Klungkung lawmakers are attempting to tackle the recent proliferation of cafés serving alcohol and featuring loud music and scantily clad waitresses.
They say they are responsible for various social ills, including domestic violence, while in neighbouring Karangasem regency Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has called on officials to take measures to reduce the number of cafés.
Klungkung regional assembly member Wayan Mastra called on all officials to think carefully before issuing new permits to would-be café owners. He said the promise of increased revenue was generally the only criteria assessed when processing permit applications, but stressed that social and cultural impacts needed to be considered too.
Mastra noted that cafés – popular with local men for late-night drinking and socialising – can now be found throughout Klungkung regency, including in rural areas and on remote Nusa Penida.
Mastra said that the problem was not the cafés themselves, but the behaviour of the clientele, pointing out that cafés were often the scene of violent incidents, and that they were frequently fronts for prostitution and drug dealing.
Most cafés employed at least six waitresses, who were often also prostitutes, Mastra said, adding that while in the past these women were usually economic migrants from other parts of Indonesia, they now included many local Balinese. “This is what’s called ‘cultural change,’” he said.
“All parties really need to think hard about how to counter the negative effects of these mushrooming cafés in Klungkung,” Mastra added.
Echoing Mastra’s concerns, village chief Ketut Rupia from Pakraman, Klungkung, said he had serious concerns about the social impact of the cafés.
“All I know is that cafés are popping up everywhere these days,” he said.
According to Rupia, married men who were regular visitors to cafés were often responsible for domestic violence when they came home late after drinking.
“If that kind of thing is allowed to go on it will be very bad indeed for the young generation,” he said, adding that the café owners themselves needed to take responsibility for the problems associated with their business.
Klungkung Police spokesman Komang Darma Suyasa said the authorities were aware of the issues associated with cafés serving alcohol, and added that officers regularly checked many of the businesses in their efforts to counter drug dealing, human trafficking and prostitution.
“We do routine checks and we admit there are still some cafés that aren’t licensed. At the moment we’re in the process of making a list of them,” he said.
Suyasa said that café clientele, while exclusively male, came from all sectors of society, and that café-goers included the unemployed, manual labourers and civil servants. Fights most commonly broke out over girls or due to drunkenness, he said.
Meanwhile, during a visit to Karangasem, governor Pastika called on local Regent Wayan Geredeg to take firm steps to curb the increasing number of cafés.
“I ask the Karangasem regent not to give any licenses to cafés, and if there are cafés in existence, he should take a firm hand and make sure that they don’t spread to rural areas,” Pastika said.
The governor said the proliferation of cafés in other areas of Bali had been associated with a rise in crime, prostitution, violence and drug-dealing.
Responding to the governor’s calls, Geredeg said he was unaware of any cafés in Karangasem, but said he was determined that no licenses would be issued should applications be made.Filed under: Headlines