Local News

Bali to legalize traditional liquor, create new island brand

The Bali administration is set to legalize traditional Balinese arak (liquor made from tuak, a sweet drink from coconut palm flower) with the hope that it will serve as a new trademark of Indonesia’s main tourist destination, said Bali Governor Wayan Koster. “How is it that we are allowed to import liquor, but arak is prohibited? What is the logic behind such legislation? I think those who drafted it made a mistake. Therefore, we will legalize arak,” Koster said during a hearing with the Bali Legislative Council in Denpasar on Monday.

The Bali administration has sent a letter to the Industry Ministry to demand the revision of a presidential decree (Perpres) that has not legalized the distribution of arak Bali, Koster said, adding that if the proposal was rejected, he would issue a gubernatorial regulation. However, before legalizing the liquor, the Bali administration will supervise its production, he said.

Arak producers can be found across the island, but mostly in Karangasem and Bulengleng regencies. Koster added that without a facility from the government, arak producers had already managed to manufacture good quality liquor by using traditional refineries. “If we help them with the technology, they could produce even higher quality arak,” Koster said as quoted by bali.tribunnews.com. Nyoman Parta, a member of the Bali Legislative Council’s Commission IV overseeing industrial affairs, supported Koster’s plan to legalize Balinese arak because it would help boost the local economy. He said the government needed to supervise the manufacturing process of arak for better quality products. “If the alcohol content is too high, we can help lower it. If there are issues with hygiene, we will train arak producers to pay attention to such matters, and if their packing is not so attractive, we can help improve the design,” he added. [The Jakarta Post February 12, 2019]


Plans for a waste-to-energy plant at Suwung underway, mangroves likely to be uprooted

The plan to build a waste-to-energy plant (PLTSa) at the Suwung landfill or ‘final disposal site,’ (TPA) in Serangan, continues to move forward. With construction for the project expected to start at the end of 2019, authorities are currently carrying out a feasibility study, according to an article by Bali Post. Speaking yesterday, Bali Governor Wayan Koster said that, in addition to the ten hectares initially set aside for plant, a further 1.4 hectares of land, currently home to mangroves, would have to be utilized to make way for the new project. With landfill space reduced due to construction, Koster says the extra land would be utilized as a temporary garbage collection site as trash continues to pile up by 1000 tons each day.

“Even though there are pros and cons, we have applied to the Ministry of Forestry for the permit,” said Koster, as quoted in Kumparan. If the paperwork goes through, the Bali government has pledged to plant more mangroves in other areas. “The land [for the power plant] must be expanded because it is insufficient…But in other places, we will add 2.8 hectares [of mangroves],” said Koster, as quoted in Bali Post.

Koster also expressed his intention to carry out an environmental impact analysis study on any incinerators used within the plant. By all accounts, the governor is aware of the potential environmental impact of such a facility but said it was now the only way to stem the growth of the garbage mound. “If left unchecked, the pile of rubbish at the Suwung Landfill is predicted to be as high as 18 meters by 2021,” he said, as quoted in Kumparan. According to Bali Post, the managing of waste via the use of incinerators is new to Indonesia and if adopted, the Suwung model will follow Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese technologies.

The plan is for the construction to be carried out by two state-owned companies, Indonesia Power and Waskita Karya. In addition, Koster says that the services of specialist consultants from France will also be utilized to try and minimize any negative impacts. It is estimated that the PLTSa will be fully operational by 2022. [Coconuts Bali February 14, 2019]


All coastlines in Bali suffering from salt water intrusion. Southern areas of the island contaminated up to 4 kilometers inland 

The intrusion of salt water contaminating the fresh water tables in South Bali is becoming increasingly acute, largely due the over-exploitation of bore holes through illegal wells created by companies and private households. NusaBali report that the degradation of Bali’s water supply from salt water intrusion was the topic of discussion at a gathering held on Friday, February 15, 2019, held conducted by the Politeknik Negeri Bali and the IDEP Selaras Alam Foundation at the Hotel Werdhpura Sanur.

Research carried out during 2018 revealed that areas such as Legian, Kuta, Seminyak, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran and Tanjung Benoa have already fallen victim to significant salt water intrusion. This is indicated by the high levels of chlorine that make bore water taken in these regions often unsuitable for human consumption. Evidence of salt water intrusion is much in evidence across the Regency of Badung, due to over exploitation of the fresh water table. A scientist from Politeknik Negeri Bali, Surya Negara, was unprepared to declare Bali in a water crisis, saying such a proclamation would require more research.

Beyond the southern parts of the Island, evidence of salt water intrusion is showing up in other areas of Bali, such as the Regency of Jembrana in the regions of Prancak, Cupel, Pengambengan and Gilimanuk. More evidence of intrusion can be found in Tambanan at Suraberata; Bulelelng ar Gondol at Pemuteran; and Karangasem at Manggis, Amed, and Tulemben. In fact,         the only areas free of salt water intrusion are Gianyar and   Klungkung. The generalized data for Bali shows salt intrusion penetrating up to 400 meters from the shoreline for all areas of the Island, except in south Bali where the intrusion is more significant, penetrating as much as 1 to 3 kilometers inland. [Bail Discovery February 17, 2019]


Garuda group cutting 20% off all domestic ticket prices following deal to drop jet fuel prices

While Garuda Indonesia has racked up some impressive service awards in recent years, the national carrier’s high ticket prices, especially compared to budget airlines like Lion Air, has seen its business slipping sharply. But that may all change with the announcement of a massive 20% cut across-the-board on all domestic ticket prices – including Garuda subsidiaries Citilink and Sriwijaya Air – starting today.

