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NEWS

ISSUE 86

 

SPRING INTO 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 two weeks and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island.

With a La Nina weather cycle playing havoc with the normal monsoon season in Bali and Lombok, it’s been long rainy season this year. However, the beautiful sunny days in Lombok seem to mark the turning point at last!

Lombok’s Sasak people say that the celebration of Bau Nyale marks the changing of the seasons, bringing an end to the rains and winds of the monsoon cycle, and that seems to hold true. Or perhaps the sunshine is due to the celebration of the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere on 20 March.

Whatever the reason, Lombok has been blessed with Spring-like sunny days and the worst of the rainy season appears to be over for another year. Now is the perfect time for enjoying the sun and sea again – dining out under the stars, swimming in the crystal clear beaches, trekking through lush green jungles and relaxing in the beautiful weather for which Lombok is famous!

To find out more, pick up a copy of The Lombok Guide from the locations listed on http://www.thelombokguide.com/deadline_publishing.html or visit www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself… like thousands of others, you’ll be enchanted!

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SENGGIGI COMES ALIVE AT FESTIVAL

It was wonderful to see Senggigi come to life on Saturday, 26 March, with the Pensil Festival. Pensil is an acronym for Pentas Seni Insan Lombok and roughly translates as “Lombok Arts on Stage”.

Pensil was organised by Tom Record (the members of Tomstone Band) as a day to clean up the beaches from Lian Senggigi to Senggigi Beach, as well as provide entertainment for participants.

The huge event, held before hundreds of spectators on the foreshore at Senggigi Beach, started early in the morning with traditional dancing and music performances. West Lombok Regent, (Bupati) Zaini Arony, and his wife were guests of honour and opened the official ceremony, as well as surprising the crowd by singing an impromptu duet up on the stage.

The Bupati then led the crowd in cleaning up rubbish on the beachfront. “I’m surprised and disappointed to see rubbish on this beautiful beach,” he told the spectators. “Today we’ll clean it up and we will place rubbish bins along the beachfront for everyone to use in the future.”

After cleaning up the beach front, new rubbish bins were placed along the beach. Other people helped clean up the ocean, using canoes to fish plastic and rubbish out of the water.

The Bupati also pledged to organise more rubbish bins to be located along the main street in Senggigi.
“Please keep Senggigi clean and be aware of the effect that rubbish has on our image,” the Bupati told the crowd. “Let’s change our attitude toward cleanliness. Feel ashamed to throw rubbish, but don’t be ashamed to collect the rubbish.”

At the event, the Bupati also announced the formation of “Gerakan Peduli Daerah” (Care of the Area Movement), an organisation charged with taking care of the Senggigi area. The Movement’s duties include monitoring the cleanliness of the area and keeping Senggigi clean.

The Bupati then released a cluster of balloons into the air, symbolising the formation and hopes of the Movement. However, realising the balloons themselves might later become rubbish, he quickly announced that he would pay Rp 500 000 from his own pocket to whoever collected the balloons later!

After the official ceremony, the party atmosphere continued all afternoon and late into the night, with local bands and cultural performances keeping the spectators happy and attracting more crowds throughout the balmy evening to dance and mingle on the beach.

It was the perfect venue to feature some great performances by some of Lombok’s best bands, including Amtenar, Richard D’Gillis, Tomstone, The B’Jaguran, DJ’Mbe Lombok Island, Joe Mellowmood, Happy Café Band, as well as traditional and modern dancers, Cilokaq (traditional instruments), Gendang Beleq (traditional drums) and more.

As the sun set on a glorious sunny day on the beach, the music echoed throughout Senggigi, bringing life to the resort town and creating a party atmosphere everywhere. Crowds enjoying the Peresean competitions at the Art Markets could enjoy a cold drink at the beachside cafés, before strolling up the sand to dance to the bands.

This event shows us what can happen in Senggigi with a little effort, and what direction Lombok’s west coast resort should be taking for the future. Good work, Tom Records, and thank you, Pak Zaini!

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WHAT'S HOT!

• Something a bit different, but related to the "Your Say" letter this issue. We have to share some tough police action seen at an intersection in the city a couple of weeks ago. A local young turk on a bike with a noisy modified exhaust came racing through the intersection. The police officer stepped out and the rider screeched to a stop. The policeman then started yelling at him about how loud his exhaust was and asking him if he thought he was smart doing that to his bike. A crowd gathered to stare and the policemen, in full rage, grabbed the young turk's head, pushing it down close to the exhaust pipe, and then started revving the accelerator hard enough to make the exhaust scream, all the while yelling "Sakit, ndak? Sakit, ndak?" ("does that hurt, or not?) The young red faced turk was finally released and went scampering off, to the jeers of the gathered crowd. It's probably not in the police code book, but easier than confiscating the bike and probably more effective!

