The Right to Know

Bali Anti-Reclamation Forces Demand to See Copy of Letter Written by Bali’s Governor to President Joko Widodo

The Indonesian Forum for Environment (Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia, WALHI) has sent a freedom of information request to Bali’s Governor for a copy of a letter recently sent by the Governor to Indonesian President Joko Widodo demanding that Presidential Decree Number 51 of 2014 be urgently revised as regards the loss of protected conservation area for large tracts of Benoa Bay.

The 2014 decision was rushed through in the final months of the Presidential term of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono removing protected conservation status from a large area of Benoa Bay to pave the way for PT Tirta Wahana Bali Internasional (TWBI), a company controlled by Indonesian businessman Tommy Winata to build a massive tourism complex on reclaimed land in the Bay.

The Executive Director of WALHI Bali, I Made Juli Untung Pratama, told the press that Indonesian laws on press transparency stipulates that every person is entitled to obtain a copy public information requested from a government body. “The law on access and transparency firmly states that all public bodies must prepare information that is accurate, correct, and not misleading. The Governor of Bali, as the executive branch of the Province, is a public body,” said Pratama.

Pratama said it was essential that the public be aware of the letter written by the Governor to President Joko Widodo as a means of demonstrating Governor Wayan Kosters’s serious intent to reject the reclamation of Benoa Bay. Pratama highlighted his concern with the fact that the Governor had previousy statedhe would not seek to change the 2014 Presidential Decree because to do so would affect other areas of Indonesia mentioned in the subject decree.

On Friday, December 28, 2018, Bali’s Governor delivered a letter to the office of President Joko Widodo requesting a revision of Presidential Decree Number 51 of 2014, especially as regards Benoa Bay. The contents of the letter given to the President were not shared with the public, a fact of considerable concern to WAHLI. Pratama said that the people of Bali have fought for more than 5 years to reject the reclamation of Benoa Bay and therefore need to know that Governor Koster is serious in his claims and intentions to also reject the reclamation of Benoa Bay.

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