Custom's Service with Less Red Tape, Stiffer Penalties
Government Moves to Clean Up and Improve Efficiency in Custom's Office.
As part of the Government's pledge to create a more favorable investment climate through the reduction of red tape and corruption, the Indonesian House of Representatives recently ratified a new Customs Law.
Highlights of the new law, include:
• The eventual introduction of a fully computerized customs clearance system in accordance with agreements made by Indonesia under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
• Absolute time limits of 30 days imposed on the Custom's department for determining applicable duties payable on any import or export commodity.
• An absolute time limit of 60 days has been set in deciding any challenge filed by an importer or exporter regarding a duty rate or commodity classification for a specific shipment.
• Exemptions or lower duty tariffs for raw materials or capital goods required by companies classified as "pioneering enterprises."
• The provision of interest-free installment payments for exporters and importers in the payment of any duties due to the government.
• Export duties of up to 40% of value on selected items deemed essential to the domestic market in order to stabilize both supply and prices.
• Stiffer penalties for smugglers of up to 20 years in prison and fines of US$10.8 million.
• Punitive penalties adding 33% to the sentences for Custom's officials found guilty of involvement in smuggling activities.
• Payment incentives of 50% of any penalties imposed Courts or half of the value of seized commodities to those who assist the Government in preventing smuggling activities.
• Substantially enlarged investigative, audit and inspection authority for Custom's officials in the enforcement of export and import regulations.
Ferry Fees to Increase in November
Passengers and Vehicles at Ketapan-Gilmanuk and Padang Bai-Lembar Crossings to Pay 20% More from November 01, 2006.
Official ferry fees for sea transportation from Java and Lombok to Bali are set to increase 20% effective November 1, 2006.
The government's approval of the 20% increase in ferry fees is much less than the 76% increase sought by ferry operators to meet rapidly escalating operating costs.
Acknowledging the difficulty of meeting the rising costs of ferry operators on the one hand without, on the other, creating public unrest by introducing higher fares for inter-island passengers, Minister of Transportation Hatta Rajasa has not ruled out the possibility of a further hike beyond the November 20% increase if operators continue to suffer unsustainable losses.
Governor: Stop the Extortion at Pura Besakih
Governor Orders A Clean Up of COn Men and Extortionists Operating at Bali's Most Sacred Temple Site.
As recently reported in the Indonesian language Bali Post, Bali's Governor Dewa Made Beratha called on the Regent of Karangasem to put an end to the extortion being practiced against visitors to Bali's most sacred Mother temple of Besakih.
The Governor's comments were made during commemoration ceremonies for World Environment Day held at the Pura Besakih Wantilan on October 12, 2006.
The Governor told his listeners how, during a recent commercial flight, a stewardess complained bitterly of the extortion encountered by her family during a visit to Besakih. Repeating the comments made by the Stewardess, the Governor quoted, saying: "Mr. Governor, why were there individuals still practicing extortion when my and my family visited Besakih? The guide provided good commentary during the tour of the temple, but in the end we were extorted. When we entered we paid for a ticket and other charges at the locket, but the 'guide' demanded more money and would not accept the Rp. 50, 000 (approximately US$ 5.30) offered, but demanded hundred of thousands of Rupiah."
The Governor also told of complaints he had received regarding traders operating at Pura Besakih who, according to tourist visitors, were defrauding visitors purchasing local fruits, such as salak. The Governor called on Karangasem Regent I Wayan Geredeg to take definite action, warning: "Guides and traders are acting irresponsibly and must be brought into line. Don't allow small problems to create greater damage and hurt the image of the Besakih, giving Bali's most sacred temple a profane image."
The head of the Regency's Control Team for Besakih, Drs. I Wayan Gede Mustika, who is also the District Chief for Rendang, claimed that local traders were resisting efforts to bring order to the temple area. Recently his team made formal complaints against two unruly traders to local police officials.
Plan to Establish a MICE Directorate Seen by Some as Too Little, Too Late and Reflective of Lack of a Structured Plan for Tourism.