• We notice The Beach House on Gili T has introduced some new items to their menu. The already extensive range of delicious choices now includes a special Asian section featuring Miso Soup, Deep Fried Asian Duck, Dim Sums and Indian Chicken Curry. Also new are world-famous tender Harvey Beef tenderloin, sirloin, rump and T-Bone steaks – not to mention the new yummy home-made pies! It must be the footy season! www.beachhousegilit.com

• Speaking of Aussie rules, don't forget that delicious meat pies, burgers and chips, real bacon and egg breakfasts, and all things Aussie are also available at The Beach Club in Batu Bolong. Pull up a stool at the comfy bar and watch all the footy matches on the big screen TV. Ice cold beers and lively commentary are a given! www.thebeachclublombok.com

• Congratulations to SHAGS Golf Club who sponsored a very successful Nyepi Day Golf Tournament with a visiting team from Bali recently. The social group of keen expat golfers meets weekly to play golf at Kosaido Country Club in Tanjung and to compete in a regular Monthly Cup. New members and visitors to Lombok looking for golf partners and some friendly competition are always welcome. www.lombok-golf.com

• Fast food addicts will be happy to know that McDonalds in the Mataram Mall have introduced a new breakfast menu featuring popular favourites such as McMuffins, hash browns and hot cakes. Choices include Egg and Cheese McMuffin, Sausage and Egg McMuffin and, although there's no Bacon and Egg McMuffins, the Egg and Cheese McMuffin topped with a slice of salty chicken roll fills the bill nicely! McMuffins, Hash Brown and coffee or tea combo packets are also available for breakfasts on the run. The new breakfast menu is available from 7 - 11am every day.

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YOUR SAY

Dear Editor

I think maybe all those letters you published from people complaining about the noisy motor bikes racing in Senggigi have started to work!

I have noticed that there are more police raids on the roads around Senggigi lately and it’s good to see the police doing some work.

However, reducing the problem isn’t the same as solving the problem. There are still gangs of these idiots racing through the streets every afternoon, around 4pm and again at sunset.

A local guy told me that they come to race on the new road at Malimbu every afternoon. If that’s the case, it should be easy for the police to catch them. Simply set up road blocks at each end of Senggigi and stop them every afternoon. And give them fines or confiscate their bikes. They’ll soon learn not to come here any more.

These guys are usually young thugs, often in school uniforms, who think they are tough because they race around in gangs without any respect for other people or the safety of people on the road. They aren’t scared because they know the police are lazy.

The police need to get tough and take these idiots off the road. Then they might get some respect back!

M, Green Valley

 

Indonesian:

Kepada penulis

Saya rasa surat-surat yang anda terbitkan mengenai orang-orang yang protes tentang kebisingan sepeda motor di Senggigi telah menunjukkan hasil!

Saya perhatikan akhir-akhir ini polisi lebih sering mengadakan razia di jalan seputaran Senggigi dan senang melihat polisi melakukan pekerjaannya.

Bagaimanapun, mengurangi masalah tidaklah sama dengan menyelesaikan masalah. Masih ada beberapa kelompok anak-anak bodoh ini melakukan balap sepeda motor setiap sore, sekitar jam 4 dan pada waktu sunset.

Seorang penduduk lokal memberitahukan saya bahwa mereka melakukan balapan di jalan yang baru diperbaiki di Malimbu setiap sore. Jika itu masalahnya, seharusnya mudah bagi polisi untuk menangkap mereka. Gampang saja, adakan razia di setiap penghujung jalan Senggigi dan tangkap mereka setiap sore.

Dan kenakan mereka denda atau sita kendaraan mereka. Mereka akan belajar untuk tidak datang kemari lagi.

Anak-anak ini biasanya adalah anak di bawah umur, seringkali masih mengenakan seragam sekolahnya, dimana mereka merasa diri hebat karena balapan bersama kelompoknya tanpa menghormati orang lain maupun keselamatan orang yang berada di jalan. Mereka tidak takut karena mereka tahu bahwa polisi malas.

