From The Jakarta Post http://www.thejakartapost.com/detailbusiness.asp?fileid=20060302.M02&irec=2

BPKM comes to defense of Briton in Bidadari resort controversy

Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) chairman M. Luthfi made it clear Wednesday that businessman Ernest Ledandowsky could go ahead with the construction of a hotel and cottage facilities on Bidadari island in the province of East Nusa Tenggara despite recent controversy.

"There is nothing wrong with his project. He has obtained an investment permit under the prevailing regulations," he told reporters following a meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

The problems that have arisen might be connected to the security of the tourist resort given that the island is located in an isolated area, he added. "However, the investor has the right to receive security protection from the state. As a foreign investor, he is also required to abide by all the laws of this country."

The controversy began when the East Nusa Tenggara Military Commander Colonel Noch Bola said Friday that the 15.4-hectare Bidadari Island had been bought by Lewandowski three years ago from a local personage named Haji Mahmud for Rp 495 million (US$53,000).

The colonel claimed that local fishermen were angry about the project after they were allegedly banned from entering the waters near the island.

Lewandowski, however, said that his company, PT Reefseekers Kathernest Lestari, had secured an investment permit from the BKPM to develop the resort.

His lawyer, I Gusti Putu Ekadana, said that the proposal had also been approved by East Nusa Tenggara Governor Yohanes Paki Pane and West Manggarai Regent Anton Bagul Dagur.

Regarding the ownership status of the land, Luthfi said that under the law, foreign nationals were not allowed to own land in Indonesia. "But they can use the land for commercial purposes based on a lease agreement," he explained.

Bidadari island is strategically located in the Labuanbajo island chain and is noted for its beauty. (02)
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