Bahlil Lahadalia, the Indonesian Minister of Investment and Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), has confirmed that the government will proceed with Xinyi Group’s investment plans in Rempang, Batam, Kepulauan Riau.However, the government will prioritize the welfare and rights of the residents of Rempang in this investment process.
“Xinyi is still moving forward with this investment. I can assure you that Xinyi, up to this point, has gone through verification and obtained approval. We are currently handling the relocation of Rempang residents with caution, ensuring the rights of the people and involving security forces,” said Bahlil on October 21, 2023.
Xinyi Group, or Xinyi Glass Holdings Limited, is the company that has committed to investing in the Rempang Eco-City project. The world’s largest glass manufacturer plans to invest US$ 11.5 billion USD or around IDR 174 trillion by 2080.
The investment commitment from Xinyi Group was previously a concern, considering the recent conflicts between the government and the residents of Rempang Island.
Some time ago, 70% of the residents in Pasir Panjang, Rempang, Batam, Kepulauan Riau, expressed their willingness to relocate to Tanjung Banun. Pasir Panjang is one of the five villages prioritized for this relocation, and it consists of 150 families. Out of the total, 70% have agreed to the relocation, although some are still completing the necessary documentation.
Bahlil also emphasized the objectives of the Rempang project, which were initially aimed at competing with Singapore. However, he expressed concern because no major investors have stayed in Batam until now. Therefore, this project needs to be optimized.
“In the past, in 2004, there were major investments that came in but were eventually canceled due to protests. This shows that investments did not take place in Indonesia, and investors shifted to other countries. The same thing happened in 2010, and it continues until 2023. We need to ensure whether we are seizing this opportunity for our country or whether we are becoming a tool for other nations,” said Bahlil.
The government has identified five priority locations for the initial development phase of Rempang Eco-City. These locations include the villages of Pasir Panjang, Blongkeng, Sembulang Hulu, Sembulang Tanjung, and Pasir Merah.
In total, there are 961 households in these five villages. While some residents initially resisted relocation, 341 families have voluntarily agreed to relocate and have already moved to temporary housing. Resistance to relocation has not only occurred in Rempang but in several other investment locations as well.
“Now, we are beginning the process of relocating Rempang residents properly. We are providing the rights of the people and mobilizing security forces,” he noted.
“For investors, this amount is not trivial; it involves hundreds of trillions of rupiah. We must create a safe environment and provide a sense of security to investors. Otherwise, investors will not want to invest,” Bahlil emphasized.