Repent all ye skeptics: Gen. Moeldoko’s watch is a fake

Hush ye of little faith! The Indonesian Military does not indulge in corruption.

So all the skeptics who thought that Armed Forces Commander General Moeldoko was wearing a US$100,000 Richard Mille RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback – and therefore may be a bought man – were wrong!

The Military’s spokesperson has just revealed that the watch on the general’s wrist was actually a KW – an Indonesian term for a fake, that was bought in China. The General, apparently, has a fetish for fake watches.

(Just for interest: KW is an acronym for “kwaliti” in Indonesian. And fake goods are graded according to their quality of finishing, with KW1 being best and a degradation quality as the KW number gets larger. Then there is the super premium KW Ori, which stands for “original quality” which Unspun doesn’t really know what it means – maybe its original, factory outlet goods. Unfortunately Unspun is not a collector of KW watches).

Unspun’s said before that watches are usually a testament to the character of the wearer, so back to the same question: what does it say of the general?

Panglima TNI Hobi Koleksi Jam Palsu

Panglima TNI Hobi Koleksi Jam Palsu | -nasional- | Tempo.co

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Markas Besar Tentara Nasional Indonesia membantah berita media Singapura yang menyorot jam tangan mewah milik Panglima Jenderal Moeldoko. Kepala Pusat Penerangan Mabes TNI Mayor Jenderal Fuad Basya mengatakan jam tangan milik Panglima bermerek Richard Mille RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback adalah palsu.

“Jam tangan itu buatan Tiongkok, orang bilang jam ‘KW’,” kata Fuad saat dihubungi Tempo, Rabu, 23 April 2014. Bahkan Panglima Moeldoko disebut gemar mengkoleksi jam tangan ‘KW’ alias palsu bikinan Tiongkok.

Soal harga jam tangan yang ditaksir media Singapura sekitar Rp 1,1 miliar, Fuad tak bisa berkomentar. “Ya mungkin kalau yang asli harganya segitu.” (Baca: Arloji-arloji Mewah Moeldoko Versi Media Singapura)

Menurut Fuad, Panglima Moeldoko sendiri tak mau menanggapi tudingan miring berita media Singapura. Moeldoko juga enggan mengkaitkan berita jam tangan mewahnya dengan panas-dingin hubungan Indonesia-Singapura akibat penamaan kapal perang baru milik TNI, KRI Usman Harun. “Kami takutnya suuzon,” kata Fuad.

Menurut dia, Panglima TNI berencana menggelar jumpa pers dengan wartawan siang hari ini setelah membuka sidang Filindo, kerja sama militer Filipina dan Indonesia, di Hotel Borobudur, Jakarta. Moeldoko hendak memamerkan jam tangan tersebut ke media.

Sebelumnya, media Singapura, Mothership.sg, merilis berita tentang jam tangan mewah milik Moeldoko. Bahkan media tersebut menyebutkan Moeldoko sebagai kolektor jam tangan mewah beraneka merek.

 

Posted in ask the right question, Indonesia | 1 Comment

The JIS case: It never rains but it pours

One of the characteristics of a crisis-like situation is that when you think that things can’t get worse, they do.

It now turns out that a “prolific” child predator, who taught at the Jakarta International School (JIS) about 2 decades ago, took his life because the FBI was investigating his alleged trangressions (see CNN story below).

JIS knew about Vahey and JIS headmaster Tim Carr alluded to him in his press conference, saying that they were assisting the FBI for a case that occurred 17 years ago.

None of the media took up the story then but now that Vahey’s death has brought his case, and the fact that he worked at JIS in the past, into the limelight there will be renewed interest in the possible extent of the adage he did while at JIS.

It may be an answer that no one is able to answer adequately but that won’t stop the media from trying to find instantaneous answers.

So now there is Vahey, an alleged separate instance of a janitor molesting a JIS student around that time (was posted in an alumni’s FB page and then taken down soon after) and now the incident with the six-year old boy. The media will want to know if there are any other skeletons in the closet.

One can only hope that JIS is being prepped to handle the slew of questions that will surely come their way.

