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It’s Your Money But Not Your Business

Bali Environmentalist Seeking Transparency from Government Company Developing Port of Benoa

The second session in a freedom of information case brought by Friends of the Earth – Bali (WALHI-Bali) against the operators of the Benoa Port (Pelindo III) continued in a heated manner on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. WALHI is seeking complete disclosure on plans and environmental impact considerations concerning the ongoing reclamation and massive redevelopment of the Benoa Port Area.

As reported by RadarBali.com, tempers flared after failed efforts by the Provincial Information Office to reach a mediated settlement.

PT Pelindo III Benoa, represented by R. Suryo Khasabu, a request that WALHI-Bali fill out additional forms in support of their request for information and present proof of identity was pointedly refused by those representing WALHI who saw these steps as stonewalling.

The legal representative of WALHI Bali, I Wayan Adi Sumiarta, rejected the supplemental requests form Pelindo, insisting their case before the Provincial Information Office has followed all the requirements set forth under the law for freedom of information. For that reason, WALHI-Bali rejected any effort to delay the case and provide information already included in the original complaint.

Adi Sumiarta said: “If (Pelindo) has the good faith to provide the public information we are seeking in accordance with Paragraph 22 Section 7 of the Law on Public Information, then Pelindo III should have prepared a written response to WAHLI-Bali within the stipulated 10 working day after they received our original request.”

Pelindo said that after they receive the completed forms they are now requesting from WALHI-Bali, they would then consider the request for details of development work at the Port of Benoa.

Adi Sumiarta said the tactic being used by Pelindo III – Benoa shows that the Port Authority is being obstructionist and trying to stall WAHLI-Bali’s attempt to access public information.

WALHI-Bali demanded that Pelindo III-Benoa fulfil their request for public information and demonstrate their respect for the law as a State-owned Company. The environmental group reminded that the public have every right to know and understand about every project that affects the natural environment.

During the hearing, Pelindo III-Benoa continually questioned WALHI-Bali’s status as a “public body.”

In their defense, WAHLI-Bali’s representatives stated that have repeatedly filed and won freedom of information complaints in the past, proving that the group is a public body entitled to file freedom of information complaints.

WALHI-Bali said the information being sought on the Port of Benoa development is information that it the right of the public and institutions seeking to protect the environment. WALHI is surprised at Pelindo III’s efforts to avoid obeying the law and open their files to the public.

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