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ISSUE 16

FESTIVAL TIME IN LOMBOK!

FESTIVAL OF COLOUR AND SOUND

LOMBOK-AUSTRALIA DIRECT FLIGHTS?

HATTEN WINES MEETS LOMBOK SCENE

WORLD CHAMPIONS DANCE IN LOMBOK

GOODBYE AND GOOD LUCK TIWI!

THERE'S GOLD IN THEM HILLS!

THE LOMBOK GUIDE GETS AROUND!

LOCAL SCENE

I CLIMBED THE VOLCANO!

NEW RULES FOR INDONESIAN AIRLINES

CHANGES IN FISCAL TAX LAW

GOVERNMENT TO BUILD NEW MANDALIKA BYPASS

LOMBOK HAS A NEW GOVERNOR

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FESTIVAL TIME IN LOMBOK!

Welcome to The Lombok Guide – Lombok's complete tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer. The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every fortnight and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island. Use the Guide to explore Lombok and check out the best hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing options, to make your Lombok holiday special.

Once a year, Lombok holds a very special festival to showcase the island's diverse and fascinating cultural traditions. The Senggigi Festival starts on 19 July and is a week long event filled with exciting exhibitions by talented musicians, dancers and traditional performers from around Lombok and Sumbawa. Join the crowd in the Senggigi Square and enjoy free performances every day. See our article on page 10 for details.

As we start the high season in Lombok, the weather is perfect with warm sunny days, fresh sea breezes and cool nights. If you are in Bali, escape the crowds and the heat with a getaway to Lombok. Spend the days dreaming by the pool or stake out a patch on your own private beach. If you're looking for a challenge, now is the best time to climb Lombok's famous volcano, Mt Rinjani, or maybe learn to scuba dive on one of the idyllic Gilis. Action and adventure, culture and tradition, rest and relaxation… Lombok has it all!

With issue 16 of The Lombok Guide, our paper has grown to a massive 52 pages! To coincide with our growth, we have also increased our print run from 1000 copies to 1500 copies every two weeks… so many people are reading our paper, we couldn't keep up with supplies! Now you can pick up a copy of your favourite tourism guide at all important locations throughout Lombok, as well as at Merpati check in counters in Bali, Dili and Kuala Lumpur, or on board Gili Cat, or at selected locations around Bali.

Pick up a copy or visit us on the web soon at www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself … like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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FESTIVAL OF COLOUR AND SOUND

Every year the island of Lombok hosts an amazing cultural event known as the “Senggigi Festival”, although it could be named the “Lombok Festival”, as the Festival showcases the best of arts and culture to be found on this fascinating island.

This year the Festival will start at 3pm on Saturday, 19 July, and will run for a full week with an art market daily and special cultural performances held every evening. This is the one week in the year when you don't need to travel to the various villages to see the best of the island's culture; the culture comes to you!

The event starts off with a formal opening ceremony held in the heart of Lombok's tourism centre of Senggigi, attended by government dignitaries and special guests from around Indonesia. The opening ceremony is perhaps the most exciting part of the Festival, with thousands of spectators lining the main street of Senggigi to view the colourful parade that is the feature of opening day celebrations.

Each district of the island is represented at the festival, displaying an incredible array of traditional customs and talents, particular to each village or district. Colourful sarongs, traditional costumes, and wild outfits are all part of the parade. Gamelan bands will be featured, with a fantastic array of bamboo, wooden and brass instruments; some modern and some of obviously ancient lineage. There will also be parades by Gendang Beleq troupes, playing the huge drums distinctive to Lombok. From traditional Indonesian melodies to the raucous Arabian-inspired tones of Kecimol, the Festival has it all.

Historical re-enactments and dance-theatre play a large part in the cultural repertoire of Lombok. The parade of the legendary Princess Mandalika always draws admiring gasps from the crowd as the beautiful maiden is carried on her chariot by elegantly dressed “princes”. There will also be solemn rituals drawing on the mystical traditions of ancient times. Intricate ceremony, ritual tools and clouds of perfumed incense give a sense of the spiritual mysteries that form part of the foundation of Lombok and the unique Wektu Telu religion.

