Trump resort will respect Bali customs, says business partner

JAKARTA • The Indonesian business partner of the Trump group has pledged to respect Hindu traditions and follow building-height restrictions at a luxury resort it is developing near a temple in Bali.

The MNC Group, which is run by Indonesian billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo, is aiming to start operations in 2019 or 2020, said a company official.

The Bali project - which includes a six-star hotel, villas and a golf course - will be developed by MNC and managed by the Trump Hotel Collection, a unit of the Trump Organisation founded by United States President Donald Trump.

"At the moment, (the Trump project in Bali) is in the design stage. The tallest (structure) is only three storeys," said Mr Herman Bunjamin, who is vice-president director at MNC Land, the MNC Group's property unit.

The company would follow local government rules in Bali stipulating that a building cannot be taller than 15m, and would respect the Hindu religion, he said.

Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, while Bali is home to most of the country's Hindu minority.

STILL IN DESIGN PHASE

At the moment, (the Trump project in Bali) is in the design stage. The tallest (structure) is only three storeys.

MR HERMAN BUNJAMIN, vice-president director at MNC Land, the MNC Group's property unit.

"Temples will not be disturbed, temple locations will not be changed," Mr Bunjamin told reporters.

The resort is refurbishing an existing hotel complex near the Tanah Lot Temple, which is a sensitive cultural and spiritual site for many Balinese.

Mr Tanoesoedibjo previously denied a media report suggesting there had been resistance from locals, with some refusing to sell extra land. He noted that "there's no issue with the residents".

Mr Bunjamin said the firm would focus on 110ha of land it already had, and would look to expand only if there were landowners who wanted to sell at the right price.

MNC has another partnership with the Trump Organisation to manage a luxury resort in Bogor on Java island.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2017, with the headline 'Trump resort will respect Bali customs, says business partner'. Print Edition | Subscribe