town meetings format for people to deliver their complaints and suggestions.
Quoted by the State News Agency Antara, Pastika said on Saturday, November 30, 2013: “It’s not that people are not allowed to protest; that is their human right as citizens and guaranteed to them under the national constitution. But it would be better if people used the channels already prepared for them."
The Governor said that if people feel the need to protest, it would be best if they undertook their protests when they were not attending another activity.
“It isn't as though the Governor doesn’t want to meet with protestors, when, in fact, I always make time available. In this way there is no reason that (protestors) can't meet with the governor and other officials,” said Pastika.
He went on to say that people using his regular open meeting sessions to deliver suggestions, ideas and criticism will get a faster response because of the attendance of the governor, deputy-governor and heads of various provincial department at these sessions.
Continuing his argument, the Governor said; “What’s more, these sessions are broadcast live by Radio Republik Indonesia and on a delayed basis by local television thereby ensuring that more people will be made aware than would happen if a small group demonstrates in from of the Governor’s office and the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali)."
Pastika also underlined that he has never tried to limit who can attend these open sessions held on the fourth Saturday-Sunday of each month.
The governor said he regretted that guards recently did not allow foreign tourists entrance to the open session merely because they were wearing shorts.
“Don’t let people be prevented from attending just because of their attire,” Pastika said.
From the governor’s viewpoint, as long as people are dressed respectfully they are entitled to come and directly discuss a problem at an open session. Adding, “And don’t make people come dressed in traditional costumes.”
The governor has held open town hall sessions with the public since September 2008, commencing from one month after Pastika was elected to office.
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