The historical memory of Dutch colonisation is also re-enacted in various forms, particularly with the amusing Rudat performances. The soldiers in their army greens perform a hilarious pantomime, deceptive in style, as their military precision is obviously the result of years of hard training.

The Festival this year will also feature performances by special guests from East Java and Aceh Province. Evening performances in Senggigi Square will be presented by groups from Sumbawa and Bima, as well as different provinces around Lombok.

The performances of the local tradition of “Peresean” (stick fighting) provide exciting entertainment, both during the parade and at their regular performances every afternoon in the Senggigi Square during Festival Week. In this unique competition, two muscled competitors pit their strength and wits against each other, using heavy sticks to strike at each other's bodies, using shields made from toughened cow hide to prevent the other from striking a blow. Contestants train for years to hone their skills, often returning from fights with bruised bodies covered in red welts. It's a genuine fight, accompanied by much enthusiastic encouragement from the crowd. A referee is on hand to make sure things are kept fair and don't get out of hand.

In addition to Peresean fights every afternoon, the Festival features different cultural performances each night, to be held in the Senggigi Square between 8pm and 10pm. These performances are free to the public. The performances will feature displays of traditional dance, music and theatre.

If you are interested in authentic cultural events, unlike any held in the other parts of Indonesia, plan to be in Senggigi from 19 July. The Senggigi Festival is a wonderful display of the rich cultural diversity of Lombok, with the unique blending of Balinese Hindu and local Lombok Sasak traditions that make this island so fascinating.

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LOMBOK-AUSTRALIA DIRECT FLIGHTS?

The owner of OzJet, an Australian budget airline service, visited Lombok recently to discuss the possibility of commencing the first-ever direct flights between Perth in Western Australia and Lombok.

Mr Pathma Johnson met with members of the Lombok Hotels Association and other interested parties in Senggigi on Monday, 30 June 2008 to discuss the viability of the flights and how the hotels could work in cooperation with the airline to provide packages to the potentially lucrative Australian market.

The airline operates several flights a week within Australia under the OzJet banner between Perth, Broome, Port Hedland and Karratha on the west coast. In Indonesia, the company operates under the banner of Indo Jet, which currently provides three flights per week between Perth and Denpasar, Bali. The company plan to increase this to four flights per week in September this year. In Australia, OzJet operates a fleet of Boeing 737-200 aircraft and provides both charters and Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) services.

The Boeing 737-200 Advanced aircraft, with a body length of 30.53m, is capable of landing at Lombok's existing Selaparang Airport, which means that the company could conceivably start direct international flights immediately, rather than wait for the completion of the new Lombok International Airport, scheduled for 2010.

However, in order for the long-awaited dream of Lombok's hoteliers to become a reality, OzJet need some concessions and commitments from the Lombok government and airport authorities. Mr Johnson said at the meeting that the airline would need a minimum of 70 passengers per flight to break even. He plans to propose to the government that they subsidise any deficit in minimum passenger numbers for the first six months of operation, until the Perth-Lombok route is established.

In addition, the company requires around three months of “lead time” for marketing the new service, and Lombok as a destination, and would require financial help from the government for the costs of marketing and promotion.
Should the government agree to sponsor the new international direct flights, Mr Johnson said that the service could start operating as soon as January 2009.

Mr Johnson said that OzJet planned to start initially with one flight per week to and from Perth, and add extra flights as demand grew. The Perth-Bali market is colossal, with Garuda Indonesia flying between the two destinations ten times per week. Last month the airline reported that all flights between Perth and Bali are already fully booked until the end of the year and that Garuda plan to increase the flight frequency to 17 flights per week in December 2008.

“The Perth market is huge and lucrative, but it's also price-conscious and Lombok will need to compete with Bali,” Mr Johnson told the meeting. “However, Lombok has huge potential for the Australians. Everything you can get in Bali, you can have in Lombok… but the beaches and the environment here is much better”.

