While participating as a keynote speaker at a seminar discussing planning Bali’s development 100 years into the future, former Indonesian President and PDIP Chairperson Megawati Soekarnoputri shared memories of trips taken to Bali with her late father and first President, Soekarno, when she was “around seven years of age” (circa 1954).
Speaking at The Trans Hotel in Bali on Friday, 05 May 2023, she recalled a quieter, simpler time when Bali was still largely untouched by tourism. By comparison, “Ibu Mega” lamented how hotels and cafes are now developing at a rapid, almost uncontrollable, pace. The former President used the occasion to call on Bali Governor, Wayan Koster, to stop granting licenses for the construction of new hotels.
In making the call for a moratorium on new hotel construction in Bali, the former President is renewing a widespread call that first surfaced in the 1990s to freeze new hotels on the Island.
As reported by Tribun-Bali.com, Megawati also used the occasion to complain about the almost complete lack of large hotels owned by native-born Balinese.
Reflecting on her childhood, Megawati mentioned how Bali’s climate has changed, rice terraces are disappearing, and the sounds of Sanskrit chanting and melodious flutes are drowned out by traffic noise.
Megawati shared with the audience stories of the outrageous behavior of foreign visitors (See: Bali to Limit Number of Foreign Tourists? ) and urged Governor Koster to urgently enact legislation that will halt the ruin of the Island and its precious culture.
Megawati told the group of her special connection with the Island of Bali based on her ancestry, which includes a Balinese grandmother, Ida Ayu Nyoman Rai (1881-1958) from Singaraja, North Bali.
In addition to calling for a halt on new hotel construction, Megawati also sought the agreement of Governor Koster to halt rapid changes underway, changing agricultural and forested lands into commercial and residential developments. Tribun-Bali.com reports that following the seminar, Governor Koster acceded to the PDIP Chairperson’s request to halt the repurposing of land use.
As reported in the link above, the seminar also saw Bali’s Governor pledge to enact legislation to limit the number of international tourists allowed to visit Bali each year.
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