FBI seeks victims of ‘prolific’ international child predator – CNN.com

FBI seeks victims of ‘prolific’ international child predator

By CNN Staff

April 22, 2014 — Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)

Images provided by the FBI show William James Vahey in 2013 (left) and in 1986.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

FBI: William James Vahey taught at private schools in 9 countries for 42 years

He’s one of “the most prolific alleged predators we’ve ever seen,” agent tells KPRC

Thumb drive allegedly contained images depicting sexual assault on children

FBI is asking potential victims to contact them or nearest American Embassy

Images provided by the FBI show William James Vahey in 2013 (left) and in 1986.

(CNN) — An alleged child predator who taught at schools across the world for more than four decades may have more victims, and the FBI is trying to track them down, the agency’s Houston bureau said Tuesday.

William James Vahey killed himself in Luverne, Minnesota, last month, two days after a federal judge in Houston said authorities could search one of Vahey’s thumb drives that allegedly contained images depicting sexual assault on children, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.

There were images of at least 90 victims, dating back to 2008, and the FBI is encouraging additional alleged victims to come forward. The images on the thumb drive allegedly belonging to Vahey showed boys, estimated to be between 12 and 14 years old, asleep or unconscious, the agency said.

The images had captions and dates referencing places that Vahey had previously traveled with students, the FBI said.

“This is one of the most prolific alleged predators we’ve ever seen,” Houston FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap told the station.

Vahey began teaching in private schools in 1972, the FBI says. He last taught at the American Nicaraguan School in Pista Suburbana, Managua, Nicaragua from August 2013 until March 11, two days before he committed suicide, KPRC reported.

The case came to law enforcement attention after Vahey fired his maid for allegedly stealing personal items from his home last year, KPRC said. In March, the ex-maid brought a stolen thumb drive to the American Nicaraguan School, saying she came forward because the drive contained sexual images, the station reported.

The FBI said that when Vahey was confronted with the images, he “reportedly admitted molesting boys throughout his entire life and said he gave the minors sleeping pills prior to the molestation.”

He had residences in London and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and traveled extensively, the FBI said. He worked at schools in nine countries, teaching a variety of subjects and coaching boys’ basketball. He regularly accompanied students on overnight field trips, the FBI said.

The schools where he taught are, according to the FBI:

– American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua (2013-2014)

– Southbank International School in London, United Kingdom (2009-2013)

– Escuela Campo Alegre in Caracas, Venezuela (2002-2009)

– Jakarta International School in Jakarta, Indonesia (1992-2002)

– Saudi Aramco Schools in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1980-1992)

– American Community School in Athens, Greece (1978-1980)

– Passargad School in Ahwaz, Iran (1976-1978)

– American School of Madrid in Spain (1975-1976)

– American Community School of Beirut in Lebanon (1973-1975)

– Tehran American School in Iran (1972-1973)

Anyone who has information on Vahey and who believes he victimized them can send a confidential e-mail to HOvictimassistance@ic.fbi.gov or contact their local FBI office or nearest U.S. Embassy.

 

Posted in Crisis and issues management, Indonesia, Public Relations | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Sunset, off Labuan Bajo, Flores

Sunset, off Labuan Bajo, Flores

It was promising to be a bit of a disaster. Our speedboat had engine failure on one of its two outboard motors. Then it ran out of fuel running on one motor. We were stuck in the middle of the sea and the sun was setting quickly. Then, seemingly out of nowhere along comes this fisherman in his boat who towed us to a nearby sand spit and then took us to harbour when the Keystone Cops still couldn’t fix our boat. He also lent a great perspective element to th composition of the photograph.

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Lessons from JIS’s late communications

After a week of silence since news broke on the child molestation case, JIS finally broke the silence and called a press conference.

At the press conference, the school’s headmaster Tim Carr covered at least 2 of the 3Rs of crisis communications: Regret (“We want the family to know that we are with them and that we feel their pain. We are so sorry that this child was harmed,”), Remedy: (working with KPAI and the Police and reviewing their security arrangements).

He was silent on the Reason of how such an event could have been allowed to occur though, selecting instead to explain why they have not been seen to have been evasive. He rightly blamed it on their tardiness to communicate: “JIS believes it could have handled communication with the community better than it has, and for that, we apologize to the surrounding community and the parents.”

That is a bit short of the Reason but the admission of fallibility, contrition and a plan to move forward seems to be enough for the journalists. A quick check on the Twitter feed this morning also suggests that that press conference  might have taken much of the sting out of the situation for JIS.

The delivery was not flawless but it was pretty good given the condition they were in. The question now is whether that press conference is good enough to help JIS regain control of the situation, or was it too little too late. Time will tell as the saga is not yet over by a long shot, although JIS may be on the road to recovery.