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HATTEN WINES MEETS LOMBOK SCENE

Gigi van Kuijk, Director of Sales & Marketing for Hatten Wines and Two Islands Wines, had a busy time when she was in Lombok recently for a long weekend.

On the morning of Saturday, 28 June Gigi held two training courses for around 80 employees of Lombok's hotels and restaurants. The training sessions, held at Marina Café in Senggigi, focussed on the Two Islands range of wines and included product knowledge, sales techniques, as well as correct handling and storage of the wines.

Later in the evening, Gigi, together with Pak Alfi of Marina Café and Square Restaurant fame, hosted a special wine tasting evening at Square Restaurant. The event was attended by around 80 of Lombok's leading hotel and restaurant owners and managers, as well as invited guests, who enjoyed a generous sampling of the Two Islands Shiraz and Chardonnay wines. Guests were served canapés prepared by Square's new Executive Chef, Wayan Budiana, recently transplanted to Lombok from Mozaic Restaurant in Bali.

On Sunday, 29 June, Gigi joined a select crowd of guests at the newly-opened Qunci by the Sea restaurant at the stylish new Qunci Pool Villas in Mangsit. Lucky guests were treated to free flow champagne and a special tasting menu prepared by Edy and the kitchen team at Qunci Villas. Each table was given a different selection of five courses and asked to rate the food in terms of presentation and taste… a mammoth task for the chefs and a most enjoyable afternoon for the guests!

Later in the afternoon, Gigi manned the Hatten Wines booth at the Indonesian Chef Association “Food, Wine & Cooking Demo” held at the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort. Hatten Wines was one of the major sponsors at the event, along with Mamas, Bali Moon, Sukanda Jaya and others.

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WORLD CHAMPIONS DANCE IN LOMBOK

Lombok was treated to a magnificent evening of world class ballroom and Latin American dance performances at the first-ever Lombok International Dance Championships on Sunday, 29 June 2008.

The spellbinding event was held in the conference centre at Santosa Villas and Resort, with hundreds of spectators attending to witness the finals of the Championships held in the evening, starting at 6.00 pm.

Performances by Latin American dance masters, Evgeny Ryupin and Yana Pokrovskaya from Moscow, as well as 2008 World Championship Finalists, Roberto Villa and Morena Colagrego from Italy, were highlights of the event; although it was almost impossible to choose favourites from the many talented dancers present.

The conference centre at Santosa Villas and Resort was converted into a ballroom for the Championships, with a specially constructed wooden dance floor installed for the event. Professional lighting and sound systems were also installed, to ensure a top class presentation.

Mr Marcel De Rijk, world-renowned ballroom dancer, Vice President of the World Dance Council and international adjudicator, who also owns the delightful Puri Mas Boutique Resorts in Lombok, was responsible for organising the Lombok International Dance Championships and his popularity in dance circles was evident, with top international dance couples from more than 15 countries and an international panel of judges and adjudicators made up of 14 members from 11 different countries coming to Lombok for the event.

The Lombok International Championships was a spectacular event, unlike anything usually seen in Indonesia, and promises to be an important date on the Lombok calendar for the future.

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GOODBYE AND GOOD LUCK TIWI!

Congratulations and farewell to popular local Executive Chef, Tiwi, from Hotel Vila Ombak on Gili Trawangan.

Tiwi, who has lead the award-winning kitchen team at Vila Ombak for the past three years, has accepted a position with mining company caterers, PBU, in Kalimantan. Tiwi said that, although she was sad to be leaving Lombok, the new position would be challenging and was an excellent opportunity to expand her skills.

Anyone who has enjoyed the meals and food at special events at Vila Ombak in the past will recognise that Tiwi is a talented lady in the mainly male-dominated Chef scene in Lombok. No doubt her new employers will be reaping the benefits of her culinary skills and sunny personality!

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THERE'S GOLD IN THEM HILLS!

