Antara, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for economic affairs Airlangga Hartarto, on Friday (September 29), visited Rempang Island, Riau Island Province, to affirm the government's vow to build new homes for local residents affected by the development of the Rempang Eco City.
The Rempang Eco City development project has been registered as one of the national strategic projects.
"On this occasion, I would like to guarantee that the government will realize what it has promised," he remarked, as cited from a statement received in Jakarta on Saturday (September 30).
The minister expressed hope that the government would soon be able to execute its plan for constructing houses and various infrastructures, including water and electricity systems. The government will carry out the construction by taking the interests of locals into account, he said.
"The president has conveyed directives that emphasize the need to fulfill the interests of the people. He has also instructed us to give certificates of property rights to those living here," he noted.
Minister Hartarto then explained that his visit to the island was also meant as an opportunity for him to personally review the location suggested for the development of houses and infrastructure for the local community affected by the development of the Rempang Eco City.
According to him, after conducting a series of meetings, the government had decided to formulate a Presidential Regulation (Perpres), with the objective of providing the local residents with certainty regarding the development of their new houses.
"I heard that all the people have been asking for certainty. I can guarantee that we have held meetings and reported the results to the president. We will devise a Perpres," he pointed out.
During his visit, the minister was welcomed by local residents, including local public figures, in Al Ikhsan Mosque, Tanjung Banon Village.
Gerisman Ahmad, one of the public figures, told the minister that all residents hoped the development on Rempang Island would continue without neglecting the interests and rights of the Malay people inhabiting the island.
"In principle, we all support the development efforts on Rempang Island. However, I hope that Mr. Minister, as a representative of the central government, will pay attention to the dignity of us, the Malay people," Ahmad stated.
Previously, in early September, a clash between local residents and security forces occurred due to the residents' protest against the Eco Rempang City project, which requires the relocation of thousands of people inhabiting the development area.
On Tuesday, President Joko Widodo stressed that the conflict was triggered by the failure to provide the residents with comprehensive information on the project plans as well as the compensation they will receive.
"Residents would actually be given 500 meters of land plus one building with a type 45. However, this was not communicated well, and it caused a problem," the president affirmed in Cilegon City, Banten.