President SBY’s regret against the “sweeps” that had been carried out against Malaysian nationals in Jakarta is welcome, but as usual developments like these spur other questions in Unspun’s mind.
1. This statement comes three days after the sweep began. Any reputational damage to Indonesia and reinforcement of the perception that SBY acts very S_L_O_W_L-Y has been set in stone by now. Didn’t his handlers brief him as things happened and conveyed some sense of urgency to respond to the sweep as it happened, so that it would have been nipped in the bud?
2. So what happens to people who take the law into their own hands and go around menacing foreign nationals with sharpened bamboo stakes? This has nothing to do with Malaysian nationals but with law enforcement. If the police don’t arrest people like this, what messages does it send to other vigilante wannabes?
3. Najib was right to convey his worries for Malaysian nationals’ safety to Indonesian Ambassador Da’i Bachtiar but what’s with publicising his conveying of same anxieties to Try Sutrisno? He’s an ex politician, a member of the Eminent Persons Group but not quite in the mainstream of government. Why the emphasis?
SBY Denounces Indonesian Threats Against Malaysians
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed regret over the sweeps reportedly being carried out against Malaysian nationals in Indonesia.
“I hope there will be no excessive actions that are against the law [taken] by any of us, such as the sweeping operations against Malaysian nationals. Sweeps are not a good thing to do,” the president said during the opening of a plenary session of the cabinet on Thursday.
The president said that sweeping operations would only create new problems while the government was seeking diplomatic solutions to several bilateral issues.
On Tuesday, a group calling itself Bendera, for “Benteng Demokrasi Rakyat” (People’s Democratic Front), reportedly stopped people on a Jakarta street while carrying bamboo spears in a search for Malaysian nationals.
Separately, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said he had been assured that the Indonesian government would ensure the safety of Malaysians in the country. He said this was conveyed to him by Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia, Da’i Bachtiar, during a meeting on Wednesday.
“I have conveyed to Try Sutrisno Malaysia’s worry about the safety of Malaysian citizens in Indonesia and he has promised to bring it up with the Indonesian government. The Indonesian ambassador in our meeting earlier today told me they were taking action to ensure no harm comes to Malaysians,” the prime minister said, referring to the former Indonesian vice president who plays a leading role in the Indonesia-Malaysia Eminent Persons Group.