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 PKS Warns of Flood of Spies, Rabble-Rousers and Drug Traffickers Under Expanded Visa-Free Rule

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BerichtOnderwerp: PKS Warns of Flood of Spies, Rabble-Rousers and Drug Traffickers Under Expanded Visa-Free Rule   vr 4 sep 2015 - 1:17

The Jakarta Globe, Thursday 3 Sept. 2015

Jakarta. Indonesia’s most conservative political party has expressed concern about the government’s move to waive visa requirements for visitors from an addition 47 countries – bringing the total to 92 – saying national security could be compromised.

The government announced earlier this week that the new rule would go into effect at the start of October, as part of efforts to boost tourist numbers and encourage greater investment into Indonesia.

But a politician from the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) argued that it would open the floodgates to a host of social ills.

“We cannot just let in foreigners who are seeking to carry out intelligence missions or incite conflicts,” Jazuli Juwaini, the head of the PKS caucus at the House of Representatives, said on Thursday.

He added that a potential increase in drug trafficking was another cause for concern – despite the fact that the majority of transnational drug arrests made in Indonesia involve Indonesians.

Jazuli said the PKS was also worried the visa-free policy would be easily abused by foreign jobseekers entering Indonesia under the pretext of tourism.

“There should be tight monitoring by both the Justice Ministry” – which oversees the immigration department – “and the public. There should be clear regulations,” he said.

He denied that the PKS was waging “anti-foreigner propaganda.”

“It's impossible for us to have an anti-foreigner stance, but we must ensure that foreigners’ presence here doesn’t violate immigration and manpower laws, as well as other regulations,” Jazuli said.

On Tuesday, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs, Rizal Ramli, said the government would waive visa requirements for nationals from 47 countries.

“We’re doing this because offering free visa [entry] is the quickest way to increase tourist numbers – and it costs nothing,” he said as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Once the new measure comes into effect, visitors from a total of 92 countries will be able to enter Indonesia for short-term tourism stays without the need to apply for a visa in their home country.

The list was earlier this year expanded from 15 to 45.

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