Jokowi Appoints Investment Minister to Resolve Rempang Island Conflict
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo appointed Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia to directly meet with Rempang residents. "Tomorrow or the day after Minister Bahlil will head to [Rempang Island] to give explanations concerning the issue," Jokowi said to reporters when met in Cilegon today, September 12, 2023.
The issue at hand was the agreement to provide the relocated residents in Rempang with 500 meters of land plus a 45-type building. According to Jokowi, the conflict was triggered by poor communication between law enforcers and the residents.
Ever since last week, mass protests followed the plan to relocate residents from Rempang in order to develop Rempang Eco-City. The protests ended in chaos.
Last August, the government included Rempang Eco-City as thenational strategic program. The area will be turned into an integrated industrial, tourism, and housing complex under PT Makmur Elok Graha, the subsidiary of PT Artha Graha, owned by Tommy Winata.
The residents refused to be relocated, as they have been residing in the area since 1934. However, the government decided to proceed with the development plans, starting with measuring and installing benchmarks at Sembulang Village, Rempang Island. The village will be the starting point of a glass factory development for a China-based company, Xinyi Group.
Over the last few weeks, the residents of Rempang has successfully blocked access to the village, preventing the BP Batam officers from conducting land measurement. The residents believed there was no clear agreement between the officers and the residents to proceed with the agenda.
However, last Thursday, joint apparatus from the National Armed Forces, the National Police, Ditpam BP Batam, and the Civil Service Police Unit forcefully entered the village, causing riots. The joint apparatus used tear gases on the resident, which also impacted school children and toddlers.
All affected households are targeted to register for the relocation by September 20, 2023. By September 28, the government called for Rempang to be "clean and clear".
DANIEL A. FAJRI | YOGI EKA SAHPUTRA
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