Indonesians are denouncing the construction of a Bali resort licenced to bear US President Donald Trump’s name — and it is an outrage of the divine kind, Bloomberg reported.
Billed as the largest resort project in the island, the six-star Trump International Hotel and Tower Bali will include structures higher than coconut trees, a slight to the gods according to locals. Adding insult to cosmic injury is the fact that the property faces the 16th-century temple Tanah Lot.
“If he forces his bling bling decoration here then it just won’t work,” said Made Sumawa, ethnic head of the village where the project is located, referring to Trump. “If he tries to force his style upon us then of course we will give recommendation against it.”
Set to start construction by 2018, the Trump resort in Bali resort will cover over 140 hectares, up from the original announcement of 106 hectares, Bloomberg reported. The expansive nature of the project has farmers worried that it would encroach on surrounding fertile land.
The addition of a golf course, a signature amenity of Trump developments, may also be anathema to sacred sites nearby. “A golf course isn’t a forest and it isn’t nature so it conflicts with the philosophy of upholding the temple’s sacredness,” said I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, local chief of the religious organisation Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia.
“These things are sensitive in Bali. The Balinese don’t tend to speak up, but these things related to the sacredness of the temple are very sensitive, only the enforcement is too weak.”
Indonesian property development giant MNC Group announced the licencing deal with The Trump Organisation in 2015. MNC Group founder Hary Tanoesoedibjo has since grown closer to the US president, who invited him to his inauguration this month in Washington, DC. Tanoesoedibjo himself is considering a run for the presidency in Indonesia.
Although Balinese are largely Hindu, Indonesia is a predominantly Islamic country, the world’s largest and one of several missing in Trump’s recent “Muslim ban.” The executive order, signed Friday, outlines extreme vetting procedures against travelers and citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Critics on social media note that Trump’s EO spares those originating from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and the UAE, countries where he has several licencing and development deals. The hijackers involved in the September 11 attacks were citizens of three of those countries.