Rumours of gold deposits in the hills in the southwest of Lombok have abounded for years. Past surveys by individuals, as well as preliminary surveys by mining companies, have revealed the presence of gold-bearing rock in the mountain range that runs parallel to the coast south of Sekotong, and mining in the area has been proposed on several occasions. There have also been suggestions in the past that the region may contain substantial deposits of copper, silver and even uranium.

Word has gotten around in the area and hundreds of locals are now flocking to the hills in the hope of finding the elusive gold. The prospecting has been going on for several weeks, particularly in the area around Pelangan, with up to 400 people currently prospecting in the nearby hills. Speaking to local residents last week, The Lombok Guide heard that, while gold finds have not been substantial, they are steady enough to keep the prospectors keen. Locals report that some people are earning up to Rp 2 million a day with their gold finds.

The gold rush has begun in the nearby towns, with many of the men spending days up in the hills collecting likely gold-bearing rock and either processing it on site, or bringing it down to the towns to be crushed and sieved. Small roadside buildings are now being turned into simple gold processing sites, as the community becomes flushed with gold fever.

No one is quite sure why, after years of rumours, the gold rush has suddenly sparked an all out effort by nearby communities, but possibly the presence of Southern Arc Minerals in the area has prompted locals to claim prospecting rights before the professionals move in.

Southern Arc Minerals is a mineral exploration company which, according to its website, has its activities “focused on the acquisition, evaluation and exploitation of mineral properties in Indonesia”. Indonesia is ranked as the world's fourth most prospective mineralised region in the world.

Southern Arc's West Lombok property encompasses an area of 18 483 hectares covering a considerable part of the southwest peninsula of Lombok Island. The original property was bound on a 4th-generation Contract of Work held by PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (PT NNT), which was relinquished by Newmont and subsequently granted to Southern Arc as an expansion to its Lombok SIPP license.

Based on surface mapping and geochemistry, along with airborne magnetic surveys, the West Lombok property is very prospective and the presence of anomalous gold, silver and base metals are confirmed. The Pelangan prospect suggests that the property has significant potential for gold and copper mining.

The company is also currently carrying out a major drilling program on several proven high-grade targets as well as deep holes on what could be a large, world-class gold-copper porphyry system at Selodong, on the south coast.

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THE LOMBOK GUIDE GETS AROUND!

Spotted in Singapore recently, a young Singaporean woman reading The Lombok Guide! Photo courtesy of Sid Blade.

We now publish 1500 copies of The Guide every two weeks, distributed throughout Lombok. Copies of The Lombok Guide are also available at Merpati check in counters in Dili, Bali and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, as well as selected outlets in Bali.

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LOCAL SCENE

TASTING LUNCH @ QUNCI BY THE SEA

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I CLIMBED THE VOLCANO!

“What has my mother planned now?" I asked myself when my mom, Michelle Lockett, told me that we were going to trek up Gunung Rinjani. "I don't want to leave Gili Meno to go up a massive volcano," I told her, but I went anyway. We travelled for two hours by car to get to the start of Rinjani.

Mom and I had to rent warm clothes from the locals, because we had heard that it was freezing cold at the top. Later we were relieved that we had done that. I met our guide, Ishmael, and our porters, Hadi and Agus, when we first arrived. As we all hiked up the volcano of Gunung Rinjani together we got to know each other well; from walking everywhere to cooking food to eating together.

Ishmael, our guide, and his brother Hadi, would say their prayers every day; even when half way there, they would stop to pray. When I first saw them pray, I felt a magnificent feeling of trust and kindness from our guides.

As we trekked through jungle, dust, sunshine, and dark, Hadi, Ishmael and Agus would carry most of our belongings. I felt really guilty when Agus was struggling to carry my things, all because of the 100 hair clips I had packed. Hadi, one of our porters, was small but very strong. He would swing two baskets full of food, drinks and camping gear over his shoulders, tied together on a thick bamboo pole. Once we arrived at a post or camping place, then the porters would get to work, set up a fresh wood fire and cook a huge meal of mainly rice, noodles and vegetables. With desert of hot chocolate, bananas and pineapple and even sugar tea. At the end of the trip I felt as if I had gained weight from all the food I had eaten!