As reported on balidiscovery.com, Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, [Minister Wacik to Establish a Directorate of MICE ],recently announced his intention to establish MICE Directorate in order to promote and encourage inbound conference, convention and exhibition business Indonesia.
Following the announcement by the Minister, the Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesia Congress and Convention Association (INACCA), Ida Bagus Lolelc, said the Government’s plan to create a MICE Directorate was a good idea, although the timing was late. In comments made by Lolec to the Indonesian language Bali Post, Lolec suggested the proper timing for the new government department was following the first terrorist attack in 2002 in order to address the numerous travel warnings and advisories that have devastated Indonesia's international inbound MICE market.
Lolec hopes the soon-to-be-established MICE Directorate will establish a priority of tasks, giving emphasis to inter-departmental efforts with the National Police and the Minister of Political Affairs and Security (POLKAM) to coordinate an international lobbying effort to downgrade the current cautionary travel warnings and travel advisories.
Claiming that the Government has somehow assigned national tourism a secondary priority preventing serious discussion of tourism issues on a presidential cabinet level, Lolec urged that the proposed MICE Directorate must be in possession of a clearly defined short, medium and long-term vision and program for success.
The well-known MICE operator suggested the following action points should be included in the working plans of the new MICE Directorate :
Short Term Programs
• A coordinated lobbying effort to remove or reduce the current level of negative travel warnings and advisories.
• The assessment and inventorying of all MICE assets and supporting infrastructure in the 12 national destinations designated by the government as MICE destinations.
• The upgrading and training of human resources to create awareness of the potential and specific requirements of the MICE market segment.
• The effective marketing of Indonesia’s MICE products through accurate websites and well-maintained data bases.
Medium Term Programs
• Concrete funding supports for the MICE independent of the burdensome and time-consuming State Budget Process.
Long Term Programs
• Concrete programs that strive for sustainability in all Indonesian MICE and tourism destinations through the fostering of a sound national infrastructure, and the furthering of a peaceful and just society living in peace.
SIPCO Chairman's Comments
The Chairman of the Society of Indonesian Professional Conference Organizers (SIPCO), John Ketut Pantja, called on Minister Wacik to worry less on operational issues and, instead, focus on strategic areas connected with the MICE segment, such as preserving Garuda's international route structure and simplifying the process for obtaining a visa-on-arrival.
Pantja also called on the Government to ensure that MICE operators in Indonesia secure certification an maintain a Rp. 500 million (approximately US$ 53,200) bank guarantee.
Jro Gede Karang T. Suarshana
Meanwhile, the President Director of Suartur, Jro Gde Karang T. Suarshana, offered a dissenting opinion, telling the Bali Post that the establishment of a MICE Directorate at this time was an inefficient use of money at this point of time.
Insisting that sufficient expertise already exists within the current structure of the Department of Culture and Tourism to support MICE marketing. Suarshana suggested that the establishment of a new department at this time was a contra-productive use of limited resources.
Bali Tourism Board Under Attack
BTB's Lambasted for a Lack of Financial Transparency and Poor Communication with Bali Travel Stakeholders.
A series of articles in the Indonesian language Bali Post have cast the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) in a negative light, suggesting the private sector promotion initiative group is badly managed, unresponsive and guilty of malfeasance in how it is handling the Rp. 67 billion (approximately US$7.3 million) in funds allocated for the recovery of Bali's tourism industry,
The BTB's Supervisory Board (Badan Pengawas) charged with internal supervision of the organization's finances has reportedly sent two letters to the BTB outlining complaints of a lack of transparency in how fund are handled.
The BTB's Supervisory Board - drawn from the leadership of BTB's stakeholder organization and comprised of I Gusti Yudhara, Hadi Taryoto, John Ketut Pantja, I Gusti Agung Prana and Cok Putra are reported by the Bali Post are calling for a complete accounting of Bali tourism recovery funds from the BTB Chairman Bagus Sudibya.
Local press coverage has called into question Rp. 1 billion in funds (approximately US$106,400) supposedly allocated for the Bali Tourism Festival. Meanwhile, the Society of Indonesian Professional Conference Organizers (SIPCO) who claim they were appointed to run the Bali Tourism Festival claim thay they ave recived no funds and that the money has been diverted to a company owned by the BTB Chairman.
