Local News

North Bali Airport could be a game changer

The construction of the new Bali airport in Kubutambahan in Buleleng Regency will begin in 2020, according to reporting in local news wires. Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster made the announcement in a speech at the Arts Centre in Denpasar on New Year’s Eve following surveys and feasibility studies involving the Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi, the Director General of Air Transportation Polana B. Pramesti, Governor Koster and Buleleng Regent Putu Agus Suradnyana. “We reviewed the location to be used for the construction of the new Bali airport in Kubutambahan using 370 hectares of land belonging to the Kubutambahan customary village plus 50 hectares from the traditional Sani village,” said Koster.

According to Polana, not many people live in the area and the land has no constraints. In terms of location, he told Bisnis, the site “was also very good because there were no social or religious obstacles such as Hindu holy places or temples.” Koster also added it would be built to higher  specifications and quality than the current airport at Ngurah Rai and with Balinese themes with the hope that it would become not just a new icon for Bali, but for the whole of Indonesia.

The public consultation process for the construction of the new airport began on December 19 and a timetable for immediate implementation has already been drawn up. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and to be completed within 4-years. A fully operational airport is slated to be open for business for 2025. Koster believes the North Bali airport will be of great benefit not only to the regencies of Karangasem, Bangli and Jembrana but also to Bali as a whole as it would address the current imbalance of wealth and development between the north and south of the island. There is no other way to address this balance, Koster told Detik as equitable development is for everyone’s benefit and he asked local communities to support the project as it is “for the common interest, for the future of all of us,” he said.

The hope is this will also fast track much needed infrastructural development. Gapura Bali reported in April 2018 on the opportunities this could bring, quoting Antara News and Vice Governor Kerta as saying that in order for the new airport project to be successful it must run in tandem with the construction of expressways, sport tourism, world trade centers, yacht harbors monorails and train links. The issue of access to the site is already being addressed. Koster has already inaugurated the Denpasar-Buleleng short cut road that starts at points 5-6 in Pegayaman Village, which is targeted to be completed by 2021. Koster’s plan was warmly welcomed by Buleleng Regent Suradnyana, according to Detik, who was optimistic the airport will create momentum to improve the welfare of the people in northern Bali.

The new airport is being funded through a structure of cooperation between the government and business entities according to Mohamad Pramintohadi Sukarno, Director of the Airport Directorate General of Air Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation. Detik are reporting the Minister of Transportation as suggesting the new airport will be serving Low Cost Carriers (LCC), while the island’s current airport at Ngurah Rai would focus mainly on high-end travelers.

Terje Nilsen, Principal of Harcourts Seven Stones told WILLIAMS MEDIA he believes the development of Bali’s north coast will provide some exciting property investment opportunities in the very near future. “The area is relatively untouched when compared to the tourist magnets in the south and it’s a great opportunity to learn from the mistakes the south has made,” he says. “My hope is there’s a stronger focus on planning, environmental awareness and local community development and businesses that support these initiatives are encouraged to become actively involved. It will then be a win-win situation for everyone.” [Gapura Bali January 4, 2019]


Week One: Bali residents transition to plastic-free shopping

As of January 1, Denpasar city government’s ban on plastic bags in “modern” stores-namely convenience stores and supermarkets-came into full effect. The prohibition, which was announced by Mayor Rai Mantra in October last year, came just a few weeks ahead of an island-wide ban on single-use plastics like straws, Styrofoam and poly bags. The latter policy was signed and agreed by Bali Governor Wayan Koster just before Christmas, and is aimed at producers, businesses and individuals in the hopes that the province’s plastic waste can be reduced by 60-70 percent, according to a report by Bali Post. But while Koster’s decree carries a six month grace period, the plastic bag ban in Denpasar is already in full swing.

On Wednesday, Denpasar’s Environmental and Hygiene Agency’s (DLHK) carried out inspections to see how consumers and retailers were adapting to the initial plastic bag ban. Led by I Ketut Wisada, Head of DLHK, officers visited a number of shopping centers, supermarkets and convenience stores in the region. According to a report by Bali Post, the investigation revealed that while many retailers had switched to reusable bags or cardboard boxes, some stores were still offering plastic bags. Wisada also noted that communication on the matter could be improved. “The prohibition on using plastic bags is still unclear to some shoppers. (A notice) must be placed at the cash register so that it can be clearly read,” he said to the source.

There has also been criticism of the lack of clarity as to the consequences for violating the regulation. Speaking to           Tribun Bali, activist Luh De Dwi Jayanthi of non-profit organisation Plastik Detox Bali, said, “As far as we can see, it seems like the sanctions for violations of the regulation are not clear.” On the whole though, the public reaction seems to have been positive. AA Ngurah Agung Agra Putra, the operational manager of the Ayu Nadi supermarket group, expressed the need for a collaborative community effort.

