Over 90 percent of the 350,000 workers employed in Batam, Bintan and Karimun Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the Riau Islands province have no access to adequate housing and live in slum areas.
Head of the provincial manpower agency Azman Taufik said most workers could not afford to rent apartments, as the rent would take up their entire monthly income.
“They live in boarding houses or rental places in slum areas, as the monthly rent for adequate housing in Riau Islands is beyond their reach. The solution is to build low-cost apartments for them,” Azman said on the sidelines an inauguration ceremony for two new low-cost apartment blocks in Batam.
Public Housing Minister Yusuf Ansyari said he had asked the local Industrial Estate Association to provide land to build more low-cost apartments for workers.
“The association has in principle agreed to our request. We are considering whether to draft a regulation to make it legally binding,” Yusuf said.
He said his office would spend Rp 400 billion on building low-cost apartments for workers, students, the Indonesian Military and police personnel across the country. Part of the Rp 400 billion fund has been allocated for the construction of four twin blocks of low-cost apartments in Batam.
Mustofa Wijaya, chairman of Batam Industrial Development Authority (BIDA), said his office had only managed to build low-cost apartments for 4,500 workers.