Some of the information coming out from Unspun’s sources seem to indicate that it wasn’t all JIS’s fault. Apparently JIS had appointed a PR firm early, just after news broke on the incident, but something went wrong and a new PR firm was appointed only on Saturday when they apparently also hired a lawyer. Hence JIS missed a whole week before it communicated to the public. A week is a very long time in crisis-like situations where impressions set quickly and early. JIS missed that early window to project an image of openness, empathy and having a plan to lead the school and its community out of the situation.

JIS now has to face the closure of its Kindergarten operations, scrutiny of the work permits of its staff and a lawsuit by the parents of the child (although little could have mitigated the parent’s decision once they decided to go public on the matter).

JIS, nonetheless, should be congratulated for seeking professional help, in terms of legal and communications matters. It is at least now in a better position to begin the long, hard trek toward restoring some of its reputation and goodwill.

The lesson that other insitutions and organisations should take away from this incident is that we all are vulnerable to crisis-like situations and should take steps to prepare for it. How they can prepare for such eventualities is through what we in the trade call Crisis Management Training that teaches executives of a company or institution on how to cope with the stress, time compression, confusion and uncertainties of a crisis like situation.

Such training also  teaches them how to manage their operational and communications responses in tandem so that they do not sow confusion and suspicion to the public. From what has been said so far it appears that JIS was good in its operational response – meeting the parents before hand, offering help for the care of the boy, working with the police etc – but neglected its communications response. So when the news broke they were caught flat-footed, got caught up in the confusion and began to look evasive.

A subset of crisis Management is Crisis Communications where spokespersons of the institution or company are trained on what to say and how to say it during crisis situations. Such training would include fielding difficult, accusatory questions that are common in such situations.

But will companies and institutions at least learn not to take the likelihood of encountering a crisis-like situation – and along with it crisis management and crisis communications skills – for granted and do something about it?

To help you decide how JIS did in the press conference yesterday, here’s a videoclip of the press conference:

And here’s a the story of the press conference in Jakarta Post:

JIS issues apology to family, community | The Jakarta Post

A week after the rape of a kindergarten pupil at Jakarta International School (JIS) by cleaning workers became public knowledge, representatives from JIS apologized on Monday.

JIS head Tim Carr, accompanied by a translator and JIS spokesperson Daniarti Wusono, extended an apology to the family of the victim and members of the community at a press conference at the Sultan Hotel in Central Jakarta.

“We want the family to know that we are with them and that we feel their pain. We are so sorry that this child was harmed,” Carr said.

During the press conference, Carr insisted that despite the evasive image that the school projected in response to the case, JIS was fully cooperating with the police investigation and the government.

JIS also denied allegations there were more cases of abuse at the school. Carr apologized for how the school had communicated with the parents and public in the case.

“JIS believes it could have handled communication with the community better than it has, and for that, we apologize to the surrounding community and the parents,” he said.

Carr considered everybody at the school accountable for this incident but insisted that no teachers would be held responsible.

When asked about accusations of crime scene tampering made by the victim’s family lawyer, OC Kaligis, on Sunday, Carr said renovations to the restrooms had been done on police recommendations.

“We showed the police the crime scene and we asked them for advice about altering its physical environment so we could enhance security there. We do not believe it has been altered in a way that could hinder the investigation,” Carr said.

He denied claims that the victim’s family was instructed by JIS to not speak to the media.

“They made their own decisions [in speaking to the media]. We will respect the privacy and human rights of the child, despite what the family chooses to do,” he said.

His words also contradicted the victim’s mother’s recent public statements stating that JIS had never contacted the family directly about the issue, or in person.

“We contacted the parents by telephone on March 21 and I personally met with the victim’s father the next day, discussing how the school could support the victim medically and emotionally,” he said. He added that the father had requested the incident details to be confidential.

The school plans to launch its own independent investigation, which includes reevaluating its security practices, with help from the US, Australian and UK embassies.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said 28 cleaning staff from the external cleaning service company ISS were taken for blood tests at Kramat Jati Police Hospital in East Jakarta on Monday. (dyl)

 

 

Posted in Crisis and issues management, Indonesia | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

JIS digging itself deeper into trouble

Update:, 17 April: Unspun’s been told that JIS has appointed an international PR firm to help them. Hopefully we’ll see better communications from them. also see latest posting on JIS and its press conference here

This post is dedicated to many of Unspun’s friends who are very loyal alumni to The Jakarta International School (JIS). It is good to see such loyalty in such modern times and shifting norms.