“We hope that people will be wiser in using plastic as well as participating in the joint effort of protecting the environment. The government, employers and communities must work together to protect the environment,” he commented to the source. Despite a few early teething problems, efforts towards a cleaner, more eco-minded Bali appear to be going well, with Denpasar’s stance on single-use plastics paving the way for Koster’s island-wide ban, which will come into full effect in June. [Coconuts Bali January 5, 2019]


The passport rule that could derail your holiday in Bali

Bali-bound Australian passengers have had their holidays ruined after being turned away from flights because their passports are damaged. In an unexpected travel crackdown on tourists, Indonesian authorities are imposing heavier restrictions and fines on airlines that carry passengers with damaged passports. Passengers are being sent back home and airlines could face fines of $5,000 USD if holidaymakers are let through with crumpled pages, according to The West Australian.

A passenger, whose name was not disclosed, recounted an incident on Christmas Day when she and her partner weren’t allowed to board a Batik Air flight at Perth Airport because her passport was damaged. She was told by Batik Air staff that a policy was being enforced in Denpasar, Bali, which prohibited passengers from flying if even ‘the slightest           imperfection’ was found in their passport. The passenger was also told that the Indonesian airline had been previously fined and passengers had to be sent back to Perth, which led to tighter restrictions. ‘They told me that in response that they had stopped 20 passengers with damaged passports from flying to Bali in the past month,’ she told The West Australian.

Some passengers scrambled to snap up flights with AirAsia after reports they were allowing people with damaged passports. But a statement from the airline suggested otherwise. ‘Passengers are responsible for ensuring they have the correct documentation for travel and that there are no signs of damage, especially to the ID pages and biometric chip,’ an AirAsia spokesman said. Passengers are also reminded to ensure their passport is in good condition before traveling. ‘Serious damage to a passport could prevent a person from travelling overseas,’ a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) spokesman said. ‘All Australian citizens must have a valid passport before leaving Australia and maintain a valid passport while overseas. Some countries will not let a person enter unless their passport is valid for six months from when they plan to leave that country’. DFAT has also reminded the public that maintaining a valid passport is essential, given that its validity may be questioned if the passport is not in good condition.

Keeping your passport in good condition ensures its validity for travel. A damaged passport may prevent you from traveling overseas.

A passport is damaged if:

  1. It has had contact with water and other liquids
  2. The pages in the passport have been torn or removed
  3. The photos and personal details in the passport are illegible or unclear
  4. There is evidence of alteration or tampering in any part of the passport

If unsure, it is best to seek advice from the Australian Information Service or from an Australian consulate. You may also take your passport to an Australian Passport Office for assessment. [Daily Mail January 2, 2019]


Bali Police raid reveals child prostitution syndicate in Sanur

Five underage sex workers between the ages of 14 and 17 have been secured by Bali Police Criminal Investigation Unit after they carried out a raid on Friday, January 4 in a Sanur neighborhood. Working together with a children’s rights group, police were alerted to the illegal operation by Anggrek, a sixteen-year-old girl from Bekasi who had escaped the brothel through a window during the new year.

According to a report in Tribune Bali, Anggrek had been lured from her home in Java on the promise of lawful           employment. “When she arrived, she was shocked to discover that she was not going be a waitress or a girl selling drinks, but she would be selling herself, and was immediately displayed in a glass window,” said Luh Putu Anggreni, the Chair of Denpasar Integrated Care Center for the Empowerment of Women and Children (P2PT2). Thanks to a collaborative effort with Denpasar P2PT2, Bali Police have arrested two suspects in connection with trafficking the child prostitutes. Known only by their initials, NKS, 49, and NWK, 51, the pair were seized at an address on Jl. Sekar Waru, Sanur, as reported by IDN Times Bali.

Bali Police spokesman Hengky Widjadya confirmed that   investigations had revealed that the five victims had initially been tempted to travel to Bali by agents in Bekasi, Java, who promised them jobs with monthly salaries of IDR5 million-IDR11 million (US$354.17-US$779.18), and comfortable housing. “But when they arrived at the crime scene, the victims were instead sold as prostitutes, displayed and sexually exploited at a rate of IDR250,00-IDR300,000 (US$17.75 – US$21.27) per hour,” he said to Tribun Bali.

In an official statement on Saturday, Ai Maryati Solihah, the Commissioner of Trafficking and Exploitation of Children from The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), expressed her appreciation towards Bali Police for dismantling the trafficking syndicate and closing down the operation. She explained that the victims were traumatized because they faced tremendous pressure at the place. Luh Putu Anggreni of Denpasar P2PT2 explained some of these pressures. “All the elements of trafficking were present in this case. There is debt bondage, which means as soon as they arrive, they are in debt. The victims must repay their ticket costs as well as various other equipment costs,” she explained. While the victims have been taken to a safehouse in Tabanan, the perpetrators face charges concerning human trafficking and a maximum 15-year sentence, according to local-language news site, Bisnis. [Coconuts Bali January 7, 2019]