Singapore Exposes Investment In Republic of Indonesia: from Kendal to Batam

March 09, 2021

Thea Fathanah Arbar, CNBC Indonesia - March 9, 2021 - 19:24

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia - Indonesia and Singapore recently renewed their investment agreements. Represented by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi and Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, the two countries signed an exchange of Instrument of Ratification (IOR) Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

In his remarks, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing said that his country and Indonesia currently enjoy strong and extensive bilateral relations.

According to Chan Chun Sing, even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the extension of the BIT has actually strengthened the partnership of the two countries, and sent an important signal to both countries and partners in the region regarding the Singapore-Indonesia's Commitment.

"As Mrs. Retno said, last year Singapore was the largest foreign investment in Indonesia. We totally agree with you, Mrs. Retno. We are very pleased to have held this position since 2014 and we hope that investment will continue to grow,” said Chan Chun Sing in a virtual meeting on Tuesday (9 / March / 2021).

"Our investment in Indonesia is increasing 6.5% year-on-year to reach a record US $ 9.8 billion by 2020, regardless of the Covid-19 situation."

Chan Chun Sing also said Indonesia would continue to be an attractive investment destination for Singaporean companies. This can be seen from the continuing investment flowing into the Kendal Industrial Park in Central Java, and the Nongsa Digital Park in the Riau Islands (Kepri).

“The Kendal Industrial Park has made good progress since opening in 2016, with nearly 9,000 jobs created and US $ 1.37 billion in investment absorbed. Currently, there are more than 60 committed tenants in the Kendal Industrial Park," he explained.

The Kendal Industrial Park itself was officially designated as a Special Economic Zone by the Indonesian Government in December 2019. Chan Chun Sing said that the successful development of the Kendal Industrial Park can attract investment and encourage the development of the surrounding area.

For this reason, we are currently exploring other infrastructure developments, including the development of the Kendal Port. This will improve logistics and infrastructure connectivity in the Kendal area, making it more attractive for investment," he added.

In addition to the Kendal Industrial Park, Nongsa Digital Park is also a 'digital bridge' for technology companies in Singapore and Indonesia.

According to Chan Chun Sing, since its launch in 2018, Nongsa Digital Park has grown from a handful of companies and employees to more than 150 companies and start-ups from various sectors, including finance, human resources and real estate, with more than 900 technology developers and creative staff.

"With the global shift towards online platforms and digital solutions after the pandemic, this expansion will enable technology companies in Singapore and Indonesia to find more synergies, and take advantage of growing opportunities in the digital space," said Chan Chun Sing.

Not only that, the Batam, Bintan, and Karimun (BBK) areas also remain the foundation of strong bilateral economic relations between Singapore and Indonesia. According to Chan Chun Sing, this area benefits from various factors, including strong connectivity with Singapore, Batam's status as a Free Trade Area, and a conducive investment climate.

"BBK continues to have great potential as a driving force for Indonesia's economic growth, especially with the restructuring of the supply chain due to the Covid-19 pandemic," he said.

"Singapore remains keen to work with Indonesia to revive the BBK economy, by facilitating new investment opportunities and addressing the various logistical, administrative and regulatory issues faced by joint businesses."

As information, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the manufacturing sector at BBK itself was able to make a significant contribution to Indonesia's economic growth.