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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Bali Legislators Consider Declaring Smoke Free Zones.

(7/22/2011) Members of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) have been meeting with community, business, medical and religious leaders to discuss the introduction of “smoke free zones” in public areas of Bali.

Efforts to delay the discussion the implementation of the Public Health Law of 2009 by the Mandara Jaya Party have come to naught; failing to gain needed support from  the remaining parties in the House who wish the discussion to proceed.

At hearings held at DPRD-Bali, representatives of the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) have accused Bali of being late in introducing “smoke free zones” mandated by the 2009 law. The doctors point to other areas of Indonesia who have already created rules governing public smoking including Bogor, Palembang and the capital of Jakarta.

As reported by NusaBali, other segments of Balinese society attended the House hearings to support anti-smoking legislation in Bali. Bagus Sudibya, representing the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), voiced his organization's full support for the proposed rules. Such rules, he said, would meet the demands of many tourists coming to Bali requesting hotels with smoke-free rooms and smoke-free public areas.

Al Purwa, also representing ASITA, called on hotels to remove ashtrays from hotel rooms and their lobbies. He also said that smoke must also be outlawed in all tourist transport.

A Hindu religious leader from Badung, Gusti Bakti Yasa, said that he hoped any final rules would only seek to limit smoking at Balinese temples and not outlaw smoking altogether at religious sites. He is urging legislators to limit any smoking ban to the main halls of temples, while still allowing people to smoke in the outlying and less sacred areas of a temple complexes.

One House member, Cokorda Gde Budi Suryawan, questioned the commitment of Bali’s regents and mayors in addressing the issue of no-smoking areas. He fears that any provincial law on smoking will go the way of Bali’s 2009 Zoning law (RTRW) with regents choosing to ignore the provincial law to make their own rules.

Enforcement of any potential no-smoking law was also discussed. While the national law calls for fines of up to Rp. 50 million (US$5,700) the courts in other areas of Indonesia are in reality only imposing fines of Rp. 20,000 (US$2.30).