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Bali Governor Working to Keep his “No Reclamation” Campaign Promise

Bali’s Governor Appeals to President to Halt New Efforts to Reclaim Benoa Bay

Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster has responded to a broad-based community rejection of the reclamation of Benoa Bay headed by the ForBALI Movement, by writing to President Joko Widodo objecting to new initiatives to allow the commercial development of Benoa Bali.

As reported by Balipost.com, the Governor’s letter was handed by the Governor to Pramono Anung, the Cabinet Secretary, in Jakarta on Friday, December 28, 2018.

Koster said he signed the letter on December 21, 2018, but waited for Anung’s return from overseas to formally deliver the letter on Friday.

Governor Koster said that his letter to President Widodo contained two main points. First, it called on the President to change Presidential Decree No. 51 of 2014 that removed the conservation zone status on a large section of the mangrove forest located in Benoa Bay and paved the way for commercial interests to seek to change a large segment of the wetland into a housing and entertainment complex. The Presidential Decree was rushed through in the final days of the Presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to allow PT Tirta Wahana Bali Internasional, a company owned by businessman Tommy Winata, to develop 700 hectares of what was once a protected conservation area. Second, the letter called on President Widodo to order the Minister of the Environment and Forestry not to issue permission to undertake environmental impact studies that must precede any plan to reclaim Benoa Bay.

The letter told the President that any private development of Benoa Bay violates the culture and beliefs of the Balinese people.

An environmental impact study conducted by Bali’s Udayana University declared Benoa Bay unsuitable for the proposed commercial development sought by PT Tirta Wahana Bali Internasional.

Governor Koster told the press that he personally handed his letter to the Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung who immediately summoned his staff, ordering the letter be processed as soon as possible. Koster said he remains hopeful that the President would accept his recommendations.

Koster had made a campaign promise during his quest for office that no reclamation of Benoa Bay would be allowed if he were elected Governor.