Their alma mater is now in a crisis situation. Police apparently have acted on the report of a parent and have now arrested two janitors who had molested a 6-year old student. They have also detained a woman claening staff for complicty.

The news over this incident has broken and it is all over the mass and social media.

Given such circumstances the only way that JIS can hope to mitigatte the reputational and fiancial damage to itself is to be SEEN to care, to be open about what happened and to have a viable plan to make sure that something like this does not happen ever again.

Yet JIS seems to be doing it all wrong, as picked up in this Jakarta Post story:

School Safety, Security our Priority, says JIS

To begin with it initially chose silence. To any reporter and the social media pack, silence means an admission of guilt. JIS may be thinking that they were trying to solve it in a dignified manner by keeping silent but that is, unfortunately, how the world works. They expect accountability, especially from a prestigous and expensive institution.

Then when it chose to speak up, its statement was full of horrendous word choices.

School security, safety our priority, says JIS

Jakarta International School (JIS) has — until now — kept quite over the allegations of sexual assault involving one of its students.

The reputable international school finally broke its silence today as it stressed its responsibility for the safety of pupils and the security of the school during a meeting at the Education and Culture Ministry on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are here to convey our statements to the Education and Culture Ministry over the allegations of a disgraceful incident that occurred in our school. Our main focus, which we have paid close attention to and will maintain in the future, is to put forward the prosperity of the students and their families as well as the safety and security of our school community,” JIS headmaster Tim Carr said in a press conference at the Education and Culture Ministry on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.

He was speaking after a meeting he attended on the invitation of the ministry’s directorate general of informal and non-formal early childhood education (PAUDNI).

Deputy headmaster Steve Druggan and JIS human resources manager Megumi were also present.

Carr said the school was ready to cooperate with the Education and Culture Ministry, the National Police and other stakeholders in the ongoing investigation.

Responding the reports, PAUDNI director general Lydia Freyani Hawad said she would directly lead the investigative team and the investigation would start Thursday. “The team will conduct a comprehensive audit on JIS,” said Lydia. (idb/ebf)

Instead of saying that they care and regret what happened to the victim JIS chose officialese by saying that they were there “to convey our statements” to the Government. Where is the empathy, the caring, the regret? What’s so damned important about them conveying statements?

Then JIS headmaster was supposed to have said: ” Our main focus…is to put forward the prosperity of the students and their families …” Prosperity? Bad English? Buth it is an American school, manned by native English speakers.

And then Jis said it was “ready to cooperate” with the Ministey of Education? In difficult times when you’re being accused of wrongdoing you” cooperate fully ” with the regulators, you do not signal your intention that you’re “ready to cooperate.” On reading such statements officials would think you’re arrogant.

JIS subsequently denying Ministry officials access into the school does jot seem to signal its readiness to cooperate.

To a seasoned crisis managment professional JIS seems to be digging a deeper hole for itself with such clumsy efforts at communication. A pity because all this will help set itself up as a prime target for overzealous and nationalistic politicians, carpetbaggers, those envious of its prestige and those given to schadenfreude.

If JIS is serious about trying to salvage whatever good name it has lef, and to remain in business in Indonesia, it must seek professional crisis management counsel fast – and listen to them.

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Criticism against the Malaysian Government on MH370: Warranted or unfair?

If, like many people and Unspun, you find yourself transfixed by the unfolding drama of the search for MH 370, you are likely to see several threads of opinion surface regarding the performance of the Malaysian Government, helmed by Defence Minister and Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein.

On one end of the spectrum is the view that the Government is not only doing a terrible job but that they are engaged in some conspiracy to delude and misinform the families of those aboard MH 737 and the public.

On the other end, usually adorned by nationalistic sentiments  and righteous indignation, is the view that the Malaysian Government did its best, and its best was good enough and all criticism was unfair.

This view was recently voiced by Matthias Chang, an advisor to former Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir. In typical Mahathir-esque polemic he not only said that posterity will testify on the side of the Malaysian Government,but that they would have been able to do much more, if not for the White Man and his tricks:

Disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370: The Trillion Dollar Question to the U.S. and Its Intelligence Services | Global Research

Let me state from the outset that I totally agree with the press statements by Malaysia’s Defence Minister and Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that “we have conducted ourselves fairly, responsibly and history will judge us for that.”

