The organizers of Miss World 2013 said on Monday that they have suffered heavy financial losses due to the Indonesian government’s decision to move the pageant from Java to Bali at the strong urging of Muslim hard-line groups.
“We had prepared for this for three years, and suddenly we only had three or four days to move the event,” MNC Group CEO Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who organized the pageant, said at a press conference in Jakarta. “We’re… hereby expressing our disappointment. The government should have been aware of [the potential resistance] and communicated this with us.”
Hary refused to cite precise losses, saying only that extra costs had been incurred in rearranging activities at the last minute and moving the accommodations for the 129 contestants, their supporters and family members.
He said he and other stakeholders in the event would discuss a strategy for dealing with the losses, but that there was currently no other choice but to proceed and make do.
“The focus now is to rescue this event so as to maintain Indonesia’s reputation,” he told Indonesian news portal liputan6.com. “We may have a problem inside the country, but outside we must maintain our dignity.”
Protests from conservative and hard-line Muslim groups, including the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), prompted the government to move the pageant to Bali, a predominantly Hindu island in Muslim-majority Indonesia.
Some segments of the contest were originally to be held in Jakarta, Bogor and Yogyakarta. The final event was set to take place in Bogor.
On Saturday, female police officers, backed by nearly 1,000 members of the National Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob), blocked 200 hard-liners from boarding a ferry to Bali, where they intended to continue their protests.