Local News

Badung to spend US$570 million to complete southern outer ring road project.

Badung Regent, I Nyoman Giri Prasta, and the Head of the Public Works and Spatial Planning (PUPR) Board, IB Surya Suamba, presented the construction details of the new integrated utility network and southern outer ring road construction at the Government and Business Entities Joint Venture (KPBU) at the Foreign Investment Board (BKPM) Office in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The event was held to get feedback in order to improve the quality of pre-study review of the projects. The Head of PUPR Board, IB Surya Suamba, said that the southern outer ring road will have a total length of 31.3 km which will include two tunnels with a length of 3.5 km and 2.5 km. The road will also be completed with 1.6 km of bridges.

The project is stated to cost Rp 7.97 trillion (approx. US$570 million), started with a preliminary review of feasibility pre-study, which is targeted to be completed this month. There will be further feasabilty studies in 2020 and construction will begin in earnest in 2021. The road is targeted to be completed in the first semester of 2023. “The person in charge of this project is the Badung Regent and he will using the KPBU project finance. The return investment of the project will be accommodated with a 15-year collaboration,” he explained to radarbali.com.

Meanwhile Badung Regent, I Nyoman Giri Prasta, said that Badung is the tourism destination gateway of the island of the gods and the district is also a destination for international meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE). That’s why proper and international standard infrastructures are needed. “The construction of the southern outer ring   road is a necessity,” he concluded. (SeminyakTimes.com December 23, 2019)

2 (two) Indian nationals may face death penalty for smuggling meth into Bali

Two Indian nationals, 32-year-old Manjeet Singh and 26-year-old Harvinder Singh, began their trial at the Denpasar District Court yesterday, a few months after their arrest on suspicion of smuggling at least 2.7 kilograms of shabu (meth) into Bali in September. The defendants’ charges, which were read out during the trial, include drug smuggling under Indonesia’s notoriously harsh anti-narcotics law, with death penalty being the maximum punishment.

As reported by state news agency Antara and Nusa Bali today, prosecutor I Made Lovi Pusnawan said during the trial that   the defendants received a package from an unknown man, identified as Kulwant Kulkata, in Jakarta on Sep. 2 with orders to take the package to Bali. They were promised a payment of IDR9 million (US$642).

“When the two defendants were about to depart from Jakarta to Denpasar, they tucked a blue fabric bag containing shabu packages inside their luggage and covered it with clothes belonging to defendant Harvinder Singh,” Lovi said. On the morning of Sep. 3, police received a tip-off about a planned drug deal, leading to them arresting the two men at a hotel located in South Kuta. The court heard that the meth was planned to be brought to Buleleng, intended for island-wide circulation. The two defendants, through their attorney, objected to the charges read against them. The Denpasar  District Court is set to call on witnesses to testify at the next court session. (coconuts.com December 23, 2019)

Bali records over 22 thousand HIV/AIDS cases, 5th highest in Indonesia

Bali has among the highest number of people living or lived with HIV in Indonesia, according to the Bali chapter of the AIDS Commission (KPA). On Saturday, KPA Bali announced that it has updated its tally of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the province to 22,034 as of November 2019, from when the data was first recorded in 1987. “Based on the number of cases on the national scale, Bali placed fifth after Jakarta and West Java,” KPA Bali official Made Suprapta said, as quoted by Radar Bali.

Referring to data by Bali’s Health Agency, most HIV infections on the island were caused by unsafe sexual practices. Most of the infections occurred in heterosexual relations with 16.808 total cases (76.3 percent), followed by homosexual relations with 3,247 cases (14.7 percent) and bisexual relations with 110 cases (0.5 percent). Furthermore, the data showed that needle sharing (mostly for drug abuse) and perinatal transmissions were among minor causes of HIV infections.

“The virus can be transmitted to people of all ages, but the data shows that the age group with the highest potential of being infected by HIV/AIDS is the productive age, between 15 to 60 years old,” Suprapta said. The commission is urging Bali citizens – especially those who are sexually active – to get routinely tested for HIV. Despite the high number of sufferers, the commission says that Bali’s medical facilities are still well equipped to treat those with HIV/AIDS. (coconuts.com December 24, 2019)

Agus Hadi of Indonesia; Zulfiqar Ali of Pakistan; Gurdip Singh of India; Onkonkwo Nonso Kingsley, Obina Nwajagu, Eugene Ape, and Ozias Sibanda and Frederik Luttar of Zimbabwe. (Antaranews.com December 24, 2019)

Travellers flying home from Bali face intense screenings at Australian airports

Tourists flying home from popular Indonesian locations like Bali are being warned to brace for lengthy delays and screening at Australian airports. Following an increased threat of African swine fever, biosecurity at airports across the country will be in overdrive this Christmas and new year. According to the Herald Sun, passengers arriving in Australia will undergo more questions than normal at immigration as well as an increase in detector dogs around airport terminals. Department of Agriculture biosecurity head Lyn O’Connell said there would also be extra warnings on all incoming flights.