Polisi harus tegas dan singkirkan anak-anak bodoh ini dari jalanan. Maka mereka mungkin akan mendapatkan rasa hormat kembali!

M, Green Valley

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LOCAL SCENE

Popular Bali personality, Sharon, chose mountain and sea paradises –
Ubud and Gili Trawangan – To celebrate her birthday with family and friends.

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MR FIXER

(Tongue-in-cheek answers to your personal building problems)

This issue, Mr Fixer is taking a well deserved holiday, sunning (or selling?) on the beaches of South Lombok, but leaves us with some of his pearls of wisdom to contemplate until his return…

FLASHING STREET VENDORS

You can’t help feeling sorry for those poor smiling wretches who parade up and down the main strip in Senggigi selling watches, key fobs, wooden bowls, and sarongs you can burn a hole in at 50 paces. My friend George, who is a sucker for a bargain, has a collection of 14 watches. None of them work. It doesn’t really matter -- his eyesight is so bad, he can’t see the time anyway.

It is almost expected to bargain with the vendors. I recently found out there are 4 prices: the “first price”, the “special price”, the “sunset price”, and lastly, the “final special sunset price”. If you can manage to put up with the constant argie-bargie and badgering, it can be quite a satisfying experience.

The latest gizmo on offer seems to be a miniature spinning top with flashing lights. Who’s going to buy that?! My cat would hate it. Another amazing item to hit the streets is a spinning - flashing – flying – spinning (did I mention flashing?) winged device you propel into the air just to watch it fall, flashing and spinning. Get a life!
Buying DVD’s can be a bit of a lottery though. If you like a bit of a flutter, you can place odds on how many will actually work when you get them back to your room. Equally humorous are the ones with such poor sound quality they are unwatchable. One film I watched for a good half an hour had a strange shadow in one corner.

All of a sudden the shadow came to life and stood up. It was the unmistakable shape of someone who had been watching the film. The shadow walked across the screen, only to return moments later with a choc ice.
My favorite vendor is the old man selling carved wooden frogs. I like these because they make a noise just like a frog when you stroke its back with the little stick that comes with it.  He’s always outside Happy Café late in the evening. He even looks a bit like a frog.   Maybe it’s just the moonlight, or the beer, or maybe I’m getting him confused with my friend George. On a recent trip back to the UK, I bought 7 of his frogs to give to people I don’t like as souvenirs.

Whatever next? Flashing frogs perhaps? I can’t wait!

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PERESEAN AT THE PASAR SENI

The Pasar Seni (Art Market) has come alive in the past month with exciting Peresean competitions taking place in the arena every Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Peresean, or stick fighting, is a popular traditional sport, unique to Lombok. Two muscled competitors pit their strength and wits against each other, using heavy sticks (penjalin) to strike at each other’s bodies and shields (ende) made from toughened cow hide to prevent the other from striking a blow.

The sport is highly dangerous, but also extremely entertaining, with competitors strutting in front of each other, attempting to psychologically intimidate their opponents and refusing to show pain.

Peresean is sometimes referred to as “Sasak martial arts”. Contestants (called pepadu) train for years to hone their skills, often returning from fights with bruised bodies covered in red welts. The fight is over when one of the competitors surrenders to the other, or if one of the competitors is bleeding profusely.

It’s a genuine fight, accompanied by much enthusiastic encouragement from the crowd. Referees are on hand to make sure things are kept fair and don’t get out of hand. After the match ends, opponents shake hands without animosity.

The competitions now being held at the Pasar Seni are the initiative of Sanggar Budaya Sesela – a cultural group from the village of Sesela, which is dedicated to preserving Lombok traditional arts.

Forum members said that they have organised the competitions, so that they can show tourists and visitors some of the traditional culture of Lombok. They also feel that it is important for Lombok’s teenagers to remember their roots and preserve their cultural heritage.

Pak Emi, the head of the organisation, said, “We have to keep our culture alive, and in turn, our culture can help us to live.”

Members of Sanggar Budaya Sesela have been performing in different areas around Lombok, hoping to attract interest and support for their mission, as well as generating interest amongst Lombok’s young people.

The competitions being held at the Pasar Seni are very well organised, with traditional gamelan musicians accompanying the matches, and presentations and information being given to the crowd in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. Tourists are treated as special guests and given priority, as the group sincerely wishes to share their culture with visitors to the island.

Until now, the group has received no support from the government or the Department of Culture and Tourism (Dinas Kebudayaan dan Pariwisata), despite promises in the past. All competitions are funded entirely by donations collected from the crowd at the end of the performance and are completely voluntary.

