Bali Pushes for Special Autonomy

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DENPASAR ~ Following a meeting in Jakarta last weekend, the Bali government is formulating a proposal it will present to the central government outlining the reasons why Bali should be granted special autonomy.

Special autonomy for Bali is considered necessary because of the island’s cultural and traditional uniqueness, Governor Dewa Beratha told lawmakers gathered at the Taman Mini Indonesia cultural park in the capital.

Currently, the government in Bali did not have much independent control over the island, he said.

“Therefore we hope to have special autonomy, so we would have more of a role in governing Bali, because right now we’re not able to run Bali” the way we want to, he said.

A special task force comprising Bali lawmakers and legal experts from Udayana University have drawn up a list of 10 points to be presented to the Jakarta government, head of the team Wayan Merta told reporters.

Among them:

– Special autonomy should be discussed with each of Bali’s eight regencies, and their people.

– The request for autonomy is not based on arrogance but rather on a desire to preserve Bali as a national asset and give a positive contribution to the country.

– The autonomy request emphasizes governance at provincial level, considering the small area of Bali.

– It aims to improve the wealth and comparative advantage of the people of Bali while protecting human rights, education, culture and security.

– The composition of the government to include the Bali Parliament as the legislative board and provincial government as the executive board.

– An effective and efficient international-standard security system needs to be established in accordance to the value and culture of Bali.

– A comprehensive academic study of the autonomy request must be conducted involving local lawmakers before the proposal is to be publicized.

“The grand strategy for special autonomy for Bali is based on internalization, introspection, revitalization and consolidation,” said Merta.

There are four regions with special-autonomy status in Indonesia: Jakarta, the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, easternmost Papua and, more recently, oil- and gas-rich Aceh, as part of a pace deal hammered out in 2005 following an end to decades of separatist conflict in the northernmost province.

Special autonomy allows local governments a greater degree of independent decision-making; the designated regions also get to keep a larger percentage of revenue stemming from natural resources or major industries like, in Bali’s case, tourism.

The Bali government points out that it does not get a large enough share of revenues from its key tourism sector. If it got a sufficient amount, lawmakers say, that would enable it to invest more in tourism and therefore develop the industry to a higher level.

The proposal for special autonomy for Bali has gotten the support from former tourism minister Gede Ardika, Bali Military Commander Syaiful Rizal and dozens of Bali community and religious leaders, according to the local government.

DENPASAR ~ Following a meeting in Jakarta, the Bali government was formulating this week a proposal it will present to the central government outlining reasons why Bali should be granted special autonomy.

Special autonomy for Bali is considered necessary because of the island’s cultural and traditional distinctiveness, Governor Dewa Beratha told lawmakers gathered at the Taman Mini Indonesia cultural park in the capital at the weekend.

Currently, the government in Bali did not have much independent control over the island, he said.

“Therefore we hope to have special autonomy, so we would have more of a role in governing Bali, because right now we’re not able to run Bali” the way we want to, he said.

A special taskforce comprising Bali lawmakers and legal experts from Udayana University have drawn up a list of 10 points to be presented to the Jakarta government, head of the team Wayan Merta told reporters.

Among them:

-     Special autonomy should be discussed with each of Bali’s eight regencies, and their people.

-     The request for autonomy is not based on arrogance but rather on a desire to preserve Bali as a national asset and give a positive contribution to the country.

-     The autonomy request emphasizes governance at provincial level, considering the small area of Bali.

-     It aims to improve the wealth and comparative advantage of the people of Bali while protecting human rights, education, culture and security.

-     The composition of the government to include the Bali Parliament as the legislative board and provincial government as the executive board.

-     An effective and efficient international-standard security system needs to be established in accordance to the value and culture of Bali.

-     A comprehensive academic study of the autonomy request must be conducted involving local lawmakers before the proposal is to be publicized.

“The grand strategy for special autonomy for Bali is based on internalization, introspection, revitalization and consolidation,” said Merta.

There are four regions with special-autonomy status in Indonesia: Jakarta, the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, easternmost Papua and, more recently, oil- and gas-rich Aceh, as part of a pace deal hammered out in 2005 following an end to decades of separatist conflict in the northernmost province.

Special autonomy allows local governments a greater degree of independent decision-making; the designated regions also get to keep a larger percentage of revenue stemming from natural resources or major industries like, in Bali’s case, tourism.

The Bali government points out that it does not get a large enough share of revenues from its key tourism sector. If it got a sufficient amount, lawmakers say, that would enable it to invest more in tourism and therefore develop the industry to a higher level.

The proposal for special autonomy for Bali has gotten the support from former tourism minister Gede Ardika, Bali Military Commander Syaiful Rizal and dozens of Bali community and religious leaders, according to the local government.

Mayun Mayura, a doctor at Sanglah General Hospital, was in favor of special autonomy for Bali.

“I don’t know that much about politics, but I support special autonomy because then Bali would have greater independence and be able to organize its revenues better,” he told The Bali Times on Thursday.

Antoni Soepomo, a retired civil servant from Java, agreed.

“I think Bali is ready to have special autonomy because it’s developed enough to be able to handle it, not like places such as Sumba and others in East Nusa Tenggara – people there are still just eating corn to survive.

“Special autonomy in those places would be a disaster. Bali, on the other hand, would do well under special autonomy. It’s already internationally popular. A lot of foreigners know Bali before they even know about Indonesia.”

Comments: editor@thebalitimes.com

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