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Baliís Iconoclastic Governor

Bali Governor Risks an Official Rebuke and Declares His Solidarity with Students Protesting Proposed Fuel Price Increases

(3/30/2012) Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika took the unusual step of declaring his solidarity with university student opposing the government’s plan to increase the price of fuel.

According to Beritabali.com, the governor made his statement on Thursday, March 29, 2012, while receiving a group of around 60 university students who were moments before demonstrating outside his office protesting a proposed 33% increase in fuel prices.

Pastika said everyone rejects increases in fuel prices because any increase will have an impact on the price of basic commodities and the buying power of the general public.

Pastika was quick to add that despite his or any local rejection of the fuel price increase, the final decision on future fuel costs rests entirely with the central government and national legislators.

“If I reject (the increase) what does it mean? It's people there (Jakarta) who conduct the meetings; they are the ones holding discussions right now; so let them take a decision which is best for the Indonesian public,” said Pastika.

The governor’s comments contrast sharply with instructions issued by the Minister of the Interior forbidding provincial leaders from taking part in activities opposed to the increase in fuel prices. Pastika told the press he had yet to see the subject instruction from the Minister.

A Fuller Explanation

In a separate report from Beritabali.com, governor Pastika said he was prepared to explain his opposition to an increase in fuel prices sought by the government. If necessary, Bali’s governor said he would respond to any summons from the Minister of the Interior to explain his actions, if such a summons was made.

Pastika said he would explain his position to the Minister. But, in any case, his administration has already taken a number of anticipatory steps to soften the impact of any eventual fuel price increase.

His administration had taken steps to deal with any shortage of fuel in Bali that might result from an increase in fuel costs.