Bali Nyepi 2023 – No Data Cellular & IPTV 24 Hours
Following a practice established in the past, Bali’s mandatory day of silence “Nyepi” on 22 March 2023 will see cellular data service and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) suspended. This suspension of data and IPTV service was announced by the Head of Bali’s Communication, Information, and Statistics Service (Diskominfos), Gede Pramana in a press conference on Friday, 17 March 2023.
As reported by Balipost.com, Bali’s policy in connection with Hari Suci Nyepi Tahun Baru Saka 1945 resembles the annual measures undertaken by the Provincial Government of Bali to observe the “day of silence” in a solemn and dignified manner. The official protocols for the observance of Nyepi are in keeping with the Circular Memorandum of the Minister of Communications and Information No. 4 of 2023 issued on 16 March 2023.
The suspension of cellular data service and IPTV will be in effect for 24 hours starting on 22 March 2023 at 6:00 a.m. WITA (Bali Time) until 6:00 a.m. on 23 March 2023. “This means that all cellular data service on hand phone will be turned off,” explained Gede Pramana.
Pramana elaborated, explaining that vital services such as hospitals, police, the military, weather bureau (BMKG), Search and Rescue Authority Agencies (BASARNAS), air and seaports, fire brigades, and others will continue to operate over the “Nyepi” period. Telephone service, short message services (SMS), and fiber optic networks will continue to operate during the day of silence.
“I hope that the observance of Hari Raya Nyepi this year can be carried out in a conducive and safe way,” said Permana. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Self-Drive by Foreigners in Bali Outlawed?
Efforts by government officials in Bali to curb outrageous and unruly behavior by foreign visitors entered a new chapter with comments made by Governor Wayan Koster at a press conference on Sunday, 12 March 2023, held at the offices of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Denpasar. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
The Governor took pains to explain that his office was not reacting to coverage in the press and social media regarding poorly behaved foreigners but has long been quietly and discreetly gathering evidence and formulating future enforcement measures.
At the press conference, Governor Koster restated his desire to cleanse the Island of Bali of “unhealthy” behavior. Koster said unruly actions by some foreign tourists are disturbing other tourists wishing to enjoy a Bali holiday.
New Rules for Bali Tourists
As reported by RadarBali.com, the Governor has unveiled new regulations making it mandatory that foreign tourists engage the services of a Bali travel agent to secure local transportation. Koster also announced that foreign tourists are now prohibited from renting motorcycles and driving themselves while on the Island. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Visa-on-Arrival for Ukrainian and Russian Nationals to End?
The Governor announced that he has written to the Central Government in Jakarta urging that the visa-on-arrival facility be withdrawn for Ukrainian and Russian nationals. Adding: “I’m sorry. This (action) is not a reaction to viral news and videos, and these viral reports have not influenced us. This is something that has been in the works since the COVID epidemic. This cannot be rushed; actions have been underway for months, and this work has been undertaken silently.”
The Governor has already sent a letter to the Minister of Law and Human Rights that was copied to the Minister of Tourism requesting that the visa-on-arrival (VOA) facility be withdrawn for people from Ukraine and Russia. He said further negotiation with the Central Government would determine if other countries should also lose access to VOA. Koster defended the decision to revoke the VOA for Russians and Ukrainians due to the ongoing conflict between those two countries and a need to minimize visits for non-tourist purposes. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Underlining his intent, Governor Koster said: “I have written to the Minister of Law and Human Rights (Kemenkumham) copied to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Kemenlu) asking to revoke the VOA facility for Russians and Ukrainians wishing to visit Bali.”
The Governor’s said new rules forbidding foreign tourists from driving vehicles are being introduced because of the disorderly manner in which tourists drive in Bali and the fact that many do not hold the required driver’s license (SIM). Koster reminded all tourists who visit Bali to act in an orderly and disciplined manner, obeying the laws of Indonesia and respecting local culture, especially the culture of the Island of Bali. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
oster continued: “Tourists must behave like tourists and use vehicles provided by travel agents. Tourists must not self-drive or drive a motorcycle without wearing a shirt or a helmet. What’s more, they do not have valid driver’s licenses, which are serious law violations.”