One Man Show
The Chairman of the Indonesian Water Sports Association (Gahawisri), Yos WK Amerta, has now joined the debate, telling the Bali Post that the BTB Chairman has been running a one-man show creating an atmosphere that does not encourage a dialogue with the tourism stakeholder organizations.
BTB In an exclusive interview with balidiscovery.com, Chairman Bagus Sudibya has repudiated the claims being leveled against the organization he leads questioning his style of management. ([See: An Interview with Bagus Sudibya
] ) insisting that participation and supervision of BTB’s operations is open to all members of the tourism stakeholder associations that comprise the grouping.
Bali Parliament to Summon BTB
In response to the public debate and growing controversy surrounding BTB the Chairman of Commission B of the Bali Parliament (BRRD Bali), Ir. Nengah Usdek Maharipa, has told the Bali Post that the Chairman of the organization and the Head of the Bali Tourism Office will soon be summoned to a hearing to examine the operations of BTB and the expenditure of recovery funds.
Meanwhile, the Chairman and Secretary of the BTB placed an advertisement in the local newspaper Tokoh listing BTB's achievements and defending their financial administration.
As reported on balidiscovery.com [Bali Tourism Board Under Attack], the Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) Bagus Sudibya has come under intense criticism in the local media surrounding the management of his organization and its financial accountability.
Through the kind coordination of BTB's Executive Director, Wiwin Suyasa, balidiscovery.com was able to obtain answers from BTB's Chairman, Bagus Sudibya, on some of the issues populating the current controversy.
THE INTERVIEW: Bagus Sudibya, Chairman -Bali Tourism Board
Balidiscovery.com:What's your initial feeling abut the torrent of criticism unleashed against you in the press over recent days?
Bagus Sudibya: . . .understandable.
Balidiscovery.com:You mean, it's true?
Bagus Sudibya: No, not at all.
Balidiscovery.com:If the allegations are untrue, why haven't you responded to the stories in the Bali Post?
Bagus Sudibya: We (BTB) are prioritizing our energy and effort on the action that would give Bali the greatest potential return.
Balidiscovery.com:Does this mean that the current polemic and the many negative allegations are not considered important by BTB?
Bagus Sudibya: (Joining the) polemic will not bring any good to anybody.
Balidiscovery.com:Regarding charges of corruption in how recovery funds are handled that allege your company - Nusa Dua Bali Convex (NDBC) was appointed to handle recovery events – what's your response?
Bagus Sudibya: It's not true.
Balidiscovery.com:But, excuse me, isn't it a fact that NDBC –was appointed to handle at least 7 separate BTB recovery events?
Bagus Sudibya: : Maybe, but I don't know exactly as I am not executing all activities of my Company. I am spending more of my time for BTB than on my own company.
Balidiscovery.com:So, is it correct to say that your company got appointed to handle many of these recovery events?
Bagus Sudibya: I don't know. We have over a hundred activities.
Balidiscovery.com:Why weren't the various stakeholders not actively involved in these programs?
Bagus Sudibya: I don't understand either.
Balidiscovery.com:You've been accused of having an "One Man Show" style of management. Is that a fair description?
Bagus Sudibya: Maybe they (those that say such things) are right, but it should not be like that.
Balidiscovery.com:So, are you admitting that you are an "one man show" type of chairman?
Bagus Sudibya: No, I am not saying that. But, do I have any other choice?
Balidiscovery.com:Are you saying that you get little or no support from the BTB stakeholders?
Bagus Sudibya: No ...they have been very supportive, in their own way. You may (want to) ask them how many times have they been to BTB's office and lent a hand?
Balidiscovery.com:Bali Post reports says that you have received two written letters asking for financial accountability from the BTB Supervisory Board and have not responded? Is this correct?
Bagus Sudibya: The first enquiry was answered via a meeting with stakeholders held at the Bendega (Editor: a local restaurant) in August. Please don't hold me responsible if people failed to attend.
Balidiscovery.com:What about the second letter?
