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Seeking a Zone Safe for Reasoned Discussion

Bali Lawyers and Journalists Join Forces to Foster a Dialogue to Avoid Heightened Conflict in Continuing Zoning Law Conflict.

(3/7/2011) The growing community conflict over Bali's new zoning law (RTRW) has many on the island worried that the conflict could escalate into civil conflict between those who support the new law and those who wish to halt the current laissez-faire approach to the island's development.

The fear of potential horizontal conflict ahead for Bali has prompted a concerned group of lawyers from the Denpasar Lawyers Club (DLC) and journalists from the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) to attempt to mediate the current polemic. As reported by Beritabali.com, the two groups are convening those in support and those opposed to the RTRW at a seminar entitled "Keeping Public Peace Amidst the Debate over Bali's RTRW."

The president of the DLC, Nyoman Sudiantara, said on March 2, 2011: "Bali, which is often identified as synonymous with beauty, security and harmony - has been disrupted by how land has been used economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. The new zoning law of 2009 (RTRW) has met protests from both the public and the regents/mayors across Bali. This has the be finally resolved in order that Bali's future development can continue."

The chairman of AJI in Denpasar, Rofiq Hasan, who will chair the planned seminar, added that the one-day seminar will present acknowledged experts in the field of zoning from both Bali and across Indonesia.

Among those speaking is the Director General of Public Planning from the national government, Iman S. Ernaw. From Bali, the organizers plan to invite Dr. Ketut Sudiarta to address the legal aspects of zoning; Bagus Sudibya, a Balinese tourism figure to speak to the economic impact of zoning issues; Putu Rumawan Silain, an expert on zoning and Mpu Jaya Prema Ananda who will discuss the social-cultural implications. Serving as the moderator will be Dewa Palguna a constitutional jurist and a PhD candidate in the field of government administration.

Rofiq told the press that the planned seminar will be held on March 11, 2011, a date chosen to coincide with the celebration of the signing of the SuperSemar document in 1966 which ostensibly ended widespread social conflicts during the fall of Indonesia's first president Sukarno.

"We will embrace the desires of various parties and the opinions of experts. We will present our findings to policymakers for their consideration. Hopefully, this problem will soon be resolved and all parties can once again work together in a peaceful condition," added Rofiq.

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