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Do Balinese Get a Fare Share of the Development Pie?

Bali Post Surveys Shows Many Doubt Proposed New Buleleng Airport will Improve the Lot of the Balinese.


Bali News: Do Balinese Get a Fare Share of the Development Pie?
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(1/22/2011)

A poll conducted by the Bali Post shows a high degree of pessimism among Bali residents regarding a proposed new international airport to be built in Gerogak, Buleleng, North Bali. While respondents acknowledge that such a facility deserves public support because it will speed economic development in north Bali by increasing tourist numbers, many expressed the dour view that a new airport will bring little economic benefit to Bali's endemic population.

Many respondent told Bali Post pollsters that they were pessimistic, fearing the construction of the airport will bring benefits only to capitalists haling from outside the island.

The survey conducted over an entire week in Bali via telephone interviews showed that 42% of the respondents supported the construction of a north Bali airport. The respondents said, however, that the rapid development of north Bali must be supported by an adequate infrastructure. Respondent also offered the opinion that before any new airport is built, rules on zoning with strict terms of enforcement most be established.

When respondents were asked if they agreed with the construction of an airport in north Bali, 38% of those responding said they disagreed with the project, calling instead for an optimization of the current air gateway of Ngurah Rai International Airport in south Bali.

Respondent also told pollsters that the development of north Bali's economy could perhaps be better achieved by improving roads and introducing more effective transportation systems. Others expressed concerns that an airport in the north would only serve to accelerate zoning violations through the resulting increase in of capital and aggressive demand for land to accommodate housing estates. Some worried that land originally set aside for forest conservation would be sacrificed to make way for the excesses visited by a new airport in the north.

Meanwhile, 20% of all respondents had little opinion on development issues, claiming they were confused by the number and range of ideas circulating with little evidence of concrete forward movement.

When respondent were asked: According to you, will the rate of economic and tourism growth resulting from the construction of a new airport in Bali be enjoyed by the people of Bali? The public was split in responding with 32% saying a north Bali airport will bring enjoyment to the Balinese, at the very least providing employment for the masses. However, only 37%of those responding thought the Balinese will benefit from a new airport. They told pollsters that the benefits of the project would go to those holding substantial capital reserves hailing from outside Bali.

In support of this pessimistic view, Bali Post pointed to tourism development on the island's south where most business owners and investors are from outside Bali. For this reason, many respondents called for better planning and thorough study before any large-scale development projects are allowed to proceed. 31% of those interviewed said they did not understand how businesses compete or the underlying causes for the widespread collusion,violations of the laws and close relationships between those "special relationships" with those who control the investment process. Because of this, 31% of the respondents were deemed apathetically uninterested in politics.

Some of the Surveys Results

When pollsters were asked if they agreed with plans to build a new international standard airport in Bali:

• 42% agreed

• 38% disagreed

• 20% said they didn't understand the question.

When asked if the development of a north Bali airport would be enjoyed by the people of Bali:

• 32% agreed

• 37% disagreed

• 31% had no opinion on the subject.


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