April 25, 2022
Govt bans palm oil exports, global markets roiled + Aussie's viral video about panhandlers in Kuta prompts Ministerial visit, police crackdown + Illegal concrete factory in Ubud will move + more
Welcome to The Bali Beat for Monday, April 25. In today’s edition: President Widodo announced a ban on all cooking oil exports, sending shockwaves through global markets even as local officials try to address domestic shortages. An Aussie tourist's video complaint about aggressive panhandlers in Kuta goes viral, prompting government officials to visit the area the next day and police to arrest suspects later that night. And the owner of the illegal concrete factory in Ubud has said that he will move his facility, but has asked for locals' "patience." Scroll down for the full wrap on what has been happening in Bali and Indonesia since you last heard from us.
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In observance of the Idul Fitri holiday, which runs from Friday, April 29 through Friday, May 6, we will go dark next week. We will return with new issues on Monday, May 9.
Weather & Tides
Today’s Weather for Southern Bali
Daily Covid Update
Note: At this point, the 23rd day of the month, April’s total number of cases reported (806) is on pace with January- just before the Omicron wave arrived in force. In February, the monthly total would hit a pandemic high of 35,724. This month, if the daily average of new cases that has been consistent for the last 10 days holds steady (25-27 per day) then we could see fewer than 1,000 cases tracked. The number of people in treatment/isolation is at its lowest point since January 21, though the government maintains a total of 53 referral hospitals and 6 isolation centers with a capacity of 739 beds across the island.
The Big News
"Indonesia bans palm oil exports as global food inflation spikes" from Reuters: Indonesia, the world's top palm oil producer, announced plans to ban exports of the most widely used vegetable oil on Friday, in a shock move that could further inflame surging global food inflation. The halting of shipments of the cooking oil and its raw material, widely used in products ranging from cakes to cosmetics, could raise costs for packaged food producers globally and force governments to choose between using vegetable oils in food or for biofuel. Indonesia counts for more than half of global palm oil supply... Indonesia's President Joko Widodo said he wanted to ensure the availability of food products at home, after global food inflation soared to a record high following Russia's invasion of major crop producer Ukraine. "I will monitor and evaluate the implementation of this policy so availability of cooking oil in the domestic market becomes abundant and affordable," he said.
Context: Indonesia is the source for more than half of the world’s supply of palm oil. As a result, the global market for edible oils shuddered at this news, with soybean oil prices jumping 4.5% on the day and 50% so far this year. Indonesia's Finance Minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati acknowledged that the export ban is "harsh" and that it would "hit the other countries," but previous measures, such as production quotas and a cap on bulk prices, had failed to produce "the level of prices that we want. It's still too expensive for the ordinary household to buy those cooking oils." Meanwhile, the country's farmers' union hailed the move, saying that it appreciated the government's "temporary ban," blaming palm oil companies of "forgetting their duty to fulfill domestic needs." As the rule does not go into force until April 28, there was no news over the weekend on any material effects of the export ban on domestic supplies or prices. Here in Bali, in response to last week’s news of markets in Karangasem running out of cooking oil, officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade descended on West Amlapura Market, East Amlapura Market, and Amlapura Karangsokong Market and distributed 5,400 kiloliters of price-controlled oil to sellers there. In Badung, the regency government's Food and Regional Inflation Control Task Forces conducted an inspection on a cooking oil production facility to ensure that supplies are not disrupted during the Eid holiday.
"Viral Bule Claims to be Harassed in Kuta, Allegedly Related to Beach Traders" from Detik (Indonesian): The viral video of a Caucasian complaining about being harassed at Kuta Beach, Badung, Bali, is allegedly related to the presence of beach traders. The blonde-haired woman was allegedly annoyed by the presence of beach traders who forced her to buy their wares. "Yes, I have heard from the complaints that occurred, there was even coercion of tourists from hawkers there. We have coordinated with the Bendesa," Bali Deputy Governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati (Cok Ace) told reporters. He asked all tourism components to pay attention to the incident and it is hoped that the resolution will be a shared responsibility. For him, currently still in a vulnerable situation. "Because this social condition is very vulnerable than before. We are in a difficult situation for two years now when there are so few tourists, there must be something we need to anticipate."