The Governor’s decision seems certain to precipitate protests from the many companies in Bali renting motorcycles and self-drive vehicles on the Island. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Addressing reports of foreign nationals holding official Indonesian identity cards (KTP), Koster said these incidents remain the subject of an ongoing police investigation. While the investigation continues, the Ministry of Law has not undertaken the deportation of foreigners with KTPs until the formal investigation is completed. Commenting further, Koster said: “The investigation of KTP forgery is still in progress.” He explained that the immediate deportation of specific individuals would frustrate efforts by police to identify all the parties involved in the document falsification.
Interviewed separately, the Head of the Bali Kemenkumham Office, Anggiat Napitupulu, said he viewed the letter the Governor wrote requesting the revocation of VOAs for Ukrainians and Russians as an appropriate initiative undertaken by the Head of the Province to safeguard Bali. Anggiat commented that while visa facilities were the official purview of the Central Government, the Provincial Governor’s input would certainly be considered by the Minister of Law and Human Rights. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
VOA facilities are based on a decision by the Minister of Law and Human Rights, based on input from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Tourism, and the regional governments.
Russia and Ukraine are included in the list of 72 countries accorded Visa-on-Arrivals (VOA) for visiting tourists. Citizens of these 72 countries are allowed entry via nine international airports, eleven seaports, and four border crossing areas. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Russian Envoy Objects to VoA Revocation
As reported by Beritabali.com, Ambassador Vorobieva, commenting on the recommendation to end the VOA facility for her countrymen, said, “clearly, this will have an impact on the flow of Russian tourists.” The Ambassador was speaking at a Forum on Indonesian-Russian Tourism held in Jakarta on Friday, 17 March 2023.
Bali Governor Koster recently wrote to officials in Jakarta recommending that the VOA facility be withdrawn for citizens of Russia and Ukraine. Koster said his recommendation was made after considering the large number of reports of Ukrainians and Russians breaking the law in Bali.
Koster acknowledged that the continuing Ukraine-Russia conflict had prompted the citizens of those two countries to seek the safety and security of Bali. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Meanwhile, the Russian Ambassador has promised to remind Russian tourists traveling to Bali to follow all the local laws and regulations, adding that most Russian tourists are law-abiding. Ambassador Vorobieva admitted that while several Russians do not obey the law, but urged all concerned not to focus only on that fact.
Widely reported in the press, Russians have been documented breaking traffic laws and falsifying their identity papers. In early March, Immigration officers apprehended and deported three women working as prostitutes in Bali.
The head of Bali’s Provincial Tourism Service, Tjok Bagus Pemayun, told the State News Agency Antara on Thursday, 16 March 2023, that should the Governor’s recommendation go forward, the removal of the VOAs for Russians and Ukrainian would not represent a significant problem.
Pemayun said he had not received a formal response from the Minister of Law and Human Rights or the Minister of Foreign Affairs addressing the Governor’s recommendations. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Ukrainian Envoy Offended by Bali Governor
The recent pronouncement by Bali Governor Wayan Koster seeking Jakarta’a agreement to withdraw the visa-on-arrival facility (VoA) for Russian and Ukrainian citizens has triggered an angry, emotional response from Ukraine’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Vasyl Hamianin.
In advocating the revocation of the VoA for Ukrainians and Russians, Governor Koster linked his request to the incidents of criminality and violation of local regulations committed by the citizens of those two countries. In recent weeks, Bali Immigration authorities have deported many Russian citizens from Bali for working illegally or overstaying their visas. Russians have been apprehended for various immigration violations, including working as commercial sex workers, running a motorcycle driving school, and self-employment as a professional photographer. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
As reported by Beritabali.com, Ambassador Hamianin vehemently rejects that the actions and activities of Ukrainians in Bali are linked with the actions of Russian nationals and says he has taken offense to recent comments by Bali’s Governor. As a result, the Ukrainian Ambassador demands that Governor Koster clarify his statements and reveal complete data on the number of Ukrainian and Russian tourists in Bali breaking the law.
Speaking during a virtual press conference on Tuesday, 14 March 2023, the Ukrainian Ambassador said he would like to review the official statistics on the crimes committed by Ukrainians in Bali that would warrant them being removed from the list of countries eligible for a visa-on-arrival. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
The Ukrainian Ambassador estimates only some 5,000 Ukrainian citizens live in Bali, much less than the 60,000 Russians he estimates occupy the Island.
