Batam Island is one of the islands in the Riau Islands Province and is one of the 329 islands located between the Strait of Malacca and Singapore which, as a whole, form the region of Batam. Written records about Batam are scarce. There is only one known record which mentions Batam, the London Treaty, which regulated the division of the territory between the Netherlands and England. 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 an undeveloped island with untouched wilderness. At that time, there were several groups of indegenous people inhabiting the island. They were living as fishermen and farmers. They were not interested in developing the island, which was largely an expanse of jungle.
In the 1970s, Batam began to be developed by Pertamina as a logistics and operational base for the oil and gas industry. Consequently, based on Presidential Decree (Keppres) No. 41 Year 1973, the development of Batam was placed under the control of the government instution refered to a the Batam Industrial Development Authority, which subsequently became the Batam Indonesia Free Zone Authority (BP Batam).
In recent years, the Batam, Bintan, and Karimun (BBK) Free Trade Zone (FTZ) was implemented in accordance with Law No. 36 regarding Free Trade and Free Port Zones and has been amended, to provide clarity and certainty, through Government Regulation In Lieu of Law (Perppu), which was promulgated as Law No. 44 of 2007. The Free Trade Zone designation is also supported by Law No. 36 of 2000 regarding the stipulation of Perppu No. 1 of 2000 (regarding Free Trade Zones and Free Ports), and other laws and regulations.
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.