Context: This story dominated local media over the weekend; you can view the full video here. Initially, Kuta Traditional Village Administrator Adat Kuta Wayan Wasista said that he wasn't sure whether the video was actually recorded on Kuta Beach, or if the woman had actually been harassed. "If they feel disturbed, they will certainly record the person. This is not what they are recording." He said that he wanted to "investigate" the claims and that he wanted evidence from tourists who felt harassed. Later, the Head of the Badung Tourism Office, I Nyoman Rudiartha, acknowledged the issue and said that the problem stemmed from panhandlers who are normally spread out across the island having focused their efforts on Kuta and the newly-arrived tourists there, often utilizing children. As a result, he would coordinate outreach efforts with the Women's Child Protection Commission. The news also garnered the attention of Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, who visited Kuta Beach on Saturday to meet with vendors and evaluate the situation and ask locals to "be patient. We ask the economic actors not to do activities that make tourists uncomfortable." This all comes amid a sharp rise in arrests of panhandlers throughout the region, including dozens of “repatriations” of women and (mostly) children to their home regencies, including a raid in Kuta Saturday night, just a few hours after the government officials’ visit to the area (see story below).
"Concrete Factory Admits Not Getting Permit, Asks For Understanding Due to Economic Situation" from Bali Express (Indonesian): The Government of Gianyar Regency is no longer issuing or extending permits for concrete factories in the Ida Bagus Mantra Bypass Road area, Gianyar. This was also acknowledged by the Concrete Plant Manager of PT Sinar Bali Bina Karya, Wayan Mahardika. He did not deny when he said his business did not get a permit extension. So now they are trying to find another location. "Indeed, the Regent did not allow an extension at that location, and we are currently trying to find a new location," he said... However, his party cannot simply leave his business in the IB Mantra Bypass, Gianyar District which is actually a tourism area. Because the current economic situation is difficult. “With the current economic situation, we hope that all parties can understand. Because just surviving is quite difficult, how can you keep employees so they can still receive salaries, other obligations how to pay taxes to the government and the uncertainty of the current business world which is quite heavy," he explained.
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"Dozens of Squatters and Illegal Traders In Kuta Were Arrested" from The Bali Post (Indonesian): According to the Head of the Badung Regency Civil Service Police Unit (Satpol-PP), I Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara, out of a total of 16 people, 4 are traders. They sell on the street and on the sidewalk in the Kuta beach area. Meanwhile, as many as 12 flat people under the guise of selling tissues or other merchandise, which can be said to be brandishing. It is very regretful that of all those arrested, it turns out that some of them are 15 years old... “Unfortunately, there are some of them who are 15 years old, and take babies. So much so that they invite their babies to squeeze and sell at the same time. Of these 12 people, all of them come from regencies in eastern Bali," said Suryanegara, who was directly involved in this control. Henceforth, according to the SOP, the Satpol PP will collect data and confirm their addresses for administration. They will be handed over to the Social Service, to be given guidance, then 1×24 hours are processed and will be sent back to their area of origin.
Context: This action in Kuta came just hours after Sandiaga Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, and I Nyoman Rudiartha, head of the Badung Tourism Office, made a visit to the area in response to the viral video posted by an Australian woman complaining about aggressive panhandlers in the area. (See story above.) It also follows similar arrests last week that saw 10 children who tourists had lodged complaints against for aggressive panhandling rounded up by police. Over in Karangasem, Social Service officials announced the return to the regency of 36 people who'd been picked up by police in other areas of the island for panhandling. It was the second such announcement in a week.
"Arrears of Quarantine Fees in Bali Reach IDR 2.9 Billion, This is the Task Force's Explanation" from Bali Express (Indonesian): There are widely circulated issues regarding the use of Ready-to-Use Funds (DSP) sourced from the central government (APBN). Which is channeled through the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) during this Covid-19 pandemic. One of the uses of the DSP is to finance quarantine hotels for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and people without symptoms (OTG). Rentin also explained that the total DSP to be paid to hotels in Bali was Rp. 27.6 billion, but the funds that had just been received were Rp. 24.7 billion. So there is still a shortage (arrears) of Rp. 2.9 billion. The DSP application process goes through a mechanism, namely the submission of a proposal, and a review is carried out by the Bali Provincial Representative Office of the BPKP.
