The new president of Indonesia has certainly been busy this year and some of new regulations and enforcement of old ones, is making expats living in Bali and across the country a little uncomfortable. The government certainly seems like it is making Indonesia a less favorable place for foreigners wanting to work and start a business.
Carrying out death penalty
While there might be mixed support for the death penalty being applied to drug traffickers, both in Indonesia and abroad, no one can be happy with the way the executions are currently being carried out and how the image of Indonesia is being displayed to the world. While a great deal of attention if being given to two Australians on death row, there are nine other people currently facing execution, four Indonesians and five foreigners. Some people claim Indonesia is hypocritical for fighting for its own citizens abroad who are facing the death penalty. Last year the government paid “blood money” to have a migrant worker saved from execution. There are ongoing campaigns to boycott travel to Indonesia, Bali in particular, which could have an impact on the local economy.
Work permit changes
As previously mentioned in an earlier article, the government is making it more difficult for foreigners to obtain work permits and for some positions, they are being given for 6 months instead of 12.
Property law enforcement
The government announced this week that they would be cracking down on “foreign owned” properties in Indonesia, especially in Bali and Lombok. As most people are already aware foreigners cannot own freehold property in Indonesia. Many do however by working with an Indonesia and “borrowing” their name to buy the property. Of course how the checks are to be carried out is still not known. Property owned by Indonesians married to foreigners, who do not hold a pre-nup agreement, could also come under the spotlight.
Sale of alcohol banned from mini marts
From April this year, mini marts and convenience stores will no longer be able to sell alcoholic drinks. Hotels, restaurants and large supermarkets will still be allowed. While this probably has a greater effect on tourists than expats, it is certainly a worrying sign for people who like a drink. There have been calls in the past for a complete ban on alcohol in Indonesia.
This change actually started under the previous president. Any methods used by governments to control the government rarely work and any blocks are easy to get around. It is also possible for legitimate sites to get blocked. The online forum site Reddit is blocked by Telkom Speedy.
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