To: List hidden (but did NOT
include Bali Discovery Tours)
Sent: Saturday, November 16, 2002 12:13 PM
Subject: My Bali visit - not good, not good at all.
Hi (individual recipient names not shown)
I did not tell many people, but I actually came to Bali for 9
days on the 4th November. I wanted to see for myself just how
things were, especially about what was being done security wise
to protect the island. I have to tell you, sorry, but I was horrified.
When I flew out of Phuket and then Singapore, security was tight.
Every bag was searched. People were screened twice. In Bali, the
x-ray machine attendant was reading a book, and the only bags
the Customs officers looked at were my duty free bags to see if
they could make some money off me.
I spoke to people who had boarded internal flights from Java
and Flores to Bali, and they said there was absolutely no security
at either end. When I went to Sideman to buy some songket, I went
down to Padang Bai. I was told previously that the ports now had
really tight security. There was no security there and I have
the photos to prove it. Five policeman were in their little office
talking, but did not scrutinize any of the vehicles / people coming
I am sorry, but will all the best will in Bali, this will not
stop terrorists from coming there. And I fear next time it could
be worse. With such appalling security at the airports, I can
easily imagine a highjacked Merpati flight crashing into a major
hotel in Kuta, Sanur or Nusa Dua. I also believe it is dangerous
to go to tourist areas such as bars, shops and restaurants. As
not enough has been done to reduce the risk of another terrorist
cell bringing another car bomb over.
I think it is irresponsible to tell people it is safe in Bali.
Sure, nowhere is safe anymore, but you do what you can to make
things as safe as possible. This is clearly not happening in Bali.
I can tell you, I feel a lot safer in Thailand then I do in Bali,
you can see the security here. Are the Police in Bali mounting
road blocks? No, they are sitting lazily in their little boxes
or escorting bus loads of people to ceremonies for a fee.
I think telling the world Bali is safe is foolish. I believe
that if tourists believe this, the people who say it may become
guilty of their future murders. I also believe, if Bali is hit
by a big terrorist attack again, it will never recover. Besides
that, I believe people (tourists) are not fools, and actually
will avoid Bali if they feel they are being sold / lied to. Which
I believe they are right now. I love Bali. My wife is Balinese.
I own a resort in Bali. I have invested in my reservations business
for Bali. I want Bali to recover for many reasons. Not least for
the Balinese people themselves. But I am so worried.
Please. If you agree with me, do something now. Don't tell people
Bali is safe. Tell the government to make Bali safe and then tell
the guests the truth. Bali is an island. It only has 4 main ports.
How difficult is it to make Bali a safe haven where people feel
and are genuinely safe. This is not about politics. This is just
about common sense. Please, if you agree. Tell your local government
representative to act now. Perhaps even make the tourist areas
such as Jl Legian a pedestrian precinct, with very limited delivery
vehicle access. Something needs to be done for Bali's sake.
I know the local Banjars are doing their best. But island security
should not be their responsibility. It should be the responsibility
of a Police and Customs force that cares about the island, not
their pockets. And simply checking for KTP cards is not enough.
Amrozi has a valid KTP card - would that have stopped him?! And
KTP cards are often sold illegally. Search the people, search
the vehicles, get rid of the bad officers.
Thanks for listening.
PS - If any hotel has special security precautions in place,
I would love to hear about them to try and promote that hotel
during these difficult times. But please, do not just say "We
have extra security". Please tell me what (e.g. "We
have closed our car park and doubled the number of guards")
so I can pass this on.
PPS - If any hotel has continued to keep all their staff on full
time, please tell me. As I will also promote the hotels that are
looking after their Balinese staff like this.