Province: "5,100 Bali Police Personnel Deployed for Security on Eid Al-Fitr 2022" from Suara Bali (Indonesian)
Province: "18,000 tourists are predicted to visit Bali during the long Eid holiday" from Tribun Bali (Indonesian)
Province: "The government eases visas and entry fees for GPDRR Bali participants" from Antara (Indonesian)
Province: "Thousands of Delegates Come to Bali, 2022 GPDRR Security Divided into Three Zones" from Tribun Bali (Indonesian)
Badung: "July, Bali to host women's cricket U-19 World Cup qualifiers" from Antara (Indonesian)
Bangli: "Kintamani Admission Prices Reduced" from Bali Discovery
Bangli: "Mount Batur Area Potential for Paragliding" from The Bali Post (Indonesian)
Karangasem: "A number of tourist objects in Karangasem are listed on the agenda for the visit of the G20 Delegation" from Bali Puspa News (Indonesian)
"Dog Rescuer in Bali Becomes Fugitive; A Rp 50 Million Reward is offered for those who find this woman" from Suara Bali (Indonesian): Viral on Twitter social media, a woman from Palu [alias "ANTM"] who used to live in Bali is now being hunted by many parties, especially dog lovers. Even holding a competition for those who find it will be given Rp 50 million. This is because the woman is suspected of having neglected the dog that was entrusted to her. The discovery made by the BAWA team, at ANTM's residence, has found seven dog skeletons and three dying. After being traced by the Animal Hope Shelter (AHS) investigation team, the 10 dogs belonged to foreign nationals (WNA) who were entrusted to ANTM. "There are 35 dogs in total, 2 weeks ago he was still in Tabanan Bali and told his friend that he was going back to Palu. He has brought some dogs to Palu (whether it's true or not)," said Twitter user @Mei2Namaku. Until now, the whereabouts of ANTM is still unknown for this irresponsible act. However, it is suspected that he is currently hiding in Bali.
Nation: "Gov't makes booster shots mandatory for Eid homecoming travelers" from Antara
Nation: "One Million Booster Vaccine Program reaches 72.38% of target" from Antara
Province: "Booster Vaccine Achievements in Bali Reach 62.1%, the Highest in Indonesia" from Bali Express (Indonesian)
Denpasar: "City government: booster vaccine in Denpasar reached 78.9%" from Antara (Indonesian)
Denpasar: "Again Dozens of People Netted In Discipline Prokes in Ubung Kaja" from Bali Prawara (Indonesian)
Tabanan: "Tabanan Police Open Vaccine Outlets 1 Million Booster Vaccinations Simultaneously Ahead of Eid Al-Fitr 1443 H" from Bali Prawara (Indonesian)
Business, Economy & Infrastructure
"PLN Accelerates Completion of Electricity Infrastructure in Bali" from Radar Bali (Indonesian): PLN succeeded in completing line 2 with the Ship - Tanah Lot - Antosari route along 46.64 circuit kilometers (kms) in 17 days; much faster than originally planned for 33 days. Previously, PLM had completed an increase in conductor capacity (reconducting) on line 1 at the end of last month. "Not only to support the G20 event, this infrastructure optimization is also carried out to increase customer satisfaction," said General Manager of PLN's Eastern Java and Bali Transmission Main Unit (UIT JBM) Didik F. Dakhlan.
Nation: "State revenue from upstream oil, gas industry reaches $4.4 billion" from Antara
Province: "26 Ships Will Serve Travelers Crossing Bali and Lombok" from Bisnis Bali (Indonesian)
Denpasar: "Anticipating Garbage Piling Up Again, Checking at TPS Continues to be Done" from Bali Puspa News (Indonesian)
NTP: "Chinese Investors Will Invest Rp100 Billion to Build Cable Car in Lombok" from Bisnis Bali (Indonesian)
"Foreigners Make Nude Videos in Mount Batur Area, Bali Kemenkumham Regional Office Will Take Strict Action" from Bali Prawara (Indonesian): A foreign citizen who made a disturbing video (without clothes), had gone viral on social media. The video, allegedly made in the area of Mount Batur, Kintamani, Bangli Regency. The Bali Ministry of Law and Human Rights Regional Office through the Immigration Office Class I TPI Denpasar, Sunday 24 April 2022, ordered the Denpasar Kanim Intelligence Section Team, to check the immigration data related to these foreigners through the Immigration Information System. It was found that Jeffrey Douglas Craigen was reapplying the OnShore Visa for Visiting Stay Permit, and the passport in question was with the guarantor. The foreigner's passport was then secured by the Denpasar Kanim Intelligence Section Team and asked the guarantor to contact the foreigner to cooperate with him in coming to the Denpasar Immigration Office, on Monday 25 April 2022. The Head of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Bali, Jamaruli Manihuruk, said that if the results of the examination of the foreigner were proven to have committed a violation, an Immigration administrative action would be given, in the form of deportation.
"Recent Earthquake of 3.3 Magnitude Shakes Gianyar Bali" from iNews Bali (Indonesian)
"Bali Hotelier Utut Irawan Dies at 82" from Bali Discovery
"Again, Tourists Talking on Social Media Become Victims of Robbery in Seminyak, Kuta" from Radar Bali (Indonesian)
"Foreign troublemaker and ex-blasphemer deported from Bali" from Radar Bali (Indonesian)
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How You Can Help Bali
Due to the collapse of the tourism sector in Bali, tens of thousands of families have found themselves with a greatly reduced income—if any. If you’d like to support organizations working to help those in need, you can see a list of some here.