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Bali Locals Refusing To Sell Land For Trump Estate

Hary Tanoesodibjo’s MNC group has been buying up land around the existing Nirwana resort at Tanah Lot, a relatively undeveloped area about an hour’s drive north of the main tourist strip at Kuta, as quoted from ABC News.

Trump Hotels will be built on a clifftop overlooking the famous 16th century Hindu temple, Tanah Lot. Picture source: travelwithbender.com

Demolition of the old resort is due to start in August, ahead of a three-year redevelopment that will be partly operated by the Trump group.

“It’s a big complex, more than 100 hectares, to build a hotel, villas, condominiums, also to build a country club — that is also with Mr Trump,” Mr Tanoesodibjo told the ABC.

But local landowners have told the ABC that they will not sell for the prices being offered.

“There is hardly anyone who wants to sell their land,” said Nyoman Madya, the head of the Enjung Pura neighbourhood that adjoins the planned Trump development.

He said representatives from MNC had approached several villagers with offers well under market.

“They couldn’t agree on the price,” Mr Madya said.

He said landowners wanted 500 million Indonesian rupiah (about $50,000) per are (an are is an area of 100 square metres) while they were being offered between 100 to 150 million IDR per are (approximately $10,000 to $15,000).

The area has been a target of developers for decades and he said local villagers knew what their land was worth.

“In the past when they wanted to buy land, it was like we had to sell when they were looking for hectares and hectares of land to buy, but now when this company is looking for land to buy, they can’t do what the previous ones did. They have experience,” Mr Madya said.

Local villager Wayan Renri said he had heard that “the President of America” had bought the hotel.

But the reluctance is not only because of the price.

Nyoman Sudina from Nyanyi village can see the Nirwana boundary from his property. The developers have bought fields all around his home.

“I’m not selling this land. If they want to lease it they can,” he said. “It’s the only property we have, it’s an inheritance.”

Made Sumaway is the head of traditional affairs in Beraban village. He was approached by MNC developers a year ago to facilitate land sales. He says he refused.

“We don’t want people to think that we got something from the deal,” Mr Sumaway said.

“So I told the management to make direct contact with the people. But it was last year and so far they haven’t got anything because people here think that they can’t sell their lands and they must preserve their lands. The management told me that they are prepared to buy as much as they can get. They have the money. But nobody is willing to sell to them.” he added.

MNC said the redevelopment was not being delayed.

“Our land acquisition process has not encountered any problems or issues beyond the regular negotiations when dealing with land owners in Bali,” the company said in a statement.

“Since our acquisition of Bali Nirwana back in 2013, we have already expanded this site and we will consider acquiring more land and investing in the future if there are any good opportunities; just like we do anywhere else in Indonesia.”

Mr Sumaway said it was important to understand the local spiritual connection to the land. “When we talk about the land in Bali, where most of its people are Hindus, the land has a very big meaning for us all. Because life is about take and give and that it’s the responsibility of the Hindus, to preserve not only the traditions, but the culture and religion as well,” he said.

The planned Trump resort is beside one of Bali’s most important Hindu sites — the temple at Tanah Lot that sits on a rocky island about 50m offshore. It is accessible only during low tide. The proximity of the temple means that any work done on the Trump resort will be watched closely by the island’s Hindu community.

Read full article, here

This piece was published at abc.net.au / Author: Adam Harvey 

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