“This is in line with the aspirations of the community and a number of national industry associations as well as the direction of the President of Indonesia regarding the reduction in airline ticket rates in supporting efforts to increase the national economic sector specifically to support the growth of the tourism sector, MSMEs, and other national industries in supporting economic growth,” Garuda Indonesia’s managing director, I Gusti Ngurah Askhara Danadiputra, wrote in a press statement released today. “We will ensure that the reduction in ticket prices fulfills the continuing commitment of Garuda Indonesia Group to provide quality flight services at competitive rates.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the government making a deal with state-owned fuel company Pertamina that will sharply decrease the price of jet fuel. President Joko Widodo had touched on the high price of jet fuel in a speech on Monday and said that he would find a solution with the heads of the   State-Owned Enterprises Ministry. Garuda’s stocks soared       yesterday on the news, rising by 3.49% to IDR0.447 per share with a transaction value of IDR26.77 billion. Also yesterday, Garuda was told by the Transport Ministry to set reasonable prices on their tickets and keep their affordability to general society in mind. [Coconuts Bali February 15, 2019]


Air Asia threatens fines and prison time for passengers caught bringing pork products on flights to Malaysia

Air Asia is forbidding passengers flying to any Malaysia destination from bringing food containing pork or any other pork food products on board their aircraft. As reported by Beritabali.com, the prohibition took effects from February 12, 2019. In a statement published on Airasia.com and confirmed via a call to the Air Asia call centre, the prohibition is attributed not to the airline but to the Government of Malaysia. In order to comply with Malaysian law, any pork products found on board their aircraft or in the possession of any Malaysian-bound passenger will be disposed of in specially prepared waste bins in Malaysia.

Passengers carrying pork will see these items confiscated and may still be subject to a fine of 100,000 Malaysian ringgit or a 6-month term of imprisonment, or a combination of the a fine and imprisonment. Didi, a travel agent employed by Lila Travel in Bali, confirmed receiving a circular memo from Air Asia advising of the pork prohibition. He was unable, however, to confirm if the prohibition applied to all flights destined for Malaysia or only applied to Air Asia. To date, only Air Asia has issued a warning about the carriage of pork on Malaysian-bound flights. [Bali Discovery February 17, 2019]


Tanzanian busted with kilo of meth in stomach: Bali officials

A Tanzanian man was arrested in Bali after more than a kilogram of methamphetamine was found inside his stomach, Indonesian authorities said Tuesday (Feb 12). Immigration officials on the holiday island – who routinely detain foreigners for drug offences – said they nabbed Abdul Rahman Asman at the international airport on Jan 30. An X-ray and CT scan turned up about 99 plastic baggies filled with white powder that Asman had swallowed, topping a kilo in weight, authorities said.

Dozens of the baggies were displayed on a table at the customs office Tuesday as Asman, 42, was paraded before reporters in an orange jumpsuit and restrained with hand and leg irons. It was not clear if prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Asman but Indonesia has some of the world’s strictest drug laws, including execution by firing squad for traffickers.

There are dozens of smugglers on death row, including a cocaine- mule British grandmother, an American caught with crystal methamphetamine, and several west African inmates sentenced to death for drug crimes. American Husein Ashadi Bahri, 60, was also shown at the conference after his arrest in a drug sting that discovered some 45 grams of marijuana stuffed inside a computer keyboard. [Channel News Asia February 12, 2019]


Concrete house in Bali is a tropical Brutalist dream

Ever hear of tropical Brutalism? No? Well, get ready to add it to your architectural vernacular because hard-lined, concrete stunners are popping up all over balmy climates. This house in Bali, Indonesia, appropriately named A Brutalist Tropical Home, sits nestled into a lush valley on the island’s southern coast. Architecture studio Patisandhika and designer Dan Mitchell designed a 5,500-square-foot house that both embraces and steels itself against Bali’s persistent warm weather.

Perhaps counterintuitively, the house has a wall of glass that stretches for the entirety of the double-height living room. To help protect the interior from the glaring sun, the architects designed a series of concrete slabs that extend from the facade, creating much needed shade. “The challenge with this was the climate-heat and direct sunshine on glass isn’t always the best idea,” Mitchell told Dezeen. “As we opted against using air con for energy saving reasons, we used the overhanging slabs as a solution to block sun and prevent overheating.”

The architects designed the home with intentionally simple materials-just concrete and wood-that are meant to provide a backdrop for color and texture from the furniture. The open living room has a wall-sized shelving unit for records that gives the space a utilitarian touch of decor. The house is designed as a split level. The kitchen and dining area are separate from the living room and three bedrooms. The kitchen space opens directly to the outdoors, (read: there are no walls) because it’s Bali, after all. [Curbed February 12, 2019]