International coastal cleanup activity held in Bali

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry (KKP) cooperated with the Ocean Conservancy Institution from the United States and Bali`s regional government to hold an international coastal cleanup activity in Indonesia`s island resort of Bali, Saturday. “The KKP welcomes the cooperation with the Ocean Conservancy Institution to invite various stakeholders to participate in an activity that has a real and direct impact on our coastal and marine environment through the Love of the Ocean Movement,” KKP Director of Marine Space Management Brahmantya  Satyamurti Poerwadi remarked here on Saturday.

The KKP, Bali regional government, Ocean Conservancy Institution, Non-Governmental Organizations, and a total of 1,287 volunteers gathered at the Padang Galak Beach in Bali on Saturday and managed to collect as much as 841.53 kilograms of garbage. The collected waste will then be recorded in the Ocean Conservancy Sea Waste Index, the largest marine waste database in the world. Thousands of similar coastal cleanup activities will also be held simultaneously across the world.

At least 91 locations across Indonesia from Sabang to Merauke also participated in the so-called simultaneous “Sea Facing” activities. The activities, initiated by the KKP along with various civil society organizations and the local government, involved approximately 50 thousand participants and managed to collect some 360 tons of marine     and coastal waste. In addition to clearing waste from the coastal areas, they conducted mangrove planting, coral transplantation, and salt harvesting, as well as provided diving goggles to children and released fish and turtle seeds into the sea. Poerwadi remarked that the handling of marine waste will continue through various activities that can reach more people. “Collaboration with organizations, such as Ocean Conservancy, is helpful for the Indonesian government`s efforts in managing sustainable marine resources, especially in overcoming the problem of plastic waste at sea,” he added. [Antara September 15, 2018].


Indonesia increasing import duties on alcoholic beverages and a host of consumer goods 

Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has made the decision to slow the importation of alcoholic beverages by increasing importation taxes (PPh Impor) applied to such products. CNN Indonesia, reports that Ministerial Decree Number 110 of 2018 stipulates a 7.5% tax be applied on alcoholic beverages. The increased “new” import tax will apply on wine, sake, brandy, whiskey, vodka, arak and bitters.

At the same time, the Government has announced a list of 1,147 consumer products that will also be subject to import taxes. The amount of tax on these consumer good will vary between 2.5 – 10% in order to curb imports while at the same time the Government is promising to monitor instances when the new import tax will represent a negative impact on the local economy where imported goods are needed in the production of domestic products.

Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Enggartiasto Lukta has told the press that in addition to the increased import taxes the Government is taking other steps to curb imports, including changing from a system of “post-border”  inspection of imported goods, such as steel and alcoholic beverages, to inspection at the actual border entry points. [www.balidiscovery.com September 12, 2018].


Two Finish tourists suffer consequences of committing religious outrage during visit to Batukaru temple in Tabanan

Wide segments of Balinese society were angered and outraged when a picture of a foreign tourist was uploaded to the Internet showing a man sitting on an altar (palinggigh) at Bali’s sacred Luhur Batukaru Temple in Tabanan. Balinese society observes strict rules and protocols on behavior, dress, and physical condition for those visiting religious sites. After the Finnish tourist’s picture went viral on the Internet police and members of the community sought to identify the subject of the photo. The man, Jarvi Tony Kristian (37), and his traveling companion, Jouni Kalevi (50), were eventually traced down to their original accommodation at the Bali Villa Nirwana Soka Room in Tabanan and then, after a change of hotel, to the Bali Wirasana in Sanur.

The men were brought to the Tabanan Police Station where police mediated a meeting with the traditional village chief of Wangaya and a group of religious leaders. Kristian and Kalevi offered their sincere apologies for any offence given to the Balinese and agreed to undertake an upacara guru piduka purification ritual. The ceremony was set for Monday, September 17, 2018 (Soma Kliwon Wayang) and will be underwritten at a cost of Rp. 15 million by the two men.

The two travelers turned themselves into a South Denpasar police station on Saturday, September 15th claiming they were worried by threats posted to their Instagram Account. To ensure the men’s safety, police from South Denpasar escorted them to the Tabanan Police Station where mediation discussions were convened.

As reported by NusaBali, during the mediation the men apologized and explained they were unaware that their       actions had offended the religious sensibilities of the Balinese. The offending photograph was taken at around 3:00 pm on Monday, September 9, 2018. They said they registered at the gate of the temple, paying a Rp. 10,000 admissions fee, and were given a sarong and traditional headdress to wear during their visit. Police sources said they investigating to determine if any actual crime was committed by the men.

The Tabanan Police Chief has called on those in charge of religious sites to carefully monitor visitors and provide registered and experienced guides to avoid a reoccurrence of the September 9th incident. Separately, the Deputy-governor of Bali, Tjokorda Artha Ardhana Sukawati, also called for better control and supervision of Balinese temples and for clear instructions and information to be given to tourist visitors. [www.balidiscovery.com September 12, 2018].


Rupiah not yet stable despite slight appreciation: Bank Indonesia

The Indonesian rupiah has not stabilized and there is a risk the currency could fall further due to trade war tension, a deputy governor of Bank Indonesia (BI) said Friday (14/09). Deputy Governor Dody Budi Waluyo told reporters BI was still “guarding the rupiah’s exchange rate” although the currency has appreciated slightly to 14,820 a dollar at 12:55 p.m. on Friday, from 14,940 last week – its lowest level in 20 years.

