Rock star, youth worried about Bali tourist mess

Highly popular rock star, I Gede Ari Astina, popularly known as JRX, criticized the unruly development of tourism in Bali, especially in his hometown, Kuta. The drummer of SID, or Superman Is Dead, and the vocalist of Devildice, JRX expressed his concerns during a gathering with Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika and the Balinese people on Saturday. “We demand the government limit development in Kuta and strictly enforce regional regulations that stipulate all properties being developed have at least 30 percent Balinese character,” JRX said in the gathering.

Speaking on behalf of traditional youth organizations from Kuta’s 13 hamlets, JRX revealed the local youths’ seven points of concern, all related to how Kuta’s development as a world tourist destination had brought negative impact instead of the expected economic growth over the years. For the first point, JRX highlighted the urgency to protect local business against the onslaught of giant international corporations with powerful capital.

“The government should realize that there is no way that a local family owned business could compete against these multinationals and regulations must be made to ensure that the locals and local companies could thrive, as well as to limit the number of foreign investments in the area,” he said to the applause of dozens of representatives from the youth organizations. JRX, who is a resident of Pering hamlet in Kuta, said that nowadays law enforcement officers no longer prioritized the security interests of the local residents.

“The police often just rely on the residents’ own efforts to secure Kuta. How can we, the local residents, develop our own capacity to compete against foreign businesses, if every night we have to patrol the region for security?” Due to the lax attitude among police personnel, today, more and more nightclubs and bars in Kuta violate the 2 a.m. closing regulation, neglecting the local residents’ right to enjoy sufficient rest. Moreover, there are tourism establishments that still carry out a discriminative policy against the locals.

JRX pointed out how most of the local businesses in Kuta, like the nightclubs, had become powerless when competing against tourism businesses owned by expats. JRX urged the government to create programs to develop local potential in other sectors in Bali, aside from tourism. “The locals can only think of finding work in hotels, becoming security guards, while many of these locals are actually talented in writing, arts and fashion,” said JRX, arguing that the Kuta people had become victims of “tourism slavery”.

JRX hoped for some kind of regulation to limit the type of visitors and the numbers of taxis that overcrowded the area. “Many young tourists visit Kuta and think they could do anything and get away with it. They drink alcohol until they are drunk, and express their freedom in other ways, which later on grabs headlines in international media and further degrades the image of Kuta,” said JRX.

“All those concerns are true,” Governor Pastika said, replying to JRX. Pastika promised that although the authority for permit issuance to curb the construction of accommodation properties lay on the shoulders of the regency administrations, he continued to seek support from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to implement the hotel construction moratorium in the southern part of Bali.

“The administration needs to impose more tax and higher tariffs for hotel rooms that now can be priced as cheaply as Rp 200,000 [US$20.54]per night.” “Believe me, this gathering will not be wasted. I will write a letter to the head of Bali Police and I will forward your concerns about security in Kuta to him,” said Pastika.

source : bali daily

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