Should Malaysia issue a travel warning to Indonesia?

Another indication that the Indoneia-Malaysia spat is getting a bit out of hand is this incident yesterday (see clip from Jakarta Globe below), where ultra-nationalists armed with “sharpened bamboo sticks” stopped cars and motorcycles in Jakarta to look for Malaysians. In local parlance this is called “sweeping”.

Unspun has a few questions  arising out of this story:

1. What is the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta doing about this?

2. What is the police arsing around about. How can you not arrest people who have decided to take the law in their own hands, set up a roadblock and arm themselves with sharpened bamboo sticks? What’s the excuse for inaction?

3. What is the Malaysian Government going to do about this? Its insistent on a hegemonistic Malay culture that encompases everything in its self-perception of things Malay is problematic. Malay is an ethnic grouping in Riau and in Kalimantan where Indonesia and anthropology is concerned. What’s unique to them are a few dances and the malay culture, not those of the Malay achipelago. Claim them if they want to but leave the other stuff alone. Malaysia seriously needs to educate its people about culture and until it does we will continiously have such problems.

4. What is the Malaysian media doing about this? From what Unspun knows, present Indonesian sentiment toward Malaysia and Malaysians aren’t even on the news agenda. They largely ignore incidents such as the recent broughaha over the pendet dance, Manohara etc etc.

Armed Indonesian Nationalists Block Road In Hunt for Malaysians

Dozens of people belonging to an anti-Malaysia group briefly attempted an intimidating road-block and ID check to identify Malaysians along a busy Central Jakarta street on Tuesday, but came up empty-handed.

The operation, initially planned for an hour, only lasted for thirty minutes, but witnesses said the action managed to raise tension as activists stopped drivers and asked for their IDs.

A road block was erected directly in front of the central post of the anti-Malaysia group, the Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat (People’s Defense of Democracy) in the vacant former headquarters of a political party.

The sight of men carrying sharpened bamboo sticks was more than enough to raise concerns among those who were stopped.

The group also distributed small Indonesian flags and tied red and white scarves, the colors if the country’s flag, around their heads and at the ends of their makeshift weapons.

Police immediately closed off the segment of the road where the roadblock was erected and redirected traffic through Cikini, while dozens of police watched on guard from afar but took no apparent action.

Muchtar Bonaventura, who claimed to be the coordinator of the group, said the sweep was held to warn the Malaysian government not to act recklessly against Indonesian citizens and to stop claiming Indonesian culture as their own.

Although they did not find any Malaysian citizens, Muchtar vowed to continue similar actions and even expand the operation to seek offices and houses belonging to Malaysians. His group has been virulently anti-Malaysian, and had even opened registration for volunteers to wage war against the neighboring country.

via Armed Indonesian Nationalists Block Road In Hunt for Malaysians – The Jakarta Globe.

15 thoughts on “Should Malaysia issue a travel warning to Indonesia?

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  1. I think what the nationalist did like blocking the roads, sweeping and other things,,it’s just an temporary emotions. I do have same feeling with them (I’m also a nationalist), I hate malaysia because of what they did..stealing the culture, ambalat, bom etc.. but hate with emotions for me is useless (emotions don’t change this and maybe it looks dumb in front of international people), but to motivate us to be care to our cultures (my opinion is if the Malaysian didn’t claim the ponorogo dance, maybe most indonesian youngster don’t know about this dance), we should focus to build our military especially our air force and our navy (no more crash, increase their funds, buy more modern military equipments), we should care about our border (remember the askar wataniah case) and our islands (too many islands).. I always optimist about my country’s future.. Indonesia will surpass malaysia and singapore.. Indonesia will be equal with China and India in Asia.. I wanna see 20million tourist coming to this archipelago..
    there a lot of homeworks for the government of SBY in the next period..including destroying all fanatics in Indonesia (I really hate them).. and I hope the foreign affairs department could win this claim.. long live Indonesia..


