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Businesses, Hotels and Restaurants Call for Reduction in 300% Tax on Imported Food and Drink.
Both Tempo Interactive and the Jakarta Post quote Indonesian hotel and restaurant business people as calling on the government to urgently reduce the 300% luxury tax now being imposed on liquor. Calling for at least a 50% reduction in the current tax tariff, Carla Parengkuan, Executive Director of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), said, “the current tax, which is 300 percent, is too high, so liquor is very costly.” Parengkuan blames high liquor prices as causing distributors to place small orders for sales stocks, a factor that has reduced supply and prompted the already high prices to increase even further. There is little doubt, according to the PHRI executive that the high cost of liquor is costing Indonesia tourism traffic. Also concerning, she said, is the presumption that the onerous customs duties now being sought for liquor virtually guarantee that smuggling will increase over time. A Jakarta Post report said that the Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants Association (PHRI), the Indonesian Retail Business Association (Aprindo), and the Indonesian Modern Market Supplier Association (AP3MI) are forming a single chorus complaining that new custom rules which they believe the new rules is impacting badly on their businesses. The sudden dramatic increase in the cost of luxcury goods will also mean that wealthy Indonesians and expatriates will do their shopping abraod, reducing much-needed local spending. Hotels and rtestaurants that rely on imported goods to maintain high stands of food and beverage are complaining that not only price are much higher, but availability is becoming an increasing problem. Moreover, crucial cooking ingredients used in relatively small quantities are in short supply as importers see no profit in undertaking the complicated and costly import permits procedure. One PHRI official pointed to the difficultues being experienced by Japanese supermartkets and Japanese restaurants where ingredients, such a soy sauce and wasabi are drying up. Related Articles
Locking the Dog House Door
Governor Outlaws the Import and Export of Pet Dogs as Additional Step to Curb Rabies Outbreak.
In the the escalating effort to bring Bali’s current rabies epidemic under control, Bali’s governor has sealed Bali’s borders for both the import and export of dogs until further notice. Pastika told the Jakarta Post, “we are closing the seaports and airport to any dog trade. This is to prevent rabies transmission off the island." Vaccination programs for humans are now available in Bali following the confirmation of several Rabies related deaths. Meanwhile a massive free vaccination program is now underway for pet dogs and an extermination program is being conducted on the Island’s ferile dog population. Bali’s total dog population is estimated at 20,000. Unhappy with the spread of the disease, Governor Pastika was quoted by Beritabali.com as calling on all pet owners to see that their dogs are vaccinated and to cage their animals to prevent free roaming throughout local communities. The Governor reminded pet owners that they are ultimately responsible for their pets meaning they can be criminally prosecuted if their dog causes harm or death to others. New Death Reported On Friday, January 16, 2009, a 32 year-old taxi driver, Thomas Aquino, died at Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital, six months after being bitten by a local dog. Pending formal test results performed during an autopsy, Aquino’s cause of death is officially being listed as a brain infection. Six months prior to his death the man was bitten by his neighbors dog with the dog dying just three days after the attack. To date, 4-6 deaths in Bali are being linked to the current Rabies Outbreak.Related Articles [Rabies Spreads to South Denpasar] [Bali Eager to Be Declared Rabies Free] [Bali Rabies Update: Massive Inoculation Underway] [Update on Bali's Anti-Rabies Offensive] [Interview: Dr. Dewa MN Dharma DV MSc PhD] [Bali No Longer Rabies Free]
Gone with the Wind
Passing Foul Gas Lands One Man in Hospital and the Other in Jail in Denpasar.
39 year-old Made Suyasa, a citizen of Banjar Kaja Kangin in the village of Kubutambahan in Bulelelng Regency is now in police custody following his arrest on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, after being charged with stabbing a friend with a knife in Denpasar several days earlier. According to police reports, Made Suyasa and his friend I Kadek Lespi Arjawa were both employed at a project North Denpasar where they shared a a shed for their personal accommodation. One night last week, Made Suyasa passed gas sufficiently odiferous to rouse Arjawa from his sleep and rush outdoor in urgent need of fresh air. When Arjawa return to the sleeping area he rebuked Suyasa and threw a small stone at the man while calling him the Balinese equivalent of a “dirty stinker.” Offended at being repimanded by a junior colleague, Suytasa then took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Arwana twice in the back. Just a Fart Officer Ida Bagus Mantra of the West Denpasar police precinct who investigated the attack bemoaned the criminal assault, saying, “the fight was really about nothing really, just a fart.” While Arjawa continues to recover in a local hospital from his stab wounds, Suyasa is being held in detention by Denpasar police, supposedly in a private cell as a courtesy to other prisoners.