Hamianin says the majority of Ukrainian living in Indonesia are staying on the Island of Bali, with only a smattering of Ukrainians living in other locales, such as Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Ambon.
Underlining his demand to Bali’s Governor, Ambassador Hamianin asked Koster to “kind heartedly” present and publish the statistics on any illegal activities by Ukrainians living in Bali The Ukrainian Ambassador would like to see if errant behavior by Ukrainians is sufficient to warrant revoking future Ukrainian visitors access to the VoA.
The Ambassador refused to directly discuss Russia or its people but was adamant that Ukrainians not be placed in a single category with Russians. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Pointing out a critical difference between the two nations, Ambassador Hamianin said that while some Russians come to Bali to avoid being drafted into a war, many Ukrainians have evacuated to Bali to seek safety from the Russian military invasion. Adding: “When the bombing and the explosions stop, they (the Ukrainians) will quickly return to their homes. On the other hand, there are Russians that do not want to be mobilized and drafted into the Russian Armed Forces. Most of these people are young Russian men who have relocated to many places around the world.”
Late last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin implemented a large mobilization of civilians, drafting them into the ongoing invasion. As a result, many Russian men have traveled abroad to avoid the draft. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
The Ukrainian Ambassador said the revocation of the VoA facility for the nationals of his country would represent an “unfriendly act” by Indonesia, saying he hoped the people of Indonesia would embrace Ukrainians as their friends. At the same time, the Ambassador supports all efforts by Indonesian authorities to take appropriate enforcement measures whenever a Ukrainian is found to be breaking the law.
Vasyl Hamianin was appointed Ambassador to Jakarta by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on 30 July 2021, presenting his credentials to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on 25 October 2021.
Hamianin also serves as the Ukrainian Ambassador to ASEAN.
Married with two sons and a daughter, the Ambassador’s daughter, Varvara Hamianin, joined the evacuation of Indonesians living in Ukraine following the Russian invasion of his country. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Foreigners: Don’t Drive in Bali
Balipost.com and NusaBali.com quote the Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno characterizing Bali’s desire to prohibit self-drive motorcycles and other vehicles as important and necessary to enhance roadway safety.
“We are certainly looking at the safety aspects – especially traffic safety. This is because many foreign tourists do not hold an appropriate motorcycle license. Attention has not been paid to this for quite some time,” said Sandiaga, quoted by The State News Agency Antara on Wednesday, 15 March 2023.
Minister Sandiaga said unlicensed tourists experiencing a road accident could have fatal consequences.
Sandiaga defended the recent ruling ending self-drive cars and motorcycles for tourists, explaining that the government has received much input urging closer road supervision and enforcement action against traffic violations. The Minister added: “We have published a ‘do’s and don’ts” manual for enforcement officials who supervise the safety of tourists and foreign travelers.” [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Earlier, the head of the Provincial Tourism Services (Dispar), Tjok Bagus Pemayun, reminded that the Governor’s recently announced prohibition of self-drive vehicles operated by tourists on every kind of vehicle in Bali was already addressed in a Gubernatorial Regulation published in 2020 (Pergub 28 Tahun 2020 Pasal 7 ayat 4). That regulation, seeking to encourage quality tourists to visit Bali, required that tourists only use vehicles provided by licensed travel agencies.
Tjok Bagus said the prohibition on tourists self-driving motorcycles and other vehicles will be socialized following further coordination with the Island’s police. He also said traffic laws must be enforced uniformly and without favor on both locals and foreigners in Bali. Uniform enforcement is needed to avoid foreigners feeling they are being singled out for not wearing a helmet when, in fact, many local Balinese escape enforcement. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Speaking to NusaBali.com on Wednesday, 15 March 2023, Nengah Nadi, the owner of Subrata Motor Bike for Rent – a motorcycle rental company in Kuta, says he disagrees with the rules announced by Governor Koster. “If foreign tourists are not allowed to use rental motorcycles, this is the same as killing motorcycle renters. I regret this change. Why wasn’t this rule introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic?”
