Sunday, June 14, 2009

Malaysia, Manohara, Ambalat and the future relationship with Indonesia

Manohara Odelia Pinot Cik Puan Temenggong

Jun 4, '09 8:59 AM

As an Indonesian citizen, I see and hear anything from the point of view of Indonesian media which broadcasts in my country. Of course it always brings the story from Indonesian sight-seeing. No matter what, it often tells the story that the Indonesian want to hear with big attention. The same thing works to every country around the globe. The mainstream media will always tell about the story that could ‘buy’ people excitement or create huge phenomena on the society. So does in our neighborhood country, Malaysia.

Long histories between the relation and connection of both countries have been created. Ever since the eve of ancient civilization of Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia shared the same old cultural root from the same ancestor. They may be different in some cases but the likeness between those two country tide up and even outsider could consider it as one in origin. We could trace it back from the language, tradition and religion of both countries. It would be even more necessary if we know that some part of Malaysia during the period of Hindu-Buddhist kingdom in Indonesia (starts on 5th century until approximately 17th) was also the realm of Sriwijaya and Majapahit kingdom. It continued when the Samudera Pasai and Aceh Sultanate spread their boundaries as fas as Johor and Malacca. Also the Datu and Opu bloodline that has been ruled in Malay for centuries was originated from a royal Bugis family from South Sulawesi. This examples proof how close both countries could be, they live as a big family and having the same backyard.

Unfortunately, recent accidents that appeared made the bilateral relationship kinda shaky. Hundreds of TKI (Indonesian workers) in Malaysia struggled with their life. Some of them not just get kicked out without payments, but experienced a crucial torture from their ‘owners’. Even worse, some lose their soul. We also heard about the ‘heritage robbery’ by the Malaysian gov’t. Start with ‘Rasa Sayange’ song, then ‘Reog Ponorogo’ that they called barongan, some traditional food like rendang, batik clothing and other were claimed as national heritage of Malaysia. What could be worse than identity crisis? Malaysia had warned by the Indonesian, but the ignoring act made us looks so terrible. It seems like Malaysia counted Indonesia as a ‘labor nation’ that try to mess with ‘more civilized Melayu country’. Although basically Indonesia and Malaysia were the same on culture but still several unique ornaments in tradition can’t be find on one and another. Different like what the Malaysian did, Indonesia never claimed what is not belonging to them. I belief we’re rich enough with those 17.000s islands, 700s traditional languages, thousands of fauna and flora species and millions of enchanted traditions. But for the sake of this country nationalism, the Indonesian has to prevent even a step of its own land.

These days, we heard about Manohara’s dilemmatic story. She’s a beautiful model with Indonesian mother and French father. She married with Tengku Fahri, a prince of Kelantan Sultanate in Malaysia last year (she was 16th!). Right after the wedding, she experienced a horrible sexual abuse and physical torture from her husband. She was jailed in a hidden storage behind bookshelves and not allowed to get any access to go outside. The prince that has been predicted to have a sexual disorder hit her or put burning cigar on her face continually. This harassment could end when Manohara successfully ran away from the Kelantan’s royal family through Singapore, where her mother and sister already waited for her. This story opens public opinion about the real situation that any other Indonesian who work and live in Malaysia could experience. The lack of respect combine with the weakness of Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur created such a troublesome condition for the Indonesian in Malaysia. They can get in problem without anyone want to help them out just like what happened with Manohara.

This huge event that broadcasted in Indonesian media for days, not getting any significant place on the Malaysian public. The media doesn’t cover up this story because it could bring negative effect to the house of Kelantan’s royal family. As what I’ve said before, people only want to hear what they like from media. There’s no room for the people of Malaysia to talk something bad about their royal family member, although in the reality they clearly do terrible thing. And these passed days we also heard about the interference that Malaysian navy done to the Indonesia’s ocean zone. A block of Island named Ambalat was claimed to be a part of Malaysian Sultanate, but unfortunately that island stands on the Indonesian region. Malaysian navy severally passed the border between two countries and sailed around the block. Even though the Indonesian army have warned them, the Malaysian navy kept ignoring Indonesian supremacy of that region. These week the Malaysian navy have passed the boundary for three times. According to the agreement about both countries sea areas in 1970, those block of island which is rich with oil was considered as part of Indonesian region. But since 2003 the Malaysian navy looked frequently on the region.

The situation is heating up. Never-ending story with Indonesian worker, the heritage robbery, Manohara’s maltreatment by the royal family, and claiming Ambalat as their part of country make the future relationship of both neighboring country could turn worse. Diplomatic way is still on the priority to handle destructive action that might be appearing. As two brothers with relatively speaks the same language, Indonesia and Malaysia still have big opportunity to lasted the conflicts. We only wants peace. Everyone dreams to see peace. Being open-minded and building aim to understand each other is among the best path to hold the peaceful relationship in Indonesia and Malaysia.

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