Local News

Indonesia halts automatic stay permit extensions for foreigners, announces ‘new normal’ immigration policy

Indonesian health officials yesterday conducted a simulation for COVID-19 vaccination in Bali’s Badung regency, as the country gears up preparations to distribute potential vaccines for the infectious disease.

The Health Ministry has chosen two community health clinics (Puskesmas) in Bali and Bogor, West Java to train medical workers for Indonesia’s vaccination program. Officially, the plan is to prioritize medical personnel and other workers in health facilities, as well as workers aged 18 to 59, once the vaccine becomes available.

“We don’t yet have the vaccine but we are hoping that the vaccine can become an effective means to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic,” M Budi Hidayat, secretary to the director general of Disease Prevention and Control at the ministry, said.

At this stage, the simulations in Bali and Bogor appear focused on adherence of health protocols, including hand washing and temperature checks upon patient’s arrival, followed by an examination by the medical workers who will administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Bali was chosen because this is a tourist destination and we want to make sure that Bali remains safe,” Budi said.

The simulation is part of Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine can be well-distributed across the archipelago, coordination of which involves the drafting of various scenarios and logistical preparations.

There seems to be promising progress on Indonesia’s own development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The ongoing advanced critical trials in Bandung, West Java conducted by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech in collaboration with state-owned pharmaceutical holding company PT Bio Farma and Bandung’s Padjadjaran University, for example, shows that the vaccine candidate is so far safe for humans. (Coconuts.co 07/10/2020)


Bali’s kain endek gains spotlight on Dior’s runway during Paris Fashion Week

The opening look of Dior’s Spring/Summer 2021 show during Paris Fashion Week featured warp-print fabrics native to Bali known as kain endek, a piece that the French fashion house says is the result of a collaboration with local artisans.

“And so this standout unstructured and completely reversible coat is composed of a patchwork of recomposed archival scarf print motifs and warp-print fabrics, particularly the Indonesian ikat version known as Endek, an expression of ancestral savoir-faire,” Dior wrote on the caption, using the French term for “the ability to do and say the right thing in any situation.”

“Dior is committed to working hand-in-hand with local experts and artisans to safeguard this cultural asset and ensure that its precious techniques live on.”

The stunning opening look isn’t the only Bali-inspired piece either, as several other pieces featured on Dior’s spring runway also made use of kain endek in variants of green and brown shades.

Kain endek is popular among many Balinese and believed to have originated from Klungkung regency. Though the woven fabric has been around for centuries, endek reportedly only became more commercialized around the ‘80s.

The Indonesian Embassy in Paris, which has been working with Dior to make sure that the use of kain endek in the brand’s pieces is culturally and traditionally appropriate to Balinese customs, said that the fabrics’ origins will also be included in the products’ labels accordingly.

“We hope that this can lift up the spirits of Balinese people amid the challenges of COVID-19 [pandemic],” the Indonesian ambassador to France, Arrmanatha Nasir, said in a statement. (Coconuts.co 01/10/2020)


Thousands more workers in Bali furloughed in 2 months: Official

More than 3,000 workers in Bali were furloughed between August and September, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the province’s tourism-dominated economy.

“We are expecting this number to continue rising as long as Bali’s economy is yet to recover,” Ida Bagus Ngurah Arda, who heads Bali’s Manpower Agency, told Bisnis yesterday.

The latest official data brings the total number of workers furloughed in Bali to 76,940, with 3,024 having reportedly been laid off during the pandemic. It’s likely that the numbers are much higher, as many informal workers may not have been accounted for.

Meanwhile, 532 companies have shut down operations since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in Badung alone, according to the regency’s Industry and Manpower Agency.

“That’s based on our most recent data per July 27 … The total number of companies is 532, [including] restaurants and hotels,” agency head Ida Bagus Oka Dirga said. (Coconuts.co 02/10/2020)


Bali Fruit Growers Seeking an Export Market

PT Bali Organik Subak (BOS) has a proven ability to export fruit abroad by the ton. Due to the current pandemic and high shipping costs, the amount of fruit shipped overseas from Bali remains minimal.

In a recent week, BOS managed to send 700 kilograms of fruit to Europe. 450 kilograms was in the form of dragon fruit produced by farmers in the Balinese Village of Bulian. A further 200 kilograms comprised mangoes from the Village of Tembok, and 50 kilograms of Salak grown in the Village of Sibetan.

The CEO of PT BOS, A.A. Gede Agung Wedhhatama, complains that shipping fruit abroad remains very expensive. Currently, the cost of shipping one kilogram of fruit is Rp. 60,000 or Rp. Sixty million to ship one ton of fruit to an overseas destination.