Passengers will be faced with intense screenings at Australian airports this festive season. “Summer is when our ports, airports and mail centres are busiest, but this holiday season will require extra vigilance from everyone,” Ms O’Connell said. “If you’re going overseas, think hard about what you bring back, and if you visit a farm or go off track to a rural area, declare it when you come home. “Avoid bringing high-risk products in your luggage and remove potentially contaminated soil on your shoes and camping gear.”

If compromised product is brought into Australia, it could seriously impact our $5.2 billion pork industry. An African swine fever outbreak has swept across China, Vietnam,  Cambodia and parts of Indonesia amid the absence of a vaccine or cure for the disease. The disease does not transmit to humans as the virus dies during the cooking process. But it could contaminate other pigs that are located near the infected pigs – alive or dead. If brought into Australia, it could seriously impact Australia’s $5.2 billion pork industry.

Visitors face a hefty fine if they bring pork products into the country. In Indonesia, at least 29,200 pigs have died due to the disease, causing losses to pig farmers in the province and driving people to stop eating pork. The threat to the Australian pork industry is the biggest since the bird flu, and if visitors are caught with undeclared pork products they will be hit with a $420 fine. (news.com.au December 23, 2019)

‘We will promote arak’: Bali to boost production of traditional liquor as distribution legalized

With the type of tourists that Bali attracts, alcoholic beverages are certainly not in short supply on the island. But the local government believes that Bali’s own traditional liquor isn’t nearly as popular as it should be, and a new regulation from the central government may just give it a shot at prominence.

Earlier this year, the Bali Provincial Government  appealed to the Ministry of Industry to legalize the distribution of Balinese arak, a traditional liquor made from tuak (a sweet drink from coconut palm flower). The appeal was granted recently, meaning that arak can be legally produced and marketed islandwide. “We will promote arak,” Governor I Wayan Koster said, as quoted by Tribun Bali. “[Now] we can compete with the Japanese Sake.”

With the ruling, Koster said the provincial government will support local arak producers in Bali, many of whom are based in Karangasem, Buleleng, and Tabanan regencies. Bali currently produces 1.1 million liters of arak per year, but Koster is eyeing a massive boost to production – up to around 6 million liters per year – on the back of legalizing distribution. He also appealed to local producers to uphold quality and lower alcoholic levels if needed from now on.

“We will take care of those with local arak [distilleries], I have collected their data, for Balinese people only. So our arak producers will thrive,” Koster said. Balinese arak was among the thousands of illegally distributed liquor bottles confiscated and destroyed by the police recently. We imagine that figure would decrease drastically now that distribution of arak is legal. (coconuts.com December 24, 2019)

Police confiscate 33,400 diazepam tablets in Bali

The Bali Police’s antidrug squad personnel have apprehended two men who were attempting to trade 33,400 diazepam tablets, popularly known as Pil Koplo, in the resort island. The suspects, only identified by their initials AMW, 32 and ACN, 32, were nabbed during a raid at their rented room on December 3, 2019, Bali Police Spokesman Sen. Coms. Syamsi said.

The police confiscated 30 plastic bags containing 33,400 tablets of the drug also known as Double LL, investigators speaking to Antara in Denpasar Friday, said. The suspects, who could be arrested only after the police received tip-offs about their suspicious drug transactions, are currently in police custody for investigation, he said. Both AMW and ACN are residents of Jember city in East Java Province. They are charged under the Indonesian Health Law Number 36/2009, he added.

Indonesia remains under grave threat from drug dealers, as several individuals from its working-age population have been embroiled in  a vicious circle. According to the National Narcotics Agency’s report, some 50 drug use-related deaths occur in Indonesia. However, their deaths have failed to deter other drug users in the country from consuming these banned substances.

Users of crystal methamphetamine, narcotics, marijuana and other addictive drugs transcend communities and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Hence, Indonesia is perceived by both domestic and transnational drug dealers as a potential market due to its huge population and millions of drug users. The drug trade in the country is estimated to reach nearly Rp66 trillion. In response to the illicit drugs that drug kingpins have smuggled into and traded in the country over the past few decades, the Indonesian government continues to apply punitive measures against them. Earlier, the Indonesian authorities announced that 14 death row prisoners convicted in drug-related cases would face the firing squad.

In July 2016, Indonesia executed four death row inmates for drug trafficking. They were drug kingpin Freddy Budiman of Indonesia, Humprey Ejike and Michael Titus of Nigeria, as well as Seck Osmane, a Nigerian national holding a Senegalese passport. The convicts were executed by a firing squad at the Tunggal Panaluan shooting range in  Nusakambangan Island off Central Javas southern coast at 12:46 a.m. local time on July 29, 2016.

Ten inmates, however, escaped the third wave of executions on July 29, 2016. These were Merry Utami, Pujo Lestari, and Agus Hadi of Indonesia; Zulfiqar Ali of Pakistan; Gurdip Singh of India; Onkonkwo Nonso Kingsley, Obina Nwajagu, Eugene Ape, and Ozias Sibanda and Frederik Luttar of Zimbabwe. (Antaranews.com December 24, 2019)