Bagus Sudibya: That will be answered at a meeting scheduled for October 31, 2006, but now moved to November 1, 2006, at the request of Mr. Hengky from the Department of Culture and Tourism.
Balidiscovery.com:What do you want to say at that meeting?
Bagus Sudibya: First, the person authorized to use the recovery funds (pejabat pengguna anggaran) is Mr. Thamrin Bachri, the Director General of Tourism. Second, the person authorized to commit recovery funds (pejabat pembuat komitmen), is Mr. Hengky, the Secretary of the Director General of Tourism. Third, BTB is in a position to facilitate the whole process and ensure that programs will benefit Bali's recovery. Fourthly, BTB will facilitate anyone who wants to know about the usage of the funds and will provide contacts at the Ministry in order to obtain a better and clearer picture.
Balidiscovery.com: When will the recovery funds be released?
Bagus Sudibya: Some of the funds have been released already. If documents and (the required) reports are done, the remaining funds could be immediately processed and released.
Balidiscovery.com: Some event organizers and stakeholders are complaining that no fund have been released. Is this correct?
Bagus Sudibya: Well, it might be that they haven't completed the necessary reports and documents.
Balidiscovery.com:What can be done to end the current atmosphere of extreme negativity?
Bagus Sudibya: Negative statements in the media help nobody. Therefore, lets us work in a positive manner. We have our promotional tag line ready to be launched. Let's show the world that Bali is entitled to their holiday visit and worthy of their admiration as a leading world tourism destination.
Bali by the Numbers – balidiscovery.com Looks at Arrivals through September 2006 from Bali's Major Overseas Market.
As reported on balidiscovery.com [A September Song], Bali arrivals through the end of the third quarter are down -21.92% when compared to the same period in 2005. Despite official assurance that “business is back to normal” there’s little evidence that the gap in business is narrowing with September 2006 arrivals month-on-month with September 2005 down -27%.
This installment of "Bali by the Numbers" graphically presents an overview of arrivals for January-September 2000-2006 from the following source markets:
• Total Foreign Arrivals – showing the seasonality
of January–September arrivals has been maintained,
albeit on a reduced level from 2004 and 2005,
but somewhat higher than 2003 which was another
"terrorist affected" year.
• Japanese Arrivals – September 2006 arrivals
from the Japanese market are down -32.26 % from
• Australian Arrivals – September month-on-month arrivals continue to occupy basement territories, down -55.05%. Perhaps most noteworthy, Australian arrivals are singular in operating at figures below arrivals in the post bombing year of 2003.
• Taiwanese Arrivals – Early signs of a possible
weakening in Taiwanese arrivals may be contained
in September arrivals, down -35.94 as compared
to the same month last year.
•South Korean Arrivals – One of the few bright spots is the significant growth over the last 6 years from the South Korean market, up +1.58% month-on-month in September 2006.
Birds – An
Exhibition by Carola Booges
A Multi-Media Exhibition by Dutch Sculptor Carola Booges at The Ganesha Gallery November 7 – December 1, 2006.
Ganesha Gallery's third exhibit of works by multi-talented Dutch sculptor, Carola Vooges, marks her digression into monumental free-standing sculptures.
The aesthetic pieces herald Vooges's expressive and conceptual intentions of extending a subject matter linked with immortality, high virtue and grace and a form that is sacred and manifest in myth, beyond its usual structure.
Through the shrewd use of an array of visual mediums including wood, chosen for color and pattern, a fragment of wave polished shell or a miniature seed pod as well as light and shade, Vooges coerces interaction with her art. Using scale, texture and material, she subtly detaches forms from their natural world beginnings and alchemically transforms them into zoological and anthropomorphic creations.
The sequential nuance of man made plumage and talon design elements throughout the exhibit evoke diverging responses to her visual forms. Juxtaposing reflective imagery and thought, her works include the provocative jagged beak-like tops of her totem-like bird series whilst other pieces draw on sensuous surfaces and curves to mirror her personal quest for a sense of balance against the backdrop of a complex world.
Indulge in a restful moment of sculptural commentary. Pause, examine and react to the visually aesthetic and expressive narrative of her pliant technique of manipulating conventionality . . . you won't be disappointed.