Shipping fruit items by sea to Europe would require a minimum of 21 days, a period of time that is not viable for perishable fruit products.

Based on production costs and the purchase prices paid by European fruit importers, Wedhatama says the maximum shipping cost viable for shipping fruit is between Rp. 12,000 and Rp. 15,000 – less than 25% of the current actual cost of Rp. 60,000 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, Bali fruit exporters are competing with fruit producers from other locales from Uganda to Thailand. In Thailand, for instance, the Thai Government subsidizes cargo costs for fruit exports. What’s more, the number of flights operating internationally from Bangkok is far superior to the number of international flights out of Bali at the moment.

Wedhatama remains optimistic that Bali will eventually prove able to penetrate the export market to Europe and the Middle East due to the high demand from these markets and the upcoming Winter season, which typically sees Europeans stockpile fruits for the coming Winter. (Balidiscovery.com 06/10/2020)


Police officers filmed extorting Japanese tourist in Bali found guilty at disciplinary hearing

A disciplinary hearing conducted by the Jembrana Police in Bali has declared two police officers guilty for extorting a Japanese man over a minor traffic violation last year. Their punishment includes several weeks of jail time.

Video footage of the extortion, wherein they asked the foreigner for IDR1 million (US$67.28), went viral last month, and prompted a formal apology from the Indonesian National Police (Polri).

“Yes, the two have been declared guilty after undergoing a disciplinary hearing,” Bali Police spokesman Syamsi said today, adding that they have been held in prison since Wednesday.

The footage showed the police officers fining the tourist for not turning on the headlights on his motorbike, whereby they ended up taking IDR900,000 from him. Under Indonesia’s 2009 Traffic Laws, motorbikes on the road must have their headlights turned on, both during the day and night. However, the tourist should have only been fined IDR100,000.

Syamsi said that the police officer who spoke most with the tourist, identified as IMW, had used the extorted money for his daily expenses. He has to undergo 28 days’ imprisonment, has been demoted, and relieved from his duties.

Meanwhile, the other police officer, identified as IPD, will be jailed for 21 days, demoted, and transferred to regular staff. He was found guilty as an accomplice to IMW. (Coconuts.co 06/10/2020)


Canadian man found dead in Bali villa, police say no signs of violence

A 45-year-old Canadian man was found dead at a villa in Badung regency yesterday, with authorities saying that there were no signs of violence at the scene. According to reports, the death of the foreigner, identified as SG, only came to light after villa staff entered his room to clean up.

The staff found SG seemingly lifeless while lying on his bed, after which they reported the matter to the North Kuta sub-precinct.

Police spokesman Ketut Gede Oka Bawa said there were no visible signs of abuse on SG’s body, and the body was immediately taken to Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar to determine his cause of death.

“The victim’s body was evacuated by officers in full protective equipment … The deceased was taken to Sanglah General Hospital to confirm his cause of death,” Oka said. (Coconuts.co 06/10/2020)


Businesses Closed, More than 42,000 Jobless

While the Province of Bali has reopened its doors to domestic tourism and is allowing access to most tourism objects, hundreds of businesses in the Island’s southern Regency of Badung remained shuttered and closed due to a lack of Island visitors.

As reported by Tribunbali.com, the Industry and Manpower Department of Badung Regency (Disperinaker) records 532 companies as “non-operational” as the result of the continuing pandemic. Many of the closed businesses are from the tourism sector, including hotels, villas, and restaurants.

The head of Badung’s Diperinaker Department, Ida Bagus Oka Dirga, said on Wednesday, 30 September 2020.

Dirga said the 532 closed businesses have been closed since July 2020. As a result, thousands of employees have been sent home and told to wait for business to return. Meanwhile, other workers have been terminated outright from their positions of employment.

Dirga counts 42,483 workers in Bali who have been furloughed to their homes on partial or no-pay, while 1,573 have been formally terminated from employment.

Manpower officials expect unemployment figures to increase further as more businesses close in the face of Bali visitors’ continuing downturn. Fueling these worries is that as Bali enters the month of October 2020, the Island is experiencing an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The Provincial Manpower chief, Dirga, sees Bali’s economy as, at least momentarily, dead. “We pray that the pandemic will soon end, and the economy will return to good health,” he said.

The Badung Regency has paid a monthly “incentive” of Rp. 600,000 to workers who have been terminated or furloughed to their homes. These payments were made for only a limited period of three months. The payments were limited to people holding an official Bali identity card proving residency in the Regency of Badung. They were handed out in three phases to 2,983 workers who were verified to be eligible. (Balidiscovery.com 06/10/2020)