At present, the donations are barely enough to provide prize money for the competitors, but the group hopes that they can continue the free performances into the future if more people know about it and support them.

The Pasar Seni, and particularly the central stage arena, was originally constructed as a space to showcase traditional performing arts and it’s wonderful to see the markets being used for this purpose at last.

It is truly special to see these dedicated people, and the many competitors who turn up every week to test their strength and skills (regardless of the prize money), working so hard to preserve Sasak cultural traditions. We hope that, by publishing this story, the government will see that this is a group worth supporting – not just with words, but with funding.

In the meantime, you can help by attending the performances and digging deep. The cost of a beer will go a long way to ensuring the performances continue.

Peresean is an exciting spectator sport and a fun event to take visiting friends to see. The competitions take place at the Pasar Seni every Saturday and Sunday, commencing at 4pm until late.

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EUROPEAN SURGEONS CARRY OUT MORE CLEFT LIP/PALATE OPERATIONS

By Howard Singleton

For the sixth time in five years, European doctors have given up their time and paid for their own transport costs to travel to Lombok to perform cleft lip and cleft palate operations on Lombok children and adults.

The project is organised by the Rotary Club of Mataram, Lombok and is mainly sponsored by The Rotary Club of Gent, Belgium, The Astra Zeneca Foundation and, this time, by the Rotary Club of Fordingbridge, England.

Local charity, Yayasan Kita Peduli (the “We Care Foundation”) does the extremely difficult job of finding suitable patients and arranging transport for them, as well as persuading sometimes reluctant parents to consent to the operations. The Blue Bird Taxi Group also provided free transport for the doctors.

The European team was lead by surgeon, Dr Frank Bierenbroodspot, and was accompanied by the cleft palate specialist, Dr Torsten Erdsach. Also in the team were specialists, Dr Casper Coppen, Dr Koen Ingels, Dr Hans Lambertus and Dr Elizabeth Pohl, and four Indonesian doctors, Dr Timurwati, Dr Farida Istarini, Dr Nengah Raditha and Dr Nurman Hikmalah.

The European doctors arrived on Saturday, 5 March and, after a short rest, started work on Sunday. The day began with a press conference, a presentation of some of their previous patients and a pre-operative check of the first day’s patients.

The doctors worked long hours from Monday until Thursday, and completed a total of 54 operations – 42 cleft palate and 12 cleft lip operations. Although most of the patients came from Lombok, one came from Bima on the neighbouring island of Sumbawa, and one young child even travelled from Papua, her transport having been sponsored by local expats there.

The doctors bring all their own surgical instruments and adequate supplies of sutures, gloves and other materials. They work alongside local staff at Gerung Hospital in West Lombok, which provides all the facilities for the operations. The local staff at the hospital are always pleased to participate, as they learn new techniques and skills from the visiting doctors.

On Friday, after checking on their patients for the last time, the doctors took time off for a short trip by yacht to Gili Trawangan and in the evening they were entertained at a dinner hosted by NTB Governor, H Zainul Majdi, who thanked them for their great work.

Rotary Club secretary, Lily Heyder, assisting with the organisation, said, “Once again, the doctors have done an excellent job. When we started these operations in 1996, so much of the organising was difficult -- permits for this and that, permissions required from all kinds of sources and so on. Now, however, with the involvement of the Governor’s Office and the Ibu-Ibu (local ladies’ association) everything runs so much smoother and we can concentrate on making the operations happen.”

At the end of the visit, Team leader, Dr Frank said, “It is always a pleasure to come to Lombok and carry out these operations, knowing that the lives of these patients will be changed forever”.

The Rotary Club of Lombok has been instrumental in organising cleft lip and cleft palate operations for over 200 local people in the past 5 years, as well as carrying out many other vital community projects in Lombok. If you would like to support their projects with either your time or donations, please contact Club Secretary, Lily Heyder, on +62 813 3959 9154 – Ed.

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MOVE TO SEPARATE LOMBOK AND SUMBAWA ISLANDS

The push to separate the two islands that make up the NTB Province – Lombok and Sumbawa – is gaining momentum.

All the islands that make up Indonesia’s archipelago are divided into separate regions known as provinces. Each province has its own local government, headed by a governor, and has its own legislative body.

Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB), or West Nusa Tenggara, covers the western portion of the Lesser Sunda Islands, except for Bali. Formerly known as Sunda Kecil (Small Sunda), the West Nusa Tenggara Province became East Indonesia State in 1951 and, in 1957, the regional government was established.

