Batam Island is one of the islands in Riau Archipelago and is one among the 329 chain of islands located between the Strait of Malacca and Singapore which, as a whole, form the region of Batam. Written record about this island is scarce. There was only one literature which mentioned Batam, the London Treaty, which regulated the division of territory between the Netherlands and England dominion. However, according to travelers from China, this island has been inhabited since 231 AD, when Singapore was still called Ujung Island.
Before receiving special attention from the central government, Batam was a dormant island with wilderness almost untouched. However, there were several groups of indegenous populations that had inhabited this island in advance. Their professions were fishermen and farmers. They were not much involved in changing the appearance of this island, which used to be an expanse of jungle.
In the 1970s, Batam began to be developed as a logistical and operational base for oil and gas industry by Pertamina. Then, based on Presidential Decree (Keppres) No. 41 Year 1973, the development of Batam was entrusted to a government instution called Batam Island Industrial Area Development Authority or now known as the Batam Indonesia Free Zone Authority (BP Batam).
In order to implement the vision and missions in developing Batam, various modern infrastructures with international standards and various other facilities were built, in hope of being able to compete with similar regions in Asia Pacific.
In recent years, Batam, Bintan, and Karimun (BBK) Free Trade Zone (FTZ) which refers to Law No. 36 regarding Free Trade and Free Port Zones was implemented and was amended several times through Government Regulation In Lieu of Law (Perppu), which eventually was promulgated as Law No. 44 of 2007. There is also Law No. 36 of 2000 regarding the stipulation of Perppu No. 1 of 2000 (regarding Free Trade Zones and Free Ports) into Law, and many other laws and regulations related to Batam FTZ. Afterwards, in 2009, at the end of its official term, the members of Indonesian House of Representatives along with the Central Government, discussed the Special Economic Zone (KEK) Law as a legal umbrella for the establishment of KEK in Batam region and other areas in Indonesia.
Various progresses have been achieved, such as creating job fields which could accommodate a workforce which comes from almost all over the country. Likewise, the amount of revenues received by local and central increases continuously from time to time. This is resulted by none but the rise of industrial, trade, transhipment and tourism activities. However, as a rapidly developing area, Batam is not problem free. For this reason, improvements are made to the development of Batam Island in order to correct existing shortcomings.