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Uluwatu Controversy Awaits Bali's New Governor

Bali's New Governor Made Mangku Pastika Will Inherit the Headache of What to Do with Uluwatu's Illegal Villas.

(7/12/2008) Radar Bali predicts that Bali's governor elect, Made Mangku Pastika, will inherit the thorny problem of how to deal with the highly controversial problems of villas constructed within the 5 km "no-build" zone surrounding the sacred Pura Uluwatu and villas violating set back rules from Bali's coastline.

Pastika’s inauguration as Bali's Chief executive will take place on August 1, 2008.

The Coordinator of the Alliance of Concern for Bali's Homeland (APPB), Mandiranatha, said they hope that Bali’s current governor Dewa Beratha would address this problem before he leaves office, "We still have a great hope the Dewa Beratha will issue a firm policy to deal with the encroachments on the sacred area of Uluwatu."

Mandiranatha admits, however, that it is increasingly unlikely that Beratha will deal with the problem in his time remaining as Bali's governor. Mandiranatha, who is also a member of the local House of Representatives, said "we hope that Mangku Pastika will have the courage to make a firm and correct ruling, especially as it relates to sacred areas." Adding: "I still remember hearing Pak Mangku saying (during his campaign) that he will apply the rules in place. Hopefully, local regulations that have been trampled over by the Badung administration will now become regulations applied without favor or prejudice."

Mandiranatha said he was confident that Mangku Pastika has a moral commitment to protect Bali's culture and the Hindu faith. He feels that the new governor will protect palaces and sacred areas with rules that favor the island of Bali. Adding: "If the current situation is allowed to continue, don’t say that Bali is still safe. If the sacredness of our temples is up for sale, I am sure that Pak Mangku Pastika understands the implications of this problem."

In the meantime, the People's Democratic Party for Struggle (PDIP) faction in the Bandung House of Representatives are again turning their attention to the problems of illegal building in Uluwatu. The Chairman of the PDIP faction, Nyoman Giriprasta said that one of the pieces of "homework" remaining for the legislature is to finally resolve the issue of the sacred radius surrounding Pura Uluwatu.

Explained Giriprasta, "In accordance with our plan. We will soon schedule the summoning of villa owners." Among the first owners to be called will be the owner of Villa Suluban, generally considered to have flagrantly violated setback rules by constructing too close to the ocean's edge and failing to meet local licensing and permit requirements for commercial accommodation.

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