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Governor Pastika: Time to call a 'Time Out'

Editorial: Balidiscovery.com Appeals to Bali's Governor to Carefully Pause and Reflect Before Allowing Proposed Changes in Property Ownership Rules for Foreigners.

(4/13/2010) With fundamental changes promised in the property laws that may open the doors to foreign ownership of land in Bali and the rest of Indonesia, we call on Bali's hard working governor to declare a "moratorium" – calling a "Time Out" on any changes in property ownership laws in Bali until the matter can be thoroughly and carefully considered by Bali's indigenous citizens.

One Sanur-based expatriate property developer, boasts via a website, seminars, newsletters and weekly radio show that Bali will become "the next Hawaii" with demand increasing by 500% to 1,000% once the law is changed. Such boasts ignore the irrevocable destruction and displacement inflicted on Hawaii's traditional culture by past real-estate booms. It is as though these greedy magnates have forgotten the charm of deeply held traditions that first persuaded them to move to Bali.

As underlined on numerous occasions, we are deeply concerned that Bali's subak and banjar-based societies will prove unable to withstand the full-on assault of cash-rich non-Balinese, both Indonesian and foreign, eager to stake a claim on their own personal piece of paradise.

Lured by quick money with little mind to the long-term consequence, the Balinese are proving to be abysmal stewards of their precious birthright, an island whose charms and natural beauty are quickly losing their luster.

Sad proof that things have seriously gotten out of hand are everywhere. The Islands Rivers are fetid with pollution. Beaches are washing away as surrounding reefs that once protected the island are bombed, pummeled and hauled away. A growing water shortage and over-exploitation of underground water reservoirs are allowing sea water encroachments and turning once-verdant areas of the island into wastelands. Architectural standards that once mandated cosmic balance be maintained in layout and finishes have been abandoned in favor of cement and aluminum monstrosities. Cliff and beach side construction erect barriers to century-old rights-of-way once used by the Balinese for seaside prayer. And, huge billboards, standing three-deep in some areas, provide ironically comic relief to the man-made devastation they camouflage on the horizon.

Governor Pastika, Call a 'Time Out' for Bali

With the International Real Estate Association (FIABCI) conference set to take place in Bali May 24-28, 2010, targeted as the launch date for new liberalized foreign ownership rules for Indonesia, we think that date would also be auspicious for Bali's governor to proclaim "not now, not here and not until the Balinese have a chance to thoroughly consider the matter" as regards foreign property ownership in Bali.

Pak Pastika, there is little to be lost and much to be potentially gained by calling a moratorium and ordering the barbarians at Bali's gates to "hold on to their horses."

In keeping with the legal autonomy put in place in 1999 and intended to allow Bali to decide and determine its own future course, such a moratorium could be used to convene Balinese experts in law, culture and sociology to thoroughly consider how best to preserve and protect Bali for future generations of Balinese.

Om Çanti Çanti Çanti Om ...

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