Remember that shirtless American who accused Ubud police officers of wanting to steal money from him when they stopped the guy for not wearing a safety helmet?
Well, you know it is serious when Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, known for his immense influence in President Joko Widodo’s administration, quotes the guy and uses it as an example of why there should be stricter regulations for foreign nationals entering Bali.
Including imposing a tax on tourists.
“After watching the video, I addressed all related ministries and departments that we cannot let anyone underestimate Indonesia,” Luhut said in a post on his official Instagram account.
“We cannot stay silent toward violations of law especially when they insult public institutions [at the same time].”
The minister, known to many Indonesians as “Lord Luhut”, has played a huge role in shaping some of the country’s biggest policies, many of which extend beyond his ministerial portfolio, such as those related to Indonesia’s COVID-19 crisis management.
The Instagram post refers to a clip that went viral mid-March in which a shirtless and tattooed man can be seen arguing with police officers after they stopped him for not wearing a helmet in Ubud.
The man, later identified as an American named Bryan Ronald William, claimed that he did not see police officers stopping locals who were not wearing helmets.
“You want to steal money,” he yelled at the cops.
William reportedly left Bali for Singapore the very next day after the video went viral.
Commenting on the video and the increasing number of unruly foreign nationals in Bali in general, Luhut said that it is high time for the authorities to put a focus on enforcing the law and for Bali to refocus on transforming the island from a mass tourism destination to a quality tourism destination.
“Furthermore, I also request for the implementation of a tax on tourists entering Indonesia to be realized immediately. This incentive will be very useful for financing destination development and tourism promotion, as has been implemented in several countries that have large tourism industries,” he added.
“I also request that an assessment be conducted immediately for a disincentive policy for foreign nationals from several countries who are often problematic. This is important to be done so that incoming tourists are well-selected.”
Luhut said that, according to the government’s data, Bali is one of the world’s cheapest tourist destinations.
“This has encouraged many low-income foreign visitors to come to Bali, leading to a rise in unruly behavior,” he said.
The senior minister also quoted data from the Travel Tourism Development Index 2021, citing that foreign travelers spend less money in Indonesia in comparison to other countries that offer quality tourism.
This is not the first time Lord Luhut has focused on the issue of problematic foreigners in Bali. Just last month, he called for police to crackdown on them, saying “We do not need naughty tourists in Bali.”
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