While I hiked, I concentrated on not slipping or falling, but when the pathways were easy I would look up to see another one of Rinjani's beautiful views. If not, I would see the guide's boots in front of my shoes or, to keep myself entertained while walking, I would look for strange but wonderful plants and creatures, such as furry black caterpillars or wild monkeys.

As we reached the first campsite you could see the baby volcano surrounded by a lake and, to the right, the colourful, magical sight of the three Gilis, the volcano on Bali, and the sunset. Every time when the sun set you could feel the energy from the atmosphere passing through you. It was indescribable and incredible.

We camped for two ridiculously, cool nights. Before we went to bed we would eat, the guide and porters would pray, and then we would sit around the fire, staring up at the stars, also known as bintang. Mom and I slept in the tent and the porters cut down the grass to make a bed, and slept by the fire to keep warm all night. I felt bad for them. As I was falling asleep I would think of offering to let them sleep inside the tent. I'm awfully fond of sleeping, so every night we would fill metal bottles full of boiling water to keep our feet warm. Every night we would change into our warmer clothes, the sort that you would wear in England, before hitting the hay.

We would walk for hours and hours on end, until we got to a spectacular view. Then we would stop to enjoy the peace and quiet, and then carry on. As we reached the lake, I just wanted to jump straight into it, for it was so hot when we were walking down the tricky, rocky way down, and you could see the rich blue, sparkling water glint in front of you, with the baby volcano rising up out of it. Everywhere you look during the trip you see unique things – up, down, and all around.

First Mom and I got changed into our swimming gear in some green metal toilets, before heading over to the hot springs. It was at the hot springs that I first noticed that there were only local men and boys there, and no local women. So I guess when we came, they were pleased! Then Mom, me and a few other boys sat in the hottest hot spring. A local boy gave me his Rasta coloured bracelet. I felt all warm inside, with a good feeling. Before that Mom and I explored the different temperature pools. There was one that was ice-cold with three waterfalls going into it, one of which was warm! As I sat under the warm waterfall I had a great sensation. My friend, Sony, told me he had been to the waterfalls also.

On the second day of walking to the crater rim and camp, I felt the heat of the sun making me sweat, while climbing forever up the side of Mount Rinjani. When we came to a rest point, our guide brought out a packet of chocolate biscuits. Mom and I were so pleased and surprised! They tasted brilliantly good at that moment!

Finally, we reached the top of Rinjani's rim. I felt so young and relieved to be at the top! It felt like I was in heaven with the beautiful views surrounding me. Now we were above the clouds, and feeling successful that we had done it. I now thank my nutty mother for taking me on an unforgettable adventure of my life, up Gunung Rinjani.

I recommend you to go the places I have been, and see the things I have seen. Feel the same ways I have felt, and have the same experiences I had. Don't forget to pack warm clothes, and many band-aids, because you will get blisters – and incredibly cold. So, what are you waiting for? Book a trip to the wonderful, magnificent Gunung Rinjani. The life's trip you will never forget!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claire Lockett is a 13 year old student from the USA. She is currently staying on Gili Meno with her mother, Michelle, who is running a “Wellness Retreat”, as well as 1- and 2-day workshops, on the island from 23 July to 1 August this year. For enquiries about the retreat and workshops, visit the website: www.befreetodream.com

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NEW RULES FOR INDONESIAN AIRLINES

The Indonesian government is introducing a number of new rules and regulations that should make the nation's airways safer and more user-friendly for the general public. The new directives include tougher airline management rules and mandatory compensation for delayed passengers. The changes now in place for Indonesian aviation include:

Indonesian airlines that experience fatal accidents twice within a single year can have their directors or corporate officers connected with air safety and security made persona non grata, preventing their future employment within the Indonesian aviation industry.

Airlines that fail to terminate directors or safety personnel when directed to do so by the Indonesian Civil Aviation Authority can have their operating permit "frozen" by the Government.

The Government is creating more stringent "establishment" rules and experience qualifications for those wishing to launch an Indonesian airline.