External conditions continue to be a risk that could further weaken the rupiah, Dody said, adding that the U.S.-China trade war poses more of a risk than contagion from crises in Argentina and Turkey, which is easier to predict. “We still see the exchange rate as not yet stable and is far from its fundamentals,” he said, adding that BI will combine interest rate policy with currency intervention and allow gradual falls in the rupiah to manage the volatility. BI has raised interest rates four times since mid-May to defend the rupiah. [Reuters September 14, 2018]


Indonesia to lower overseas online shopping limit to $75

The Finance Ministry’s Customs and Excise Office has issued a regulation to lower the import limit for online shopping to only US$75 from the initial $100. “The new regulation will take effect on Oct. 10,” said its director general, Heru Pambudi, in Jakarta on Monday as reported by kompas.com. He said the policy was stated in Finance Minister Regulation No 112/PMK.04/2018 on the amendment of Finance Minister Regulation No. 182/PMK.04/2016 on imported goods through delivery.

Heru explained the regulation was issued to prevent the splitting of imported goods worth more than $100. He said his office found that certain importers purchased goods online worth $20,000 by splitting them into 400 transactions worth $100 each. “Our aim is to prevent it from becoming a trend.” To make the new regulation enforceable, Heri said, his office had applied an anti-splitting smart system with certain algorithms to validate and verify parcels sent from abroad. He added that it would also integrate the application system to other applications related to manifest closures, appeal systems and to review the regulation’s enforcement. [The Jakarta Post September 18, 2018]


8 suspects arrested over violent beating leaving university student dead in Denpasar

Eight suspects have been brought into custody for questioning over the death of a Bali university student who was violently assaulted in Denpasar on Monday. Umbu Wedo Gaunglahlo was found brutally beaten in front of a minimarket on Jl. Raya Pemogan in Bali’s capital city Denpasar in the early hours of Monday morning. He was rushed for medical treatment, but succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital. It was originally believed that the 19-year-old was a convenience store employee, but local media has revealed that the teen was actually a university student and at the store to make a purchase.

“The victim turned out to be a student, not a minimarket employee and was following ospek (student orientation),” Bali Post quoted an unidentified source as saying on Thursday. “The trigger (of the attack) was a traffic accident,” the source said. The victim unintentionally crashed into a parked motorbike of a local youth hanging out at the minimarket. This did not go over well. The owner of the bike that Gaunglahlo crashed into, called his friends and together they ganged up on the victim. Criminal Investigation Unit Insp. Hadimastika confirmed that the suspects have been arrested in connection with the young man’s death and that they are still being questioned. “We are still developing the case,” Hadimastika told Bali Post. [Coconuts Bali September 7, 2018]


Indonesia’s Go-Jek seeks to raise $2 bln for Southeast Asia expansion

Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek aims to raise about $2 billion from existin investors, including Tencent Holdings Ltd and JD.com, to fund its expansion plans in Southeast Asia, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. Go-Jek’s fundraising comes as its main rival Singapore-based Grab is also building a war chest to transform itself into a consumer technology group and aggressively grow in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Go-Jek declined to comment. There was no immediate response from Tencent and JD.com when contacted by Reuters. Go-Jek founder and CEO Nadiem Makarim told Reuters last month the company was seeing strong funding interest from its backers as it targets an aggressive expansion. [Reuters September 17, 2018]


Sick New Zealand woman Abby Hartley stuck in Bali has died

The New Zealand woman who fell ill while holidaying in Bali has died, after her   family appealed to the Government to bring her home, The AM Show revealed. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she’s “gutted” mother-of-two Abby Hartley wasn’t able to make it back to New Zealand, telling The AM Show on Tuesday: “I wish I was in a position to have helped.” But she said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) deals with “roughly 200 plus cases of medical emergencies or medical situations every year, and about 3000 New Zealanders are helped every year abroad.” “The really sad thing is that this isn’t an isolated case in assisting New Zealanders overseas,” she said, adding, “There will no doubt be other cases where someone will have sought this kind of assistance.”

Also appearing on The AM Show, ACT leader David Seymour called it a “tragedy” that could have been prevented by cutting government spending. “One of the consequences of that is that the Government finds itself less able to help people in genuine unexpected need and people who give… are less able to do that because so much of their money is paid in tax.” Abby Hartley, 41, was rushed into hospital at the beginning of August after falling ill on her first day in Bali, Indonesia, while on her second honeymoon with husband Richard. [NewsHub September 11, 2018]


Two Chinese tourists saved from drowning at devil tears ‘blow hole” at Nusa Lembongan

Devil Tears “blow hole” on Nusa Lembongan nearly became the scene of a double tragedy on Friday, September 7, 2018, when two Chinese tourists, Li Wei Jun (30) and Zhi Hong (35), nearly drowned after falling from the cliff-side at the popular tourist site. As reported by Tribun-Bali.com the two tourists were busy making a “selfie” when they fell 5-meters into the tumultuous waters at 6:45 am after being struck by a large wave. Fortunately, bystanders came to the assistance of the two by throwing flotation devices and pulling them to safety. The victims were brought to the East Medical Care Office in the Village of Lembongan where they received medical treatment, including attention to cuts and scrapes suffered when they fell down the rock face, and then released to return to the mainland at 9:00 am. [www.balidiscovery.com September 12, 2018]