Would an Autonomous Bali Be Better Off?

Tourism and general development in Bali remain concentrated on the southern coast. Data provided by the State Statistic Agency (BPS) reports that state revenues and taxes collected in the Regency of Badung totaled Rp. 3.7 trillion. 

Underlining the disproportionate distribution of development in Bali, compare this Rp. 3.7 trillion figure with Denpasar and the other regencies of the Province, which all report revenues of less than Rp. 1 trillion.

Quoting I Putu Winastra, the chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), says Bali must implement a “One Island One Management” system of management if the Island is unable to secure the establishment of a special autonomous economic region.

I Putu Winastra, Chairman of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA),

Establishing a special autonomous economic zone could follow procedures and protocols resembling the legal structures already in place for Yogyakarta and Jakarta.

Winastra believes a single-island management system would control the currently unbridled rate of development now underway in Bali. 

The Bali-ASITA Chairman commented while speaking at a public meeting conducted by his group recently in Bali.

Winastra claims that Bali’s tourism industry overwhelmingly supports a change of legal status by making Bali an autonomous special economic zone and completely revamping the Island’s Administration management. If this happens, the ASITA chairman said the conflict of interest between various Bali regencies would be eliminated. This change of status, according to Winastra, would help reduce and eliminate economic inequality on the Island.

Winastra said Bali’s widespread desire for economic autonomy will take a lot of work to achieve. Nonetheless, implementing a “one island management system” may prove more accessible, adding: “In the future, permits and licenses should be processed on a single administrative basis.”

“One Island One Management” System for Bali

Meanwhile, Dewa Palguna, a legal academic from Udayana University (Unud), commented that Bali’s current situation would generally become more equitable if it became an autonomous economic zone. Autonomy is challenging to achieve as it would require Denpasar and all the regencies of Bali to surrender power to a central, provincial authority.

Palguna said that if a strong leader autonomously leads the entire island, overall management will improve, allowing Bali to achieve success on a par with what nearby Singapore enjoys. 

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