Antara, Jakarta – Indonesian Minister of Agrarian and Spatial Planning or Head of the National Land Agency (ATR/BPN) Hadi Tjahjanto stated that people residing on Rempang Island, Batam, do not have any land rights, particularly the right to cultivate permit (HGU).
"So people who live on Rempang Island do not have any certificate because everything is under the authority of Batam," Hadi said in a hearing with the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission II in Jakarta, on Tuesday, September 12.
Hadi explained that the 17,000 hectares of land to be used for the Rempang Eco City project is a forest area, and 600 hectares of the land is certified with the Land Management Rights (HPL) permit belonging to the Batam Concession Agency (BP Batam).
Hadi also said that before the conflict between security officers and the local community arose on Rempang Island, the government had held discussions with Rempang residents.
According to him, nearly 50 percent of the residents had accepted the relocation plan. The government had offered them a new place for them, especially fishermen, according to their livelihood. The government had also prepared the Building Use Rights (HGB) of 500 hectares of land located near the sea to make it easier for them to earn a living.
"We will then divide the 500-hectare land and immediately hand over 500 meters with the certification. We will also build facilities for worship, education, and health care," he added.
The Ministry of ATR/BPN in tandem with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) would build a pier for fishermen.
During the development process, the government would provide each family with a living allowance and a place to live.
Hadi went on to say that the government planned to provide educational scholarships to China for Rempang children who would be trained and later work in the glass factory to be established on the island. The former Indonesian Military commander claimed that most of the people on Rempang Island were satisfied with the government's explanation.
However, when the officials went to peg and measure the land on September 7, Rempang residents blocked their entrance, protesting against the relocation and the construction project of Rempang Eco City. A clash ensued, resulting in injuries and trauma to local children.
According to the local residents, the project which has been registered in the 2023 National Strategic threatens the very existence of 16 Malay traditional villages that have existed on Rempang Island since 1834.