Smile, You’re on Candid Camera
Governor Promises to Install 1,000 CCTV Surveillance Cameras in Bali Over Next 5 Years.
As part of his election campaign, Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika has targeted the installation of 1,000 closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) across the island during his first five year term. On the way to that goal, the provincial government of Bali will soon install 39 CCTV at ports of entry and tourism centers. The Bali Chief of the Agency for Unified Politics and the Peoples Protection (Kesbangol Linmas), Made Denayasa confirmed the Governor's plan for 1,000 CCTV to be installed within 5 years. Describing the installation of the initial 39 units, Denayasa explained: “We will create an ‘emergency response service (ERS)’ that can quickly answer any critical situation that threatens safety and security. The three components that comprise this service are police patrols, the ambulance service and the fire department.” The estimated cost of the Emergency Response Service” is Rp 16 billion (US$1.42 million). Governor Pastika told Bisnis Bali the problem of security is not the exclusive responsibility of police and security services, but must also be shared with the general public as well. As an international tourism destination, said Pastika. Bali must also have a security system of international standard that can form a central theme of the Island’s promotion. Explained Pastika, “when we promote (tourism) abroad, Bali’s security system must also be promoted so international visitors are not reluctant to visit .” To create a fully functioning security system for Bali, in addition to an ESR Bali will also soon have a crisis center made possible with funds provided by the French Red Cross. Ground was broken for the new Crisis Center on November 12, 2008 in Renon and is scheduled to be in operation on August 14, 2009. Related Article [See: Bali Builds a Crisis Center]
Anantara Resort – A Law Onto Itself
Local Building Officials Start Removing Sixth Floor of Anantara Resort After String of Broken Promises by Management and Owners.
In its continuing coverage of one of Bali new resorts that apparently refuses to submit itself to local rules and regulations, the Bali Post claims that the enforcement team from the Badung government continues to be hoodwinked by the owners of the Anantara Resort on Seminyak Beach. According to the paper, the promised demolishment of a the penthouse and Sunet on Six bar located on the roof of the Resort, built in violation of local building rules, has yet to take place, despite signing a guarantee that this would be done on September 8, 2008. In fact, according to the Bali Post, the Resort has added insult to injury by installing an air conditioning housing on the top floor. The popular Seminyak Resort stands 18 meters high, 3 meters more than the permitted maximum height of 15 meters for buildings in Bali. Following renewed reports in the Bali Post, a special team comprised of 20 enforcement officers from the Badung Police swept into the Resort on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, and took the demolition of the upper floor into their own hands. The Head of the Badung Enforcement Authority (Satpol PP Badung), Wayan Adi Arnawa, expressed his disappointment with the resort that had finally forced his team to take direct action after repeated lies and promises issued by the Resort’s Management. Commencing on September 3, 2008, the management of the Anantara Resort spent a few days going through the motions of pretending to demolish the structures on the sixth floor. When challenged on this point, the Resort’s management claimed that demolishment was halted due to safety concerns for the guests occupying the Anantara Resort. This explanation, however, fails to ring true bearing in mind that numerous guests and functions have been reportedly hosted on the sixth floor of the Resort after the September 3, 2008 deadline and agreement by management to remove the offending roof top structure. The Badung enforcement team have now pledged not to leave the site the structures on the sixth floor are finally removed. Related Articles [Bali's Skyline: The Height of Stupidity] [Sun Sets on Sunset on Six at Bali Anantara Resort] [Last Call at Anantara's Roof Top Bar?] [The Height of Arrogance?] [Up on the Roof at the Anantara Resort]
Gas Prices Go Down Again
Gas and Diesel Prices Go Down as Government Pushes for Price Reductions on Basic Living Commodities.
For the third consecutive time the Government has reduced the price at the pumps for premium and diesel fuel. The latest price cut took place on January 15, 2009, reducing the price of premium from Rp. 5,000 (US$0.44) to Rp. 4,500 (US$0.40) per liter for premium and from Rp. 4,800 (US$0.43) to Rp. 4,500 per liter for diesel. On a cumulative basis, premium gasoline is now 25% cheaper than it was on December 1, 2008, while diesel fuel has declined 18.2% in price over the same period.. The price of kerosene remains unchanged at Rp. 2,500 (US$0.22) per liter. Following a meeting of the Presidential Cabinet in Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also announced a reduction in the basic unit cost of electricity for industrial users. Seeking to see the benefits of lower energy reach other parts of the economy, the President promised a 10% reduction in transportation contract and called on meat producers to reduce the price of a kilogram of beef from Rp. 62,500 (US$5.58) per kilogram to Rp. 50,000 (US$4.26) per kilogram. Incentive are also being put in place that are intended to reduce the cost of a liter of cooking oil from Rp. 10,000 (US$0.89) to Rp. 7,000 (US$0.625). Seeking to reduce the cost of living for the average Indonesia, President Yudhoyono also pledged to take steps to help reduce the cost of milk and generic drugs.
