Beranda Siaran Pers Without an AMDAL, Bahlil is Ambitious to Evict the Peoples of Rempang...

Without an AMDAL, Bahlil is Ambitious to Evict the Peoples of Rempang Island for the Sake of Chinese Investment


Press Release
Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI) Riau

Pekanbaru, 02 October 2023— Minister of Investment/Head of BKPM Bahlil Lahadalia has again issued baseless statements. At a press conference Monday (25/09/2023), Bahlil, who always calls himself a villager, claimed that the Rempang people were willing to be moved to another location on the same island voluntarily. This statement clearly contradicts the wishes of the majority of people in the five Old Malay Villages on Rempang Island. The findings of National Solidarity for Rempang clearly show the fact that the majority of people in five Old Malay Villages still consistently reject the construction of a glass factory owned by the Xinyi Group Company on 2000 hectares of customary land. Investment from China has driven the state with its repressive power to evict Rempang peoples, without a clear legal basis, without a certificate of management rights and Amdal documents.

The plan to evict eleven Old Malay Villages in Rempang and disturb five other Old Malay Villages on Galang Island and Galang Baru was modified. Now the government together with BP Batam and other agencies will focus on phase I eviction, where the glass factory will be built. The locations for Phase I of the evictions in Pulang Rempang were in Belongkeng Village, Pasir Panjang Village, Sembulang Tanjung Village, Sembulang Hulu Village, and Pasir Merah Village. Apart from evictions, the Government plans to move the five communities of the five Kampung Melayu Tua to Kampung Tanjung Banun. The purported plan for eviction and relocation has reportedly not been communicated to the people of Tanjung Banun Village.

Even Sembiring, Direktur Eksekutif WALHI Riau stated that until today peoples of Rempang Island still reject the relocation and defend their villages. “Peoples of Rempang Island still reject the evocation and ask for cancellation of glass factory construction. Bahlil’s statement that there has been an agreement with the community is misleading information. The people in the five old villages who, according to Bahlil, accepted the relocation, are actually still refusing to this day,” said Even.

Bahlil admitted that he had met representatives of the Rempang community leaders and discussed plans for the relocation of the community in five villages which would eventually be moved to another village approximately 3 km away. According to Even, Bahlil cannot make decisions from just one or two figures, even figures who are not from the five villages who will be evicted. Apart from that, the figure claimed by Bahlil actually stated different things to the people at several Legal Aid Posts and Humanitarian Posts. Public figures stated that this figure only communicated and handed over decisions to the community. This is different from what Bahlil said.

“Dialogue was never carried out, even the recordings circulating ignored the voices of village women who protested against him. Bahlil’s adamant attitude and his claims have only deepened the wounds and traumatic atmosphere of society and women resulting from repressive actions and intimidation. “Making small talk as a villager, but siding with investment, not listening, and continuing to speak without support for clear data is not eastern etiquette, not villager etiquette, not Malay etiquette,” said Even.

Even also said that WALHI and other advocacy teams had met with more Rempang residents than Bahlil had. “We have also collected evidence of resistance made by residents which we then shared via social media accounts so that the government and the public know that the people still want to defend their villages and refuse eviction,” said Even.

There is an AMDAL, Apparently It is Still Being Prepared?

The state, through the Minister of Investment/Head of BKPM, again provided incorrect clarification. On one occasion when responding to WALHI’s involvement, Bahlil stated that there had been an Environmental Impact Analysis (AMDAL) regarding the development plan for the Rempang Eco-City project and glass factory. He emphasized that the Rempang Eco-City project will not harm the surrounding environment. However, in reality the AMDAL Document has only just begun to be prepared. This is proven by the invitation letter issued by BP Batam for the AMDAL Preparation activity for the Rempang Eco-City Area on September 27 2023. How is it possible to assess environmental and social impacts without prior AMDAL documents?

“The preparation of AMDAL should go through a communication and consultation process with affected communities to hear opinions and responses regarding the project plan. In fact, the people of Rempang have never seen an AMDAL document that will evict the residences and social institutions of the Rempang people,” said Even.

Instead of consultations, the Head of BP Batam Muhammad Rudi on September 21 2023 in Pasir Panjang Village actually continued to urge the community to register to be relocated. This was then met with rejection by residents. The community urges the Government to review the Rempang Eco-City investment project plan, especially from the aspects of human rights, social and environmental sustainability. “Not caring about the 16 old villages, Bahlil is only worried about Chinese investment in Rempang. He does not position the history and civilization of the birth of Indonesia as more valuable than investment,” concluded Even.

Puspa Dewy, Head of the National WALHI Campaign Division, also assessed that the statements made by state officials regarding Rempang Island, instead of solving the problem, actually increased concerns in the community. “Even the Minister of Investment’s latest statement regarding WALHI’s involvement in the Rempang case increasingly shows the government’s fear of the amount of information being hidden from the public regarding this development plan,” said Dewy. To this day, residents have never been given information regarding the impacts of environmental damage that will occur as a result of this development plan. The government, as usual, only promises jobs, but is not honest about how many livelihoods, history and other things will be destroyed.

Rejection of Rempang-Galang community can be seen through the links below:

CP: 082288245828 (WALHI Riau)


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