At the Ganesha Gallery at The Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay, daily from November 7 – December 1, 2006.
Gallery open from 10:00 a.m. until 6: 00 p.m..
with Adam Gyorgy
Famed Pianist to Perform in Bali Charity Recital on Saturday, November 11, 2006.
Although only 24 years old, Hungary piano virtuoso Adam Gyorgy can rightfully claim to be a performance veteran. Discovering the keyboard when he was only 4, Adam was only 16 when he won the National Youth Piano Competition in 1998 and 18 when he was named "Pianist of the Year 2000" in his native Hungary. An active and much-in-demand performer, he won 2nd prize at the Trieste Piano Competition for his interpretation of Haydn and a special prize at the San Remo International Piano Competition in 2003. A year later, he swept the First, Grand and Special prizes at The First International Chopin Piano Competition in Budapest.
Likened by many critics to Liszt for the virtuosity of his performances, the physical structure of his hands, and his tremendous interpretive sensibility - Adam Gyorgy is one of today's "rising stars" in classical music performance.
One Night Only in Bali
This Steinway Artists - a title acknowledging his leading position among classical pianists – will be visiting Bali for a single evening's solo recital on Saturday, November 11, 2006 at the Auditorium of the Bali International Conference Center (BICC) at the Westin Resort Bali, Nusa Dua.
Proceeds from this special charity concert will go to the Yayasan Senyum and the Bali International Women’s Association (BIWA) support for surgeries to correct cranial facial deformities and injuries. The performance commences at 6:00 p.m. with tickets priced at:
• VVIP – Rp. 780,000
• VIP Rp. 500,000
• Gold Rp. 300,000
Tickets and Information
For tickets and more information contact the following numbers:
Adam Gyorgy will be conducting a "Master Class" on Sunday, November 12, 2006 at the Frangipani Room of the BIIC from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m..
of the Kitchen
Winners Announced of the 10th Annual MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge.
An international event that traces its roots of ten years back to Bali, the MLA Black Box Challenge celebrated it's first decade in style with a Gala "cook-off" between Bali's leading young chefs at the Nikko Bali Resort and Spa on Thursday, October 26, 2007.
Unique in its concept and execution, the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) competition presents teams of young chefs with "black boxes" containing select ingredients and then gives the teams 24 hours to devise a three-course menu for 20 people demonstrating creativity and originality in the use of the ingredients. This year's black box contained a range of fine products including salmon fillets from Norway, beef and lamb products from Australia, and fine cheeses.
Each participant in a cooking team had to be a local young professional with a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years kitchen experience. In all, some 50 young Indonesian chefs from the island's hotels and restaurants worked feverishly to dazzle the more than 300 sophisticated guests who attended the event. An international panel of top chefs flew in to serve as judges and select which team would win the right to represent Bali in a national final against the Jakarta Black Box winner and represent Indonesia at the International MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge to be held in 2007.
The winners of the Bali MLA Black Box Challenge were:
• Winner: The Bulgari Resort
• First Runner Up: Four Seasons Resort
• Second Runner Up: Nikko Bali Resort & Spa
• Best Soup Course: Nikko Bali Resort & Spa
• Best Fish Course: Bulgari Resort
• Best Main Course: The Four Seasons Resort
• Best Dessert Course: Le Meridien Nirwana Gold Resort & Spa
American Endurance Swimmer Monte Monfore Crosses Bali's Batur Crater Lake as Part of UN Fight Against Poverty.
On October 16, 2006, Bali-based world-record ocean swimmer Monte Monfore made the first-ever-recorded swim across Bali's holy Lake Batur. "The Bali Swim for Peace Against Poverty" was held in support of two major events: Dewa Sraya - a Bali Hindu ceremony conducted at Pura Tuluk Biyu Temple overlooking the mountain lake, and the United Nations Stand Up Campaign.
The epic swim, in Bali's mountain-lake district, crossed the crater lake of Batur situated at a height of 1,050 meters above sea level, a site considered sacred by the Balinese. After first seeking formal permission to conduct the swim, the 45-year-old Californian received a blessing from a Hindu priest at the lakeside Pura Jati temple.