Uncovering Bali’s Ancient Past
2,500 Year Old Stone Sarcophagus Discovered in Gianyar.
The discovery of a stone sarcophagus in the village of Keramas in the sub-district of Blahbatuh, Ginayar on January 12, 2009, provides further evidence of existence of advanced cultural settlements of Bali dating back at least 2,500 to 3,000 years. Shaped out of two piece of stone to resemble a turtle, the important archeological discovery has a length of 1.5 meters, a width of 1 meter and a depth of 2.5 meters. When discovered the stone vessel contained large quantity of human bone fragments. The sarcophagus was uncovered by two local men who were quarrying for building stones at a depth of around 3 meters. Once the workmen knew that their discovery was not a large stone but an artifact with historical significance, they contacted the local village chief and the nearest police stations who quickly cordoned off the site while waiting for representatives of the government archaeology department to arrive on the scene. Later, the Chief of the Archeology Department of Denpasar, I Wayan Suantika, confirmed an estimated age deting from 2,500-3,000 years for the sarcophagus. A preliminary examination of the human bone fragments suggest an age of between 300 and 500 B.C.E.. Suantika told NusaBaliuthat such elaborate burial vessels were traditionally reserved for religious or traditional leaders. The sarcophagus in the shape of a turtle, according to Suantika, included stone handles to permit transport of the unit to the burial site and reflected a belief that the animal depicted would deliver the deceased to a final resting place. According to Suantika, this is the 12th sarcophagus of its kind discovered in the Keramas area of Bali.
Foreign Criminals Operate in Bali
Drugs and Insurance Fraud Among the Crimes Tourists Commit When Abroad in Bali.
Tempo Interactive reports that the Bali Police handled 262 criminal cases in which foreign nationals were suspects in 2008. Broken down across the island there were 148 cases in Denpasar, 53 cases handled by the Criminal Investigation Directorate, 22 in Badung and 21 in Gianyar. The Public Relations spokesperson for the Bali Police, Commissioner I Gede Sugianyar Dwi Putra, told the press that the largest number of criminal cases involving foreigners were narcotics-related totaling 83. Another police official, I Gede Alit Widana, also pointed to petty theft cases and fraud committed by foreigners, some of who have been charged with filing false theft reports in order to claim money from their insurers.
Bali Promised a Search and Rescue Helicopter
Jero Wacik and Bali Legislator Promise to Push Hard for Bali to Have its Own Search and Rescuse Helicopter.
BeritaBali.com reports that Indonesia’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, Jero Wacik, has promised that Bali will soon received a Search and Rescue helicopter. That promise was made by the only Balinese in the current presidential cabinet during a ceremony held at the office of the Regent of Buleleng on Friday, January 16, 2009. Wacik said he will discuss the needed helicopter and agree for its deployment because of the need for an emergency quick response to accidents or natural disasters. Wacik’s promise is widely supported by members of the national house of representatives and Commission IV of that body. A member of the House, Gede Sumarjaya Linggih, said he would fight for the new helicopter in the coming legislative session. Linggih said: “I promise, but 90% of the new helicopter is a sure thing, and I am convinced that our battles to get a helicopter will be approved.” The promises by Linggih and Minister Wacik were in response to complaints from Bali’s governor Made Mangku Pastika who said, “Bali has no search and rescue helicopter, so how can we ask Australia to remove (negative) travel advisories if our facilities, security and safety are found lacking?” Helicopter assistance to Bali now comes from an aircraft based in Surabaya which, according to Bali responders, is too far away and entails complicated bureaucratic procedures to mobilize in the event of an emergency.
Tour Association Calls for Curb on Political Campaigning.
Bali’s Panoramic Views are Being Blocked by Campaign Posters, Banners and Flags.
The Bali Chapter of Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) has called on the provincial government to control the posters, flags and billboards being used in the current political campaign that are polluting the horizon with little or no regard for their esthetic impact. Al Purwa, Chairman of ASITA Bali, told beritabali.com the thousands of banners and billboard placed across the island reflect poorly on the legislative candidates concern for the natural beauty of Bali and its environment. Purwa explained: “How is it that one person can place thousands of photographs all over the place, what for? If someone wants to campaign let them do so by sharing their opinion on how to repair Bali, not by putting up pictures that are unfriendly to the environment.” According to Purwa, the uncontrolled display of campaign material is often a source of complaints by visiting tourists. In the past, the Regional Election Commission (KPUD) in cooperation with the Public Order Service (Servis Trantib) undertook the removal of campaign material in government administration areas. But, now, complained Purwa, the campaign material can even be found at local tourist attractions in Bali.
