Monday, February 29, 2016

Safe to enter Indonesia/Tg Pinang now with bicycles!

Following our deportation from Tg Pinang 3 weeks ago, I was surprised at how fast the Indonesia Government has worked to tackle corruption. When I posted of our unfortunate experience, the blog post went viral and within days, it had 10000 hits.

I was overwhelmed by the kindness of many ordinary Indonesians who wrote in to show support and empathy and somehow, this reached the authorities. I was and still am humbled that MP of Tg Pinang the Honourable Ade Angga took an interest in the case and wrote to me to apologise, and assuring me that action will be taken.

This also made the news of the Batampos Newspaper and I even got another response from Mr Muchsinin Husien, the Head of Compliance of Directorate General of Customs, who informed me of an investigation into the matter.

Today, I got this amazing email from Mr Ade, MP informing me that they had a meeting with all the stakeholders involved. The 2 custom officers that asked for bribes were punished and I feel very sad for that. But we all make mistakes. However, the most important and good news for us cycle tourists, is that sports equipment (bicycles included) can come into Indonesia without requiring any payments.

Of course, this is subject to our bicycles returning with us when we leave Indonesia.

I am so heartened to know of Indonesia's resolve under President Widodo to eradicate corruption and its not just talk but fast action. All it took was 3 weeks to wrap this up and I cannot be more impressed.

So please my friends, let us continue to enjoy cycling in Indonesia, particularly Bintan and the other lovely Riau islands. Jan Boonstra, famous Dutch Carthographer who used to live and cycle this region describes Bintan as the best cycling secret in the Riau. The annual Tour de Bintan, held this year Apr 1, continue to be a world class cycling event and this is for good reasons.  Excellent and challenging cycling. Great roads, amazing scenery, countryside atmosphere and warm people.

Pic fm Bevancolles Blog

Here is an excellent video of our first Bintan ride done in 2009 by my friend Dr Kevin Soh. Bintan since then has undergone many exciting developments and we really enjoyed cycling the new highway from Tg Uban to Tg Pinang last year.


I have made several trips in the last 8 years and enjoy them thoroughly. So feel free to print this email out when you go, not that you need to after the message of no corruption is loud and clear.

As a gesture of gratitude, I shall be organising a Friendship Ride to Bintan later this year and do let me know of your interest if you are keen to support this ride.

God bless Indonesia and it's lovely people! Thank you very much once again to the MP of Tg Pinang Ade Angga. I am so honoured to be called your brother and hope to be able to cycle with you one day soon :)


Just received this from Mr Husien as well. I am very touched by their warm welcome. I was praying that something beautiful would come out of this incident, and it has!

Dear Mr. Al, I would like to inform you the progress from the investigation we've done. We interviewed the three officers that were on duty at the time. They have been counseled that their actions are not in accordance with Customs' best practice. They have been given guidance and briefings to increase their knowledge for better service in the near future.

Thank you for your feedback and apologize for the misunderstanding. We welcome you to explore wonderful Indonesia in the future.

Muchsinin Husein


Just got word that this article appeared in Tg Pinang newspaper today - 1 March 2016. Amazing.

The article using Google Translate as follows

BATAM.TRIBUNNEWS.COM, TANJUNGPINANG - Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD) Tanjungpinang upset by the action of an individual officer of the Customs Tanjungpinang allegedly extorting tourists from Singapore, some time ago.
Parliament was then summoned the leadership of the BC Hearings Meeting (RDP) in Tanjungpinang Senggarang Parliament Office on Monday (29/02/2016) afternoon.
This case is still attention after a scene in the social media. Whereas, the rating was uploading the BC officers demand money in pribadianya blog.
Even the Deputy Chairman of Parliament Tanjungpinang Ade Anga directly communicate with tourists and then berinisitif held RDP.
Member of the Commission 1 Parliament Tanjungpinang Beni in the forum said that the behavior of employees of BC is very embarrassing and create a bad image of government Tanjungpinang.
Moreover, who is a senior official that it was impossible not to know the rules. "We conclude that there is an intention to blackmail," he said.
Beni said, the budget Tanjungpinang prmosi much absorbed to travel to foreign tourists visiting Tanjungpinang.


Loh Yew Kwong said...

Hi! I wd like to join ur ride tis yr. Pls keep me in the loop. Tks.

Sapril EMKA Tours Sembiring said...

Hi .. I am Sapril Sembiring .. let me know if you need any assistance to ride bike in Bintan Island
Let's bike

Unknown said...

Would like to join your year end Bintan trip -Wai