NAME: I Nengah Mardana
How do you think people overseas see Indonesia?
As an artistic place with an amazing culture.
What are the barriers to development in this country?
There is too much corruption in the government so they keep the money that is supposed to go for development.
Corruption is constantly in the news. Do you think it’s getting worse?
It’s getting worse because too many people are corrupt and people think it’s something normal.
What real steps can be taken to stamp out graft?
Make stronger regulations and enforce them. If the politicians still break the rules, that means the person will always do bad things for the country and some should face the death penalty for stealing from the country.
Some say Indonesia should help mediate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because of its large Muslim population, and President Yudhoyono has signalled an interest. What’s your view?
No, not at the moment because in our country there are still too many problems which are not solved yet.
There’s a view that Bali, in many respects, is unlike anywhere else in Indonesia. Why do you think that is?
Because of the unique art and culture which attract the interest of so many people, not just locals but also foreigners.
One of Bali’s main problems right now is the deadly outbreak of rabies. Stray dogs continue to roam the streets, posing a serious health risk to people. Do you think not enough is being done to counter this crisis, given that almost 60 people have died?
Not enough is being done because people keep dying from rabies; there have been too many cases.
How do you relate to Indonesians from other islands – Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and many more. Is there a common bond between you all?
Yes there is. We are also free about where we want to stay, Balinese can go to Sumatra or Sulawesi and Javanese people come and stay in Bali, so we are mixed.
What’s your view of the legacy of centuries of Dutch rule?
We learnt that it is very important to be united. Indonesia is unity in diversity.
Indonesia has had six presidents since independence in 1945. Which one stands out the most for you, and why?
Suharto, because of the development in Indonesia.
BT/PCARFiled under: Vox Populi