Bisnis.com reports that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono plans to meet with the president-elect Joko Widodo to discuss the reclamation of Benoa Bay in leadership talks scheduled for September 3, 2014.
The director-general of archipelagoes, coastlines and small islands from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Sudirman Saad, confirmed their planned meeting will explain to the President-elect all large-scale projects under development including the reclamation of Benoa Bay.
Plans are for the President and President elect to jointly launch a whole range of large-scale projects during their coming meeting.
Sudirman added: “Essentially SBY will explain to Jokowi that (Benoa Bat) is a large-scale project that has been planned for a long time. There is an international commitment. There is an investor. Please keep the project moving ahead.”
Sudirman emphasized that the Benoa Bay project with an estimated value of Rp. 30 trillion (US$2.6 billion) will have to meet a number of project requirements to ensure it remains “clean and green.”
Refusing to comment further, Sudirman said: “Just let the President explain directly to Jokowi in the company of the media.”
He did add, however, that the Benoa Bay project fulfilled all the criteria for a “good project.” He went on to explain that major projects must pass a three-phase process clearly designating a suitable investor; clearly identifying its usefulness to the public; and verifying that the project will not harm the environment. Adding: “The main point is the project has met all these criteria.”
Meanwhile, a groundswell of opposition to the Benoa Bay reclamation continues to grow in Bali, rejecting a Presidential Decree signed by SBY on May 30, 2014 that revised an earlier decree of 2011 proclaiming the Benoa Bay and surrounding mangroves as a protected conservation area.
The presidential decree would allow 700 hectares once protected as a conservation zone to be rebuilt into a tourism, sports and recreational complex. The project would be developed by Jakarta businessman Tomy Winata and PT Tirta Wahana Bali International who have promoted the planned redevelopment to create an complex the equal of Walt Disney World in the United States.
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