Victims’ rage against new Bali bombing site plan
SURVIVORS and families of those killed in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings are outraged that a Bali government has approved plans for a restaurant on the sacred site of the Sari Club.
Construction of a planned five-storey complex on the former site of the Sari Club, in the heart of Kuta, is due to begin soon.
A sign outlining the proposal was erected yesterday, dismaying Australian and local victims who have worked for the past decade to have the plot turned into a peace park.
"People are absolutely outraged and disappointed and people are saying, I am never going back to Bali again," David Napoli, the Bali Peace Park Association chairman said.
The land has remained vacant since the night, on October 12, 2002, when terrorists detonated a massive car bomb on the street outside the club.
That bombing, along with a suicide bomber who minutes earlier detonated himself inside Paddy's Bar, just across the road, killed 200 innocent people along with two suicide bombers.
Among those killed were 88 Australians.
In the wake of the bombings the Bali Peace Park Association was set up to raise enough money to buy the site from the owner.
However for years the plans were stalled and the land has been vacant and used as a car park.
A representative of the land owner, in a letter to the Bali Peace Park Association, says building will start on May 1.
The Balinese Government built a monument, on a plot directly across the road from the Sari Club which features the names of all those who lost their lives and which was opened on the first anniversary of the bombing.
The land owners had recently offered the Peace Park Association the opportunity to lease the 700 m2 fifth floor of the planned new building to construct a memorial.
The 100-year lease was offered at the price of 50 Billion Rupiah or $5 million.
In a letter the land owner says: "We highly respect the historical situation and conditions our land and we always put forward the values of humanity so we still want to rent ex Sari Club land at a minimal price and full of consideration for Rp 50,000,000,000 (Fifty Billion Rupiah) with an area of 700 m2."
But Mr Napoli says negotiations with the land owner had been fraught for years.
"It has been smoke and mirrors, lies and deception, shifting ground all the time," he said.
The group now plans to call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to call Indonesia's President Joko Widodo.
The PM tonight described the decision by local Bali authorities as "deeply distressing".
In a series of posts on Twitter, Mr Morrison said the Australian Government was working to resolve the issue.
Thiolina Marpaung, who was severely injured in the bombing, said they had sought to buy about 800m2 of land in front of the plot for 30 Billion Rupiah but the owners had not responded since a meeting in early April.
Ms Marpaung said she was saddened by the decision.
Speaking on the Sari Club site yesterday, she told News Corp Australia: "It hurts my heart. I really hope that the land could be used as a Bali peace park, the place to remember the tragedy and echo peace into the world.
"I am embarrassed at what our government has done. We really hope our government can support us to build this peace park. We would not build a business there. We need a place to make people understand the tragedy, respect those killed in the tragedy, whose names are on the list on the Bali bombing monument. Nowadays, people don't know what the monument is for, they just come to visit and have a selfie photo at the site."
The land is owned by a company called PT Hotel Cianjur Asri.
Yesterday its asset manager, Dewa Jati Negara, said a five-storey restaurant would be built on the site with a Bali bombing museum on the top.
He said "for sure" there would be no nightclub on the site.
Asked about objections from survivors, Mr Dewa said: "We cannot force the owner, as this land is owned by someone. It's private property."