Jokowi Administration Promises to Proceed with Rempang Eco-City Project
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia ensured President Jokowi's administration would proceed with the development in Batam despite alleged human rights violations and rejection from locals. "[Rempang Eco-City development] will be resumed, there is no cancellation," he said when met after a meeting today, September 25, 2023.
"The surrounding resident's rights and interests will too become the priority," he added. As we know, Rempang residents, who have lived in the area longer than Indonesia has been independent, refused to be relocated on September 28 for the sake of the national strategic project development.
This boiling tension resulted in a clash between joint apparatus and civilians on September 7, and again on September 11. The security officers allegedly conducted repressive measures toward civilians including apprehension and tear gas, impacting nearby school children.
The National Commission on Human Rights and several other NGOs demanded the development of this project be halted until the relocation issue is resolved. The Commission also recorded civilian arrests of 8 people on September 7 and 34 others on September 11. "We need to study the facts to reach a conclusion on the suspicion of the human rights violation. But there is indeed a strong indication of violation," said Commissioner Saurlin Siagian in his office last Friday.
However, Minister Bahlil said that the president strives to resume the relocation process which has actively been socialized by the government. According to Bahlil, the government will relocate five villages; Blongkeng, Pasir Panjang, Simpulan Tanjung, Pasir Merah, and Simpulan Hulu to Tanjung Benun. It is located no more than three kilometers away from their actual homes, Bahlil said.
Reportedly, out of the 900 registered households in the area, nearly 300 have voluntarily registered for relocation.
DANIEL A. FAJRI
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