Tomy Winata: It's Just Miscommunication
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - It was not easy to convince Tomy Winata to agree to an interview. The name of this entrepreneur became a talking point again after the violence on Rempang Island, Riau Islands province, on Thursday, September 7. The police were trying to clear the 16,500-hectare island by moving its 7,500 inhabitants to Galang Island.
The Batam Development Authority (BP Batam) wants to turn Rempang Island into the Rempang Eco-City, a business and industry center for Batam. The developer is Makmur Elok Graha (MEG), a subsidiary of the Artha Graha Network, the business conglomerate established by Tomy Winata.
When we sent a message by cell phone asking for an interview, there was no reply. According to close associates, Tomy was in Europe seeking investors for the development of Rempang Island. This was why he was only prepared to be interviewed on Thursday, September 14. The next day he was flying overseas. For two hours he spoke about the Rempang Eco-City with Tempo reporters.
What has MEG done during the period 2001-2023?
Negotiations. About the investment, its form, the capital with several investors. In short, it was down to two investors in the end, one from a friendly country and one from us. Finally, the conditions were set. But I don’t know (what happened) when the contract was about to be signed, this friendly country withdrew. Only then did we come in. Only then did we detail the commitment until an agreement was reached in 2004.
Why there hasn’t been much news about the project after that?
We’ve kept corresponding. We kept monitoring.
The plan is to hand over the land this year?
It’s still a plan. They have vacated it and will hand it over to us to prepare the ground for investors.
Who determines the zoning in that region?
We received the result of the meeting between BP Batam and the DPR (House of Representatives). We were given a concept and invited to discussion. “Do you have objection (to the proposal)?” they asked. I didn’t mind. In that area, we will work on only 7,500 hectares, not 17,000 hectares.
What is the concept of the Rempang Eco-City like? Is it the same model as the Sudirman, Central Business District in Jakarta?
A combination. There will be public housing, low-cost housing, low-cost apartments for rent. Also, medium cost (apartments).
What about the industrial zone?
Yes. But on the condition to keep pollution as low as possible.
We heard that Xinyi (a Chinese company) is also coming in. What is the scheme?
In Batam, they (will build manufacturing facilities) of silica and quartz sands as well as solar panels for new and renewable energy.
Is it true that it is asking for 2,000 hectares?
No. If you have a 1,000-meter land, can you use up all of it?
Won’t the presence of the industry disrupt the development concept for the area?
It has been zoned like Bekasi. There are separate industrial and housing zones.
You will also do conservation?
Correct. We’ve prepared a program. For the first phase, if all is clear, we will plant 1,000 to 100,000 trees. That will create jobs too. And 100,000 is not a period but a comma.