The two largest islands in the province are Lombok in the west and the larger Sumbawa Island in the east. Mataram, on Lombok, is the capital and the largest city in the province, and is also the seat of governmental administration for the two islands.

The population of the province is 4,496,855 (as of 2010 census), with 71% of the population living on Lombok.
Although the administrative joining of the two islands probably made sense in the past, when both were simply undeveloped islands in the eastern archipelago, over the past decade dissatisfaction with the system has grown from both sides.

Many Lombok people argue that Lombok should be recognised as a unique island with its own indigenous population of Sasak people, its own language, culture and history, distinct from those of Sumbawa. Tourism industry stakeholders also disagree with the need to continually promote both Lombok and Sumbawa as a joint destination, as any government funds used for promotion must include both islands; and that this holds back development on Lombok, as well as creating an unfavourable image, as Sumbawa is still seen as “undeveloped and remote”.

On the other hand, many people on Sumbawa resent administration of their island being controlled by a Lombok-based government and feel that decisions made by the NTB government aren’t always in the best interests of the Sumbawa people. Many also feel that, with the Newmont Gold Mine located on Sumbawa, an unequal percentage of the lucrative fees and taxes generated by mining in Sumbawa find their way into the Lombok coffers.

The move to separate Sumbawa from Lombok and to establish an independent Sumbawa Island Province, or Provinsi Pulau Sumbawa (PPS), first began around eleven years ago and was supported by the then-governor of NTB, Harun Al Rashid, who is now a member of the House of Representatives Commission II.  

The call for the establishment of the PPS province has accelerated over the past year, spearheaded by the “Redistricting Sumbawa Island Province Committee” (Komite Pemekaran Provinsi Pulau Sumbawa or KP3S). Chairman of the Committee is Siti Maryam, the 83 year old daughter of the last ruler of the Bima Sultanate on Sumbawa.

The move toward formation of a separate province became official with the signing of a declaration at a people’s congress in Sumbawa regency on Sunday, 27 February 2011. A license and recommendation for the formation of the new province were given by the West Nusa Tenggara Legislative Council during a plenary session on 26 February.

The declaration was jointly signed by the regents of Sumbawa, West Sumbawa, Dompu, and Bima, as well as the mayor of Bima and several noted local figures. Thousands of local people attended the signing in support of the move.

The congress is now waiting for another license and recommendation from NTB Governor, H Zainul Madjdi, before forwarding their request to the Home Ministry and Indonesia’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Officials believe that, if the division of the province is approved, Sumbawa could be an independent province by the end of 2011.

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LOCAL SONG ‘UDIN’ BANNED

A local singer is gaining huge popularity after the regional chapter of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPID) forbade broadcasting of his song on national radio.

The song, “Udin Sedunia” (Udin all over the world), sung and composed by Lombok resident Sualudin features amusing lyrics that poke fun at the popular Indonesian name “Udin” in a light-hearted way.

The Broadcasting Commission has said that they banned the song because it was considered offensive toward other people who shared the name Udin, and was seen as violating broadcasting rules because it has offensive lyrics and contains negative connotations toward certain names.

KPID deputy chairman, Sukri Aruman, said the three offensive lines in the song are: “The Udin who likes to go to the toilet is called Tahiruddin”; “The Udin who is stressed out is called Sarafudin”, and “The Udin who likes to herd cows is called Sapiudin.”

The song is essentially a play on words in Bahasa Indonesia. “Tahi” means excrement in Indonesian, while “Saraf” is slang for having mental illness, and “Sapi” means “cow”.

Sukri said the song might be used to mock those people whose names are Sarafudin, Sapiudin or Tahirudin. Sukri said the decision was made at a plenary session involving the head of the West Nusa Tenggara chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council, Saiful Muslim, as well as culture and communications experts.

Radio stations and television stations have been ordered to maintain tight internal censorship controls in regards to the song.

Meanwhile, people have been busily uploading the song and various video clips of Sualudin singing it to popular internet site, Youtube. One version, featuring a hilarious home-filmed video of the singer, has already received over 176 000 views. Perhaps the way to achieving stardom is to get banned!

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SENGGIGI KARAOKE BAR RECRUITS PROSTITUTES?

The Jakarta Globe newspaper reports that three Javanese girls fled Lombok after allegedly being duped into prostitution by a Senggigi karaoke bar.