Monte's swim connected the two holiest locations on the lake: the isolated village of Trunyan nestled under the eastern rim of the crater wall, and Toyabungkah at the foot of Mount Batur a still active volcano. In a pre-swim announcement the endurance athlete dedicated his swim to "the beautiful Balinese people."
United Nation's Stand Up Campaign
Part of Monfore's continuing series of endurance swims in support of the United Nation's Stand Up Campaign, the American joined more than 23 million people worldwide and more than 300,000 in Indonesia who undertook community-based rallies and activities on October 15 and 16, 2006 as part of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. The official goals of the campaign are:
• Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
• Achieve universal primary education
• Promote gender equality and empower women
• Reduce child mortality
• Improve maternal health
• Combat HIV/AID, malaria and other diseases
• Ensure environmental sustainability
• Develop a global partnership for development
Monte and Ketut Putranata, a local community leader, recited the Stand Up Pledge together with 30 children and ten adults. The swimmer and participants - from boatmen and children to gamelan musicians and priests, all wore white wrist bands as a symbol of their shared commitment to the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.
Entering the water at 3:40 p.m. the swimmer was accompanied by a small boat decorated with Balinese ceremonial offerings and carrying local Hindu priests, community leaders, and a gamelan bronze-gong orchestra which performed continuously throughout the swim. Fighting high winds and the frigid mountain water Monte made the three kilometer crossing in just under one hour (58 minutes 25 seconds).
The crossing took place just prior to the conclusion of the nineteen-day Dewa Sraya Purification Ritual at Pura Tuluk Biyu Temple in Kintamani. Held only once every five years, the Dewa Sraya Ceremony this year attracted thousands of devotees from across the island, who prayed for the restoration of balance and harmony in Bali and the entire world.
In Love with his Adopted Home
Speaking after the epic swim, Monte waxed eloquently on the many virtues of his adopted home, saying: "Bali is no longer only a place of transience for surfers and holiday makers. It has evolved into a place of substance. More than 20,000 foreigners live here. Many,like me, are planting roots and intending to spend the rest of their lives on the Island of the Gods."
Urging the world to continue to visit its favorite island, Monte added: "Bali is one of the most spectacular places on the planet. It has one of the richest cultures and most beautiful people in the world. This place is a tropical paradise with incredible scenery, fantastic beaches, and great surf. There's a reason readers of international travel magazines continually vote Bali the most beautiful island in the world and I encourage everyone to visit this magical place."
A Bali resident since 2004, the marathon swimmer holds numerous channel crossing records throughout the region. The Batur swim was Monfore's third UN-related event in six months. Earlier this year he participated in two World Food Program efforts. In May, as part of the worldwide Walk the World/Fight Hunger Campaign, the athlete swam a double crossing of the four-kilometer Bali Strait. In June, following the devastating earthquake in central Java, Monfore’s 12.5-kilometer Yogyakarta Earthquake Relief Swim raised awareness and support for victims and publicized WFP emergency relief efforts.
Inspector General Paulus Purwoko to take over as Bali's Top Cop.
After serving only a 10-month assignment as Bali's top policeman, Inspector General Sunarko Danu Ardanto has been reassigned to a new posting as Chief of Police for West Java, effective November 1, 2006.
Part of a mutation of 26 ranking police officers nation-wide, Sunarko's sudden transfer is claimed by national police headquarters as a normal rotation in assignments.
Sunarko, who came to Bali after serving as head of public relations and national spokesman for the police at national headquarters, will be replaced in Bali by Inspector General Paulus Purwoko who will be following the same career path as Sunarko, leaving his current post as head of public relations for the Indonesian police.
Sunarko, with his assignment to West Java, will be replacing Inspector General Paiman, the outgoing Chief of Police in that locale who has attained official retirement age.
Prior to his last posting as the head of the public relations division for the Indonesian police, Bali's newly appointed Chief of Police Paulus Purwoko served as the Director of the Semarang Police Academy serving simultaneously as the Director for the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC).
The links below provide access to the graphical version of the Bali Update.