And to a mischievous and presumptuous question from a correspondent of the Financial Times, Datuk Seri with confidence and integrity rightly said without any fear of contradiction that, “I don’t think we could have done anything different from what we have already done.”  Well done!

Read more here

Where does the truth lie? Unspun, who’s had some experience with helping people and companies cope with crisis-like situations, thinks it is somewhere in between: That the Malaysian government did try its best and was not not trying to delude anyone. But its best was simply not good enough by a very long shot and its natural instincts to be the Keepers of the Temple Secret scuttled whatever good it did.

Unspun also feels that while there may be somewhat of an argument that countries involved in the search, in which the US is singled out by the likes of Matthias (and why not — the US is such a convenient whipping boy), may have been territorial with their secrets and advanced technologies, nobody was really that callous and hard-hearted to deny the families the obligation that countries have to try to ease their uncertainty and pain. Maybe Unspun is naive and too trusting, but the selfishness of others is a logical decoy – it has very little to do with how the Malaysian Government and Hismanuddin handled the crisis-like situation in the aftermath of MH 370′s disappearance.

One fact of crisis-like situations is that the publicity it generates shows everything up in stark contrast. Things are either black or white, you are either a good guy or a bad guy. You are either handling it well or you’re incompetent. Public scrutiny does not appreciate grey areas. And public scrutiny in a crisis-like situation is a fact of life. So blaming the Western media for their reporting is like a stage actor berating the audience for booing what they perceive to be a bad performance.

As such, competent crisis managers train themselves to adopt what some experts call the Dual Track Approach, where you synchronise both the operational responses and communications responses. The key word is “synchronise” because if you do too much and say too little you arouse suspicion and if you say too much while doing too little you invite skepticism; and if you are totally unsynchronised, there will be hell to pay.

When Unspun was cutting his teeth on crisis management practices his trainer used to drum two principles into him. One was that “facts are the only currency in a crisis”. The other was that “No response plan survives its first contact with a crisis” – so the only defence you have is the quality of information you have and the robustness of your decision making process. Both, as you can see, are interrelated.

The Malaysian Government under Hishamuddin’s watch failed to observe both these principles and synchronise their operational and communications responses.

They failed to, operationally, marshall and filter the information to separate facts from rumours, hearsay and plain wrong data. Being in a crisis-like situation is like being in a battlefield, enveloped by the fog of war. It is confusing, it is chaotic, information of all types of quality comes flying at you in all directions. The first task of  crisis manager is to find the facts.

How does one do this in the midst of all that confusion? By calmly weighing each piece of information, sending out scouts or teams to follow up leads. And once you have these facts, what do you do? Before you act, you verify them. You double and triple check to make sure that they are actually facts and not some piece of misinformation. What comes into play then is the robustness of your decision-making process, which depends on the caliber of people you have, whether they have an open-minded mindset and how they perform under pressure.

It is then, and only then, that you are ready to act, which involves making a decision on your operational response, while at the same time deciding on what to say, how to say it as your communications response.

If Hishamuddin had adhered to these principles he would have avoided at least the two incidents that have now become emblematic of the incompetence of the Government. Firstly, DCA chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman’s equating the looks of footballer Mario Balotelli to the two Iranians who had travelled on fake passports. How can anyone say that two olive-skinned, Middle Eastern-looking men could look like a black Ghanian footballer?

And then there is the transcript. The Malaysian Government first said that the last words from MH 370 was “All right. Goodnight”. Now that that it is forced to released the transcripts it now says that the actual words were “Goodnight. Malaysian 370.” The two sentences do not even sound alike and one has double the syllables of the other. How can anyone trust them if they can’t get such starkly contrasted information right?

To be fair, it is never easy for crisis managers to marshall the facts but anyone trained to do so would have had followed the procedures of holding, core and update statements to help them do so.

In crisis management practice, holding statements are made shortly after an incident when you have some of the basic information. It may be a mere confirmation that something has happened, the number of passengers involved, where they are from, the number of the crew, as well as expressions of empathy and a commitment to be open and to share information as they come in. It is OK to say that there are things you don’t yet know at this stage. A holding statement is designed to demonstrate that you care, are human, that you are open and are in control as you know what to do next. It buys you time, feeds The Beast which is the appetite for infant news by the mss media and buys you time to plan for a more considered response in the form of a core statement.

