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Sacred Lands Should be Tax Free

Bali Government Asked to Make Lands in No-Build Zones Surrounding Religious Sites Tax Exempt.

(4/18/2011) A broad-based coalition of individuals and organizations supporting the implementation of the 2009 Bali Zoning Law (RTRW) has called on the government to exempt lands falling with the sacred "no-build" zone surrounding major religious sites to be exempted from property taxes.

As reported by Bisnis Bali, those making the call include the rector of Udayana University Prof. Dr. dr. I Made Bakta; the chairman of the Bali Forum of Rectors of Higher Education Institutions Prof. Dr. dr. Wayan Wita; the chairman of the Association of Private Schools of Higher Education (APTISI) Prof. Dr. I Gde Sri Dharma; the head of Main Assembly of Traditional Villages (MUDP) Jro Mangku Gde Suwena Putus Upadesa; and the chairman for the enforcement of Bhisama from the Hindu High Council of Bali (PHDI) Drs. I Ketut Wiana.

The influential grouping is asking the government to reduce what they see as an unfair tax burden resulting from the implementation of the RTRW on landowners who are restricted in the commercial use of their lands.

Addressing the problem of buildings standing with the 5 kilometer "no-build zone," the group put forward the suggestions that private residences that do not offend the sanctity of religious site be allowed to remain while current commercial operations be allowed to remain only until the expiration of their current licenses and permits. They also called for strict enforcement against illegal buildings now standing without benefit of required permits and licenses.

Meanwhile, the governor of Bali Made Mangku Pastika issued his thanks to the many members of the Balinese public who are supporting his efforts to implement and enforce the RTRW. The governor pledged he will continue his drive to enforce the new zoning regulation as the new law fulfills all necessary legal requirements and is needed to guarantee Bali's future sustainability.