Indonesian airlines are now required to provide compensation to passengers when they fail to keep to their published schedules. Airlines whose flights leave between 30-90 minutes behind schedule are now required to provide passengers with light refreshments.

Passengers delayed between 90-180 minutes are entitled to an airline sponsored meal or transfer to alternative flights operated by the carrier or competing carriers. Delays of more than 3 hours or 180 minutes compel the airline to offer accommodation to their stranded passengers.

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CHANGES IN FISCAL TAX LAW

The Indonesian Director General of Taxation has announced its intention to exempt Indonesian residents who possess an official tax number (NPWP) from paying the unpopular Rp 1 million (US $107) fiscal tax charge each time they depart on a foreign trip, effective from 1 January, 2009.

The fiscal charge, which is settled at special tax kiosks at Indonesian airports and seaports, is technically reimbursable and can be credited against final payroll tax liabilities. However, in practice this is rarely done.
The new move designed to enhance bureaucratic efficiency and encourage Indonesians to register and pay taxes, will only be available to the estimated 4.9 million individuals who have registered and obtained an official NPWP registration from their local tax office.

Tax officials are hinting that the "fiscal free" facility may only be a temporary measure, with the entire policy up for review on 1 January, 2011; two years after the introduction of the trial "fiscal free" period.

Government officials have been quoted in the national press as saying they are confident that any loss in revenues from the fiscal fees will be more than offset by increases in the national taxpayers' base. In 2007, the government collected Rp 2.5 trillion (US $268.8 million) in fiscal fees.

Under the new facility to take effect on 1 January, 2009, travellers need only show the NPWP document of the family head to be exempted from paying the fiscal charge. Dependents under the age of 21 can also be exempted under their parent's NPWP, while children under the age of 12 are not required to pay the fiscal fee.

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GOVERNMENT TO BUILD NEW MANDALIKA BYPASS

The government will build a new 21 kilometre bypass road connecting the Lombok International Airport in Tanak Awu to the Mandalika tourism area on Lombok's south coast.

The new 30 metre wide bypass, to be funded by the central government, is scheduled to be completed by next year. Construction of the road will coincide with the construction of an office for the Emaar Properties development in Mandalika. Emaar Properties have already pledged to start construction on their US $700 million resort development in January 2009.

According to the Head of the Regional Planning and Development Board, Lalu Fathurrahman, the executing of the 1 250 hectare Mandalika development by Emaar Properties is a directive from the Indonesian government and must be immediately realised.

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LOMBOK HAS A NEW GOVERNOR

Voting to elect the Governor of NTB (Lombok and Sumbawa) took place on Monday, 7 July 2008, with huge crowds turning out to vote at polling booths throughout the two islands. 3 004 902 registered voters turned out to vote in Monday's election at 7 224 polling stations spread out across the region.

At the time of The Lombok Guide going to press, it seemed certain that Lombok had a new Governor, with “Tuan Guru” Bajang M.Zainul Majdi polling a convincing victory over the incumbent Governor, Pak Lalu Serinata.
Tuan Guru Bajang, as he is known locally, at the age of 36 years, is the youngest Governor in Indonesia and a renowned Moslem scholar. He is Chairman of the Nahdlatul Wathan Islamic Study Organisation in Pancor, East Lombok and is a member of the Partai Bulan Bintang political party in the Indonesian House of Representatives.
His running partner, Badrul Munir, former Head of the NTB Bureau of Organisations, will become Vice Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).

At his first press conference held at the Hotel Grand Legi in Mataram, Tuan Guru Bajang pledged to fulfil the promises made during his election campaign as soon as possible after taking power.
His first mission is to push forward a programme to provide free education in the local parliament (DPRD NTB). He expects that the programme will become a reality with far reaching effects for local society. He also pledged to be a governor who provides a voice for the community, saying “I want to be a leader who will really represent the people”.

Despite his religious background, Tuan Guru Bajang said that he had no wish to see another tragedy such as the religious riots in North Maluku. He assured the community that he would look after stability in the region and not let the community down. "My dream is brotherhood," he said.

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