The Core Statement  is a crucial piece of document as it serves as the foundation for all you future updates. Get it right and you have a firm foundation to build on, get it wrong and you get what the Malaysian Government is getting – inconsistent facts that call your credibility and competence into question.

How you put together a core statement is to find and verify – and then double check that they are correct – the facts, before putting them down in the core statement. Information such as the turn back and the last message from MH370 don’t get put into the core statement and communicated to anyone unless and until they have been verified. That way you don’t run into confusion later. It may take you time and reap some criticism but tardiness is a lighter cross to bear than incompetence.

Failing to observe these basic principles alone is enough to damn the Malaysian Government and Hishamuddin in history as a bunch of incompetents. This is not to take into account the other mistakes they have made that have more to do with how they delivered their messages rather that what they delivered.

Having said all this, Unspun believes that Hishamuddin and the Government has been sincere in trying to manage this situation to the best of their ability. The problem is that their best is just not good enough. It is fine for us to extend concessions to ordinary people for their foibles in difficult situations, but political leaders who seek high office and high-ranking officials who have no qualms accepting the silver of taxpayers have a higher onus of responsibility that the Ordinary Joe in the street.

A lot depends on them and they are expected to rise to the occasion when it is demanded. This is a responsibility that they must shoulder. So let’s please do away with the righteous indignation, the  jingoism, the defensiveness and the conspiracy theories and call the situation for what it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in communications, Crisis and issues management, Malaysia | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Raiding the Ban for Popular Votes?

Even though you may no agree with it you could understand the reasons why Malaysia’s censors might want to ban a film like Noah – the ultra sensitive Muslims in that country bristle at any attempts to dick around with the religious texts.

But to brand The Raid 2 is a bit morelthan a mystery. Malaysia has let in ultra violent movies before. There is no religious element to the film unless your religion is violence and its the product of a neighbouring country. So what are the reasons.

We can take it for granted that Democratic Party presidential hopeful Pramono Edhie Wibowo is being opportunistic and nationalistic to question the Malaysian censors. That does not detract from the fact that his question needs an answer.

One can only hope (against all hope?) that the Malaysian politicians and censors have enough wits about them to adopt a more open approach and provide some answers after their disastrous brush with openness over the MH 370 tragedy.

Because, if they don’t they’ll be delivering to Prabowo a golden opportunity to shore up his popularity. (Thx for the spot Andi).

A spat with Malaysia is something relished by many Indonesians and if a spat breaks out over The Raid 2 Edhie will be able to ride the wave of nationalism and Malaysia-bashing.

All not good for Indonesia and Malaysia…unless it is a conspiracy between the powers that be in both countries to advance Edhie’s electoral prospects in the first place…Hmmm…Unspun’s been watching too many conspiracy movies lately.

Presidential Hopeful Criticizes Malaysia for Reported Banning of ‘The Raid 2′ – The Jakarta Globe.

A scene from the ‘Raid 2: Berandal.’ (Photo courtesy of Merantau Films)

Jakarta. Democratic Party presidential hopeful Pramono Edhie Wibowo asked Malaysia explain why the country’s film board had banned “The Raid 2: Berandal,” the ultra-violent but internationally acclaimed Indonesian martial arts film that was released in theaters last week.

“It is very unfortunate that the Malaysian government banned this movie without giving any reason,” Pramono said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The movie was scheduled to hit Malaysian screens on March 28, but as of Tuesday, it had not been shown anywhere in the country. There has been no official statement from the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia on why the movie by Welsh director Gareth Evans had not been screened.

Calls to the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia were not returned — but the film does not appear on the board’s list of approved new films. The Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta declined to comment on the ban when contacted by the Jakarta Globe.

Pramono called on the Malaysian government to view the film as a positive contributor to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) film industry.

“I also demand that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively perform its mediation function with the Malaysian government,” he said.

A Malaysian movie site, cinema.com.my, reported that Malaysian audiences were disappointed by the lack of screenings in the country.

One moviegoer, Nicholas Lim, told the site he was disheartened by the ban because he had enjoyed the first movie, “The Raid: Redemption,” which was not banned in Malaysia. The second film, however, contains more scenes of graphic violence than the first.

“The Raid 2″ was released in Indonesia on March 28. More than 300,000 people saw the film during its opening weekend.

 

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