Sisters Juriyansi and Kusmiasih could not believe their luck when they were offered high-paying jobs at a beach resort in Senggigi on Lombok Island.

“They promised us jobs at a five-star hotel in Lombok and paid for our plane tickets to get here,” said Juriyansi, who is from East Jakarta.

Aprilia Sari, from Cilacap in Central Java, was promised the same gig and, like the sisters, took up the offer without a second thought.

They were told the job paid Rp 3.5 million ($395) a month after deductions by the recruitment agency, which to the three women, all in their early 20’s, still seemed like a godsend.

But their elation did not last long, with the reality of the situation turning out to be far from what their recruiters had described. When they arrived in Senggigi, the penny dropped: They would not be working at a five-star hotel, but at one of the seedy karaoke bars found in the tourist areas.

“They told us we’d have to accompany the customers while they sang and drank,” Sari told the Jakarta Globe on Friday, 25 February 2011.

“They also said that if the customers started grabbing us, we weren’t allowed to resist. Then they told us to dress sexy and to learn to dance erotically.”

But the nasty surprises did not end there. The women said that during their training period, they were made to drink alcohol and to dance suggestively. They were also ordered to assume fake identities: Susan, Vera and Indah.

“We kept refusing but they forced us,” Juriyansi said. “We were so frightened.”
She said the nature of the training and the repeated orders not to resist being groped and fondled convinced them they were being primed for the sex trade.

“That’s not what we signed up for,” she said. “We came out here to earn an honest living, not to become tramps or escorts, or to be manhandled by horny old men.”

The women said they just wanted to go home. “We were scared of what would happen if we stayed on,” Juriyansi said.

After three days of training, the women decided enough was enough and they ran away, finding their way to the local branch of the Women’s Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Apik).

Fauzy Yoyok, provincial coordinator for the Foundation, said the trio’s case could be categorised as human trafficking.

“We’ll assist them in getting back home to their families and ensuring that they get the full protection of the law,” he said.

He added the Foundation would also report the case to the National Police in Jakarta, given that the sisters had been recruited in the capital.

Fauzy said that since running away from the karaoke parlour, the women had received several threats to pay fines amounting to millions of rupiah for failing to honour their contracts.

“They keep getting these threatening cell phone text messages from the recruiters, who also send similar messages to their families,” he said.

“That’s why they’re reluctant to report the case to the West Nusa Tenggara Police and instead want to go straight to the National Police in Jakarta.”

According to LBH Apik, only 20 percent of human trafficking cases in the province are successfully prosecuted in court, where the perpetrators face up to four years in prison. The remaining 80 percent of cases that go unresolved largely involve undocumented migrant workers and foreign nationals.

The Foundation also says the practice of recruiting women from outside the province to work as prostitutes in its fast-developing tourism sector is growing more common because of sophisticated trafficking syndicates.

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ALCOHOL RAIDS AND FINES IN BALI

Balidiscovery.com reports that raids by Bali Customs and Excise officials carried out on Kuta restaurants, bars and nightspots are drawing criticism from members of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung), who say the raids cause unrest and uncertainty among local businesses.

As reported by DenPost, the raids are not only resulting in the confiscation of alcoholic beverages purchased by the businesses, but also carry hefty fines of as much as Rp 20 million (US $2 200) per business.

Puspa Negara, a member of Commission B of the DPRD-Badung, told how Customs and Excise officers are confiscating alcoholic beverage products that have been purchased from formal distributors approved by the Customs and Excise Department.

Puspa Negara, a legislator representing the Legian area, said enforcement officers should be targeting their efforts at the distributors who are apparently selling products not bearing the proper tax stamps and not the local businesses who sell these products.

“The businesses are buying alcoholic products from formal distributors. How do they know if the products are legal or not? Whether they are bearing the proper customs stamp or not?” Puspa said.

He also criticised the failure of Customs and Excise officers to coordinate their sweeps and raids with regional officials, choosing instead to conduct unilateral enforcement operations. The Legian lawmaker said the authority of Customs and Excise officers extended to entry ports and not to points of sale in the community.

He was also angered by the Rp 20 million fines being levied against retail outlets.
“These people are small traders. They have already suffered from the confiscation of their inventories. Now they must also pay a fine! In the past, the merchandise was only confiscated. Now there are fines. Where are these fines being deposited?” protested Puspa Negara.

The DPRD-Bali will soon summon Customs and Excise officials to the House to answer a number of questions related to the raids.

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