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Xenophobia or Justifiable Mistrust

Badung Lawmakers Concerned that Foreigners are Establishing Illegal Businesses and Working Illegally in Baliís Hotel, Restaurant and Villa Sector

(6/15/2012) Members of the Badung legislature are alleging that foreigners, with the help of locals, are establishing illegal enterprises and evading paying business taxes.

According to Radar Bali, lawmaker Wayan Mendra claims that two of five restaurants recently demolished for zoning violations on Batubelig beach in Kerobokan were in fact owned by Italian and English investors, using a local as a “front” to avoid legal and tax obligations.

Wayan Mendra said that while he supports foreign investment in the Badung regency providing such activities create employment, produce tax revenues and create a multiplier effect for surrounding enterprises. If, however, foreign capital is used to establish unlicensed businesses that don’t pay their fair share of taxes and usurp public lands, such as beach setback zones, then such companies must be viewed as highly destructive.

“Because of this, foreigners who create illegal enterprises must be investigated. Is this a mafia?,” asked Mendra. He urged that the relevant officials investigate the Italian he claims actually owned La Barca and the Englishman who owned Karma Beach Restaurant. Further, he asked if these men perhaps enjoyed backing from immigration, enquiring what type of visa they held? He also asked the Department of Manpower to check if the men held valid working permits.

Mendra said that if the two men violated immigration or labor rules, then they must be punished and face deportation from Indonesia.

Mendra expressed the opinion that there are many foreign nationals working illegally in the Badung regency for hotels, restaurants and villas.

Another member of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung), Made Dharma, agreed that closer supervision was needed by government agencies to avoid the nation from incurring losses imposed by foreigners not following the law.

In connection with the demolishment of five restaurants on Batubelig beach, Dharma issued his thanks to those who enforced the rules, but suggested there were still many other cases awaiting enforcement of the law, mentioning Balangan Beach as a location of an illegal company run by a foreigner.

The head of the Badung Enforcement Agent, Ketut Martha, said that the construction of the subject restaurant at Balangan Beach had been halted. He said while there were no activities at the subject restaurant, there currently no plans to demolish the structure.

“We’ll just watch development,” said Martha.

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