North Ubud Businesses Isolated by Bridge Collapse
Cok Ace Warns that Funds Unavailable for a New Bridge in 2009 Budget.
A Bridge Connecting Banjar Tibe Kuah to access to the main traffic artery in Payangan, North of Ubud has collapsed isolating villagers and a number of tourism enterprises in that area. A victim to flooding and heavy rains on Sunday, January 11, 2009, the bridge tumbled into a local ravine bringing with it the water mains which brought water to the surrounding community. The loss of the bridge has sent hundreds of people to the local river to bathe and obtain essential water supplies while local workers and farmers are isolated from local markets and their places of employment. An Alternative Route What was once a trip of a few minutes to the main highway in Payangan, has now become an arduous half hour journey of 4 kilometers over a make shift dirt roads cutting through local fields. The one lane dirt road now being used to serve hundreds of vehicles is a precarious solution to the loss of the bridge, especially so in the current period of heavy rains in Bali. Businesses Affected Among the business suffering some degree of isolation due to the bridge collapse are the Como Shambhala Resort, Ayung Resort, Rijasa Agung, Gana and Sobek Rafting. A piodalan ceremony set for Saturday evening, January 17th was moved up to mid-day due to the bridge collapse. Local authorities expected up to 10,000 Balinese to attend the ceremony at the Pura Dadia Santi in Banjar Ribe Kauh. While normally held in the evening hours, the alternative dirt road is considered dangerous to pass in the evening hours for the thousands of devotees seeking to obtain access to the ceremonies. Government Response Disappointing Nusa Bali carries a page one report in its Saturday, January 17, 2009, edition in wfhich the Regent of Gianyar, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawait (Cok Ace), issued an apology to the people suffering as a result of the bridge collapse, but warning them not to expect any urgent response by the government to their plight. Saying the estimated Rp. 250 million (US$22,300) required for an emergency bridge would be a waste of money, Cok Ace also said the estimated Rp. 3 billion (US$267,900) needed for a new bridge is well beyond the restraints of the 2009 regional budget for Gianyar.
John Fawcett Honored by President Yudhoyono
Bali Mobile Cataract Surgical Clinic Program Recognized by the President of Indonesia.
At a special ceremony in Jakarta on December 23, 2008, the President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono presented John Fawcett of the John Fawcett Foundation with the Satyalancana Kabaktian Sosial Award for his outstanding humanitarian work in Indonesia, especially in providing free cataract surgery to the poor in Bali, Kalimantan and Nusa Tenggara Barat. Fawcett is Founder and CEO of The John Fawcett Foundation, headquartered in Bali which works primarily in providing sight restoring cataract operations to the poor, a task he has been pioneering since 1991. Over those years the projects has provided surgical assistance to over 25,000 cataract patients otherwise unable to pay or access the sophisticate surgery that returns their sight. Curable blindness is a massive problem in Indonesia, where 4 million are blind, and 3 million are curable, mostly with cataract surgery. Fawcett said, “In Indonesia the most effective way to get the cataract surgery to the poor is by mobile surgical units which visit the villages, screen the people and stay a few days to operate and ensure safe recovery to each patient, then move on to the next area. “ ”These mobile clinics with a staff of one ophthalmologist, four nurses and two drivers, can screen over 50,000 people in a year, perform up to 10 cataract surgeries a day and cost as little as $150,000 per year to run and service. Fuel and travel costs are so high the poor cannot afford to travel to the cities, and we take the service to the patient. The highest incidence of blindness is amongst the poor, and it is the poor who remain blind, and will stay blind until someone provides free surgery.” The air-conditioned mobile eye clinics are equipped with high-quality surgical equipment including microscope, sophisticated sterilization, biometry, and slit lamp for pre- and post-operative assessment. Microscopes are fitted with an assistant’s piece and digital camera for video image capturing for teaching purposes. The mobile clinic tows a 21kva diesel generator which provides stable power for operation in remote village areas. In order to meet the shortage of skilled ophthalmic surgeons able to carry out effective, safe and affordable cataract surgery, the Foundation has an active surgical training program for Indonesian ophthalmologists focusing on small incision cataract surgery. The Australian foundation which bears John Fawcett’s name and is governed by a Board of Australian business people, is supported by tax deductible donations from Australia, the UK and the USA, and also receives private funding from Indonesia and other countries. It is structured as a legal action arm in Indonesia through the Yayasan Kemanusiaan Indonesia (YKI), which conducts its activities. YKI also won a presidential award in 2006 for being the best humanitarian organization in Indonesia. Related Site [ www.balieye.org ]
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