Nengah Nadi said how he has rented motorcycles for the last five years. During the pandemic, when there were no rentals, he was compelled to sell all his motorcycles to pay his living costs. When the pandemic lifted, he obtained credit to purchase ten motorcycles to restart his business. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
“I have now borrowed money to buy more motorcycles. If the (new) regulation takes effect, I cannot secure the down payment for more bikes. I will have to return the bikes. I will have no work. I will be completely ruined. It will be like a second pandemic. I now own ten motorcycles – all bought on credit,” said Nengah Nadi. He continued, saying he does not believe all tourist visitors misbehave and break the laws on Bali roadways. He feels only a few tourists are disrupting public order and breaking the rules.
Nengah requires all his foreign tourist customers to provide copies of their passports, driving license, hotel details, and telephone contact. He said he also checks the driving competency of each customer before renting out a motorcycle.
Motorbike rental companies are reporting a rapid and continuing increase in business since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Many rental agencies are calling on the government to review the Governor’s newest ruling and continue to allow foreign tourists to rent motorcycles. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Bali Deports Harlots & Driving Instructors
Bali immigration has recently deported several foreigners for working illegally for holding jobs such as surfing instructors, instructors teaching people how to drive motorcycles, and, most recently, for employment as commercial sex workers.
Russian nationals have emerged recently as the dominant group among illegal workers arrested for deportation by Bali immigration officials.
The State News Agency Antara, reports that three Russian females, identified only by the initials VS, IL, and TE, have been deported after being caught in a villa in the Seminyak-Kuta area of Bali working in the commercial sex industry.
The three women were forcibly boarded on Turkish Airlines Flight TK67 from Bali to Istanbul on Friday, 10 March 2023, with an onward connection to Moscow using TK 417. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Immigration arrested the three after local villagers reported suspicious business activities in a private villa in Seminyak in the company of three Indonesian nationals.
Interrogation of the three Russian women revealed that two (VS and TE) women entered Indonesia using a B211A Visitors Visa only valid for cultural, business, sporting, and tourism. Meanwhile, IL used a Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) valid for 30-60 days.
The head of immigration in Bali, Silmy Karim, thanked the public for making reports that led to the arrest and deportation of the three women.
Also, on Friday, two Russian men, RK and AG, were deported for operating a motorcycle driving school for foreign visitors to Bali.
Immigration report that some Russian males apprehended in Bali by immigration claim they are working illegally or overstaying their visas to avoid mandatory military service in Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Police Campaign Against Errant Motorists
NusaBali.com reports that the Traffic Police Division of the Denpasar Police and related agencies are now busily engaged in a crackdown on traffic violators in the Island’s capital.
In the face of a growing number of traffic violations, traffic police are issuing a large number of tickets. The crackdown comes after several months when police were told to refrain from giving tickets, allowing ticket issuance by an automated CCTV-based computer system instead.
Police are now being urged to bring motorists, including foreigners, who are flagrantly breaking traffic laws, into line and issue manually written citations.
On Thursday, 09 March 2023, Denpasar Police set up checkpoints along many busy roads, including Simpang Buagan, Simpang Umadui, Tohpati traffic light, Simpang Grand Bali Beach in Sanur, the police post on Kuta Beach in front of The Hard Rock Bar, Simpang Siligita, Simpang Sunset, and Simpang Camay Jalan Agung Denpasar.
With the commencement of the crackdown on traffic violations, police are busy writing tickets at the checkpoints mentioned above for motorcyclists driving without a helmet and vehicles with no license plates. Police say that in the first two hours of the coordinated crackdown, 88 traffic violators were issued tickets. [Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023]
Ketut Sukardi, the official spokesperson of the Denpasar Police, reported that traffic tickets were issued to 56 drivers for not wearing helmets; 10 drivers for lacking complete driver and vehicle documentation; 10 vehicles for lacking vehicle registration and proper license plates; 6 vehicles for having mufflers than had been modified to create elevated levels of noise; and 2 motorcycles carrying more than two passengers.
Sukardi also confirmed that during the raids, police seized 17 motorcycles; 25 driver licenses (SIM); 46 vehicle registrations (STNK); and many more tickets issued by the police.
Police took action against both Indonesians and foreigners. Of the 16 foreigners cited, 14 failed to wear the mandatory helmet, and 2 for having more than two passengers on a motorcycle. Regarding nationality, the 16 foreign law violators comprised 13 Russians, 2 Americans, and 1 Thai national.
Main Article: Bali Nyepi 2023
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