  2. As an Indonesian I am really ashamed of what my fellow Indonesians did. I am sorry.
    As an Indonesian I partially share their anger and resentment toward Malaysia but the way they express it is just silly and embarassing and uncivic.

    I did not know Soekarno Era as I was grown up in Suharto era. So Sukarno campaign of Ganyang Malaysia has no meaning to me.
    For me personally, the way I see Malaysia has changed since the incident in Takat Unarang February 21, 2005. Is this how you treat your ‘brother’? It will never be the same. Thats the turning point.
    Malaysians maybe unaware of the details of what happened in that area days and weeks later, but Indonesian media persons from Indonesian warships showed us what the Malaysian doing to provoke our Navy in Ambalat waters. You maybe trust your govt but we don’t.

    Before that, I also disagree with the way Malaysian government punish illegal migrant with caning etc.
    I actually do not really care about a song or a dance, but it seems for many Indonesians it also matters when it relate with Malaysia.

    As I see it, many Indonesians feel that our land (like Sipadan and Ligitan and border area in Kalimantan), our waters (like in Takat Unarang and Ambalat), our people in Malaysia (TKI and others) , and now our cultural heritage, all of them are not save from Malaysia .
    Our land, our waters, our forest, our people, our cultural heritage.
    We are not save from you. Call it insecurity, yeah, the Malaysia govt gave us many reasons to feel so. In the word of our maritime law expert Hasyim Djalal, Malaysia did not behave like a good neighbour.

    And I know this feelings is shared by so many Indonesians.
    And the way people react here partially because they see our govt is just too soft with Malaysia.

    I do agree that our media is not really responsible. The freedom is too great that they almost have no limits. Thats so bad, I must admit.
    Should a war happen between Indonesia and Malaysia, our media is to blame to a certain degree. But before that war to happen, I believe our governments will try very hard to avoid it. Even cutting ties is not in their agenda.
    So let just see what our govts will do to improve things that has been badly damaged.
    Its not just about a dance and a song. But many Malaysian media fail to see it.

    Just my thoughts


  3. Untuk warga Malaysia di Jakarta …. jangan takut dan khawatir sebab semua itu adalah inisiatif warga sendiri dan tidak ada sedikitpun campur tangan maupun rekayasa dari pemerintah.

    Sebaliknya, semua insiden yang dilakukan oleh Malaysia terhadap Indonesia semuanya sudang dirancang dan direkayasa dan dirancang oleh pemerintah Malaysia sendiri. Rakyat Malaysia sama sekali tidak terlibat dan tahu menahu dengan semua tindakan/provokasi yang yang dilakukan pemerintahnya terhadap Indonesia .

    Jika hendak ganyang Malaysia … maka ganyanglah pemerintah dan/atau staff kedutaan mereka di Jakarta . .. tapi bukan rakyat mereka sebab mereka juga adalah korban pemerintah mereka …


  4. Bob is right. The Indoneesian government could have nipped the problem at an early stage and I fail to understand why it didn’t. The photos in the media of Indonesian youth in Jakarta looking for Malaysians, Presumably to harm them over this cultural “spat”, will not do Indonesia any good in the eyes of the international community. How could the youths be allowed to act with impunity?


  5. The Government of Indonesia could have nipped this and bomber terrorists who killed countless people the past decade in the bud, but they didn’t.
    So either they are impotent wanker cowards or Crazy terrorists, either way, we’re in deep shit.


  6. the malaysian government is full of shit. lembu punya susu, sapi punya nama, so the proverb goes. the minister in charge of culture should resign.

    if such anarchy is allowed to reign, innocent parties will suffer. people will be afraid to do business with Indonesia.


  7. As Unspun will attest to (I hope), I have nothing but admiration for Indonesia, for many reasons that I won’t get into here.

    The point is that every country has its fair share of extremists and nutcases – the recent Cow Head incident in Shah Alam is a fine example. More importantly, however, the actions of a few, if publicized enough, tends to taint the whole. And that’s how I see the potential larger effect of “sweep” incident.

    No country is without fault, and Malaysia is no exception.

    Indonesia and Indonesians, I am sure, are proud of the fact that much of the culture of the modern-day countries in the region originate from within your borders. That fact, however, doesn’t mean that anyone “stole” it from you. Don’t forget that the borders that demarcate our respective countries are “artificial” post-colonial ones – these boundaries, and the restrictions as we have today of criss-crossing them, did not exist 100, or more, years ago.

    The problem, as has been pointed out by Unspun, is the wholesale claim of cultural ownership by the “Malay” nationalists and ultra-nationalists, in their quest for political hegemony. It’s not something I, as a Malaysian, am particularly proud of. I’ll be the first to admit that.

    I happen to personally believe that ANY claim to exclusivity is damaging in the long run, and is, in fact perpetuating half-truths. What I know to be true is that Malaysia and Indonesia (as well as some of the other ASEAN countries) share COMMON roots. While each country has evolved in its own way, the fact of COMMONALITY should never be swept aside in favor of exclusivity.

    Will what happened with the “sweep” deter me from going to Indonesia? Not in the least.

    I still very much hold Indonesia and its people in high esteem, notwithstanding the actions of a few.


  8. thats why, indonesia, inspite of its rich resources, and huge population, cant get far, in the global scenario. They, as people, are their own worst enemy. The politics and leaders are champion in playing with its people’s emotions, and sentiments, rather than focusing in channeling the people’s energy, enthusiasm, spirits, towards nation building programmes and efforts. Patriotism has ben set & defined on how well you shouted and demonstrate, not so much on how well you research, you build, you invent, you trade, you innovate. The leaders know only too well, that due to poverty and poor education, the masses still believe in black magics, myths, ghosts, human super powers, and not much open global and scientific minds. You cant expect much, since the leaders are virtually from same line of ex-leaders of corrupt manipulators; ex army generals (who were very corrupt when in power), old school leaders (either linked to sukarno, or suharto, old schools), children & relatives of dictators, etc. No new blood of reasons and intellects. This is the disadvantage when a country has big gap, between the super rich and the super poor. they need to develop more middle class, the moderating factors, a critical ingredient in any successful & stable social structure. UNless, they, as a people, can overcome these balls & chains, that imprisoned & dragged them down; they, as people, are not really free people. Easily swayed, manipulated, played, by their own leaders, like pawns. Like puppets with strings. Better education can help in this. Better distribution of wealth and rejuvenated internal economic activities, enjoyed by all, can help solve this. They do have every reason, to set themselves free. From their own selves. they have to be very brave & face the mirror. If they can find the formula to get out of this velvet traps, they have every ingredients needed to become a great nation and potentially a world power to be reckoned with. INdonesia, need a good leader. Not just another charismatic personality like sukarno, (hitler was a charismatic fella too, a great orator as well), not another corrupt general, not another children of elitist group, but a proper representation of ordinary people, well balanced intellectual, and global thinker. If charisma is needed, it is more of gandhi’s, a uniting peace loving leader, or hamka like personality, rather than a stalin, or mao tze tung type of one man show, kill all, charismatic dictators. After suharto, habibie was almost excellent new blood. Strange that indonesia then change to daughter of dictator, and another guy who is popular for sleeping in office. If that was reformasi, it certainly does not look any better than previous ones. For now, SBY is the nearest to such great potential, to drive indonesia to global greatness, compared to all other candidates, and he can pave way for the coming of better ones. Indonesia, wake up. Windows of opportunity are not always there waiting for you. Your best of friends, may not be the ones who say and do what you like to see or hear, but, who will tell you what you really are. Like mirrors. If you ugly, the mirror will tell you that you are ugly. Like medicines, its bitter, but it cures. Wake up, or, you are going towards self destruction. It wont be external factors that destroy you.


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