Even Benoa Bay’s recent official “sacred area” designation by Balinese high priests is apparently not enough to get Bali’s governor to step in and actually do something about the Dubai-esque reclamation proposed for the area.
Not that anyone expected any differently of him…
Basically using the old “it’s not in my power to do anything” angle, Governor Made Mangku Pastika is saying Benoa Bay is a national strategic area and that Bali’s provincial government does not have the authority to spare Benoa from reclamation. His point being that while he has some control over permits, it was Presidential Decree 51/2014 instated by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that removed Benoa from protective zoning, so there’s nothing he can do to revoke the resolution and change the conservation area status.
“It’s a national strategic area, regencies cannot (do anything), the province also cannot. I cannot as the local government, if I unplugged the rules above me, it would be insurgency (insubordination), that’s not allowed,” said Pastika, defending himself, on Tuesday, as quoted by Tribun Bali.
On Saturday, high priests of Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI), the country’s leading authority on Hinduism, issued an edict (bhisama) designating Benoa Bay as a sacred area. While the sentiment expressed in the edict is nothing new and local Balinese have long regarded the area as sacred, its publicity has been giving people a lot of hope that appealing to the sanctity of the area will be the tipping point to prevent the reclamation from happening.
Though it seems it wasn’t enough to sway the governor to be an ‘insurgent’.
Pastika said that he hadn’t yet read the order, with an interesting explanation. “Like I often say, every inch of land in Bali is sacred. The problem is, that as a Hindu, I obey bhisama,” but he said he’s also obliged to follow national policy too. Well guess that puts him in quite a pickle then.