Bali: Lock It Down Or Open It Up?

Bali Property Report
Wherever you are, you are not alone. Every country is finding their way through this labyrinth in their own way – some better than others. Indonesia is no exception.

In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to hold a public conversation about the more relevant points of life under the new normal, without having it dissolve into a partisan conflict over who is “more right”. Whether you are locked down in Melbourne or on the move up here in Bali, vaccinations, hydro-chloroquine, Trump (or your favorite political punching bag), masks and the like, seem to find their way into more conversations than they ought to. Now, I know that you are not clicking on this page to read your hard news, so I won’t digress into my biased point of view, but I will say this. Wherever you are, you are not alone. Every country is finding their way through this labyrinth in their own way – some better than others. Indonesia is no exception.

My personal perspective is to trust absolutely nobody’s reported numbers of cases, recoveries and deaths. Of course people are coming down with the virus, and yes, sadly, too many people have died from it. However, what degree of restrictive measures is too much? In Indonesia, our experience (outside of Jakarta) has been that the plandemic is delivering a much more of an economic blow to the people, rather than a health crisis one.

As reported in the Jakarta Post on Sunday October 4, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said that as the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia enters its eighth month that lockdowns are unnecessary and can unduly harm the economy. Jokowi later reiterated on his YouTube channel that public health was the government’s number one priority, but added a caveat.

“Prioritizing health doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing the economy. Sacrificing the economy is the same as sacrificing the lives of tens of millions of people, which is not an option for us.” He said that his administration was constantly looking to find a “balanced” way to address the outbreak. “So, there is no need to act high and mighty about implementing lockdowns in provinces, regencies or cities because it will sacrifice the people’s livelihoods. But we are still serious about preventing the outbreak from spreading further,” he said. He added that he believed more focused, “micro-scale” social restrictions were the most effective way to curb COVID-19 transmission. “We must make our decisions more directed, more specific, sharper and more focused to address the COVID-19 problem without killing the economy and people’s livelihoods,” he said.

Regardless of which course he chooses, there will always be critics. He has taken a lot of heat for his policies, but he has remained fairly firm. Or at least as firm as he can be, considering the challenges of trying to legislate policies for the entire archipelago. His own administration has lambasted his government for prioritizing the economic recovery over public health in dealing with the double crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They criticize that the government has shifted its focus mainly to the economic recovery, as several regulations, especially those related to health protocol, were starting to be eased.

Chicken or the Egg?

Do we eradicate the virus and then make the efforts to return the economy to pre-Covid strength? Or do we combat the virus with a combination of preventative measures and herd immunity and focus on regenerating the turn over of our resources to fortify the come back?

Less than one month ago, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo seemed to be leaning towards the former when he publicly reminded his aides to prioritize health and COVID-19 mitigation to ensure the survival of all facets of the nation’s development, including the country’s economy, which has been battered by the global pandemic. Health is key to economic recovery, Jokowi said. “Good health will lead to a good economy,” the President said during a meeting with his Cabinet members. “Our number one focus is health and COVID-19 mitigation.” He called on the national COVID-19 and economic recovery committee, as well as other related authorities, to put pandemic mitigation above all else, saying that economic recovery could only begin once public health has been restored. Furthermore, Jokowi called on the Health Ministry to devise a comprehensive testing plan so that every region across the archipelago could gain access to equal testing. “Let’s not restart the economy before we have properly handled this COVID-19 issue,” Jokowi added. The President’s statement came as an about-face following a number of government policies that sought to expedite the reopening of the country’s business sector and other public activities despite lingering virus fears. Last month, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry decided to postpone its initial plans to reopen several top tourist destinations in the country, including Bali, as the pandemic showed no signs of dissipating.

So Jokowi, much like any leader, is getting input from both the health sector and the economic sector about how and when to reopen. Often conflicting. No surprise there.

But what does this have to do with the property market in Bali?

For our foreign readers, it means that the market is holding fairly steady for the average family investor. Very little if any leasehold is being sold at market prices and the Hak Milik market is very active with Indonesian families and companies. This market has always been a buyer’s market, and luckily for our domestic investors, getting in and out of Bali to secure some great deals is fairly manageable. For our foreign investors, the road is a little more challenging, however, the same deals that are on offer to those who can come and go are also on offer for those of you who may be locked to one degree or another.

Want to learn more?

Call Patrick for a chat today on Whatsapp +62 817 973 3031; [email protected]