Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The National Police’s plan to award Malaysia’s police chief a medal of honor has drawn strong criticism in light of recent tensions between the two countries.
“We urge the National Police to drop the plan to award the medal,” Indonesia Police Watch chairman Neta S. Pane said on Friday.
The National Police is planning to award the Bintang Bhayangkara Utama medal to Malaysian Police Chief Tan Sri Ismail bin Omar and Indonesian Army Chief of Staff Gen. Edi Pramono on June 25 to mark its July 1 anniversary.
The medal is the highest award that the National Police can give to an individual for outstanding contribution and cooperation with law enforcement.
Neta said he couldn’t understand the logic behind the award because tensions between the two countries remained high. Indonesia and Malaysia have been involved in recent disputes involving sensitive issues related to legal matters and Indonesian migrant workers.
Neta said that awarding the medal would insult Indonesians, especially migrant workers.
“Just recently, three Indonesian migrant workers were shot and killed by Malaysian police,” Neta said. “It’s ironic that this [incident] failed to capture the attention of the National Police because it has the nerve to award the medal to the Malaysian police chief.”
He asked the National Police to reconsider and decide if the recent shooting was deserving of a Bintang Bhayangkara Utama medal.
The plan also drew a strong reaction from the House of Representatives.
“The National Police must take into consideration the psychological [condition] of our people, who are irritated with Malaysia following their violent acts,” said Saan Mustopha from the Democratic Party.
Saan, from House Commission III, which oversees legal affairs, said that if the National Police were sensitive to the condition of the Indonesian people, they would reconsider the plan.
Indra, a Commission III member from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), said Malaysia’s history of bad behavior and unfriendliness toward Indonesia was extensive, including the mistreatment of Indonesian migrant workers there.
“[They] disrespected Indonesia’s sovereignty, abused migrant workers, detained and tortured our fishermen, [carried out an] unjustified shooting and murdered three migrant workers,” Indra said.
Anis Hidayah, the executive director of the group Migrant Care, previously said Malaysian police had shot Indonesian citizens at least three times in recent years.
Anis said at least eight Indonesians were shot and killed by Malaysian police on separate occasions, prior to the latest killing of the three migrant workers from Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.
“Indonesians have been shot to death by Malaysian police without due process of law several times now. The government sent protest letters to Malaysia, but there has been no investigations against the perpetrators, and the killings continue,” Anis said last month.
Migrant Care said that in March 2010, three Indonesians were gunned down by Malaysian police. This happened a year after two Indonesians were shot and killed.
In 2005, Malaysian police also shot and killed three Indonesian workers. Malaysian authorities claimed that the three conducