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B.A.T.'s Mason Asked to Leave Bali

Nigel Mason, a Major Foreign Investor in Tourism Sector, Told to Vacate the Island.

(9/9/2002) The latest chapter in a protracted and acrimonious struggle for corporate control of P.T. Taman Burung Citra Bali, the owning company for the Bali Bird Park, took another turn following a meeting of provincial government officials on Friday, September 6, 2002, which decided to revoke the stay permit of high-profile tourism investor, Nigel Mason.

As reported in the Saturday, September 7th edition of the English language Jakarta Post, Bali's Deputy Governor has revoked the stay permit of Mr. Mason, claiming that by working simultaneously as a Director of both P.T. Bali Adventure Tours (B.A.T.) and the Bali Bird Park he had violated the terms of his working permit. In defense, Mason's lawyers have contended that Bali Adventure Tours is a registered holding company, justifying their client's involvement in directorship of both companies.

Mason, an Australian, together with his Balinese wife, founded a successful river-rafting company in 1989 that has expanded to include helicopter air tours, cycling trips, a surf school, and the Bali Elephant Safari Park. The decision to expel Mr. Mason from Bali has occurred against the backdrop of Mason's struggle for control of the bird park with Mr. Zaenal Thayeb, a well-connected Indonesian businessman who insists that B.A.T. holds no legal right to a share of the popular local tourist attraction.

Both parties to the dispute have undertaken press campaigns in the Bali media to champion their claim on the facility. Last week, a march by local Union Workers on the Immigration offices at Bali's Airport threatened that if Mason was not deported they would undertake an island-wide strike of tourism workers.

Under the terms of the reported agreement for his departure from Indonesia, Mr. Mason has not been formally deported, thereby opening the possibility of his reapplying for a new working permit and his return to Bali in the near future.

The operational managers of B.A.T. advise that despite the absence of their founder and main investor from Bali, the operation of their various tour programs and visitor facilities will continue uninterrupted.

The final determination of the ownership of the Bali Bird Park is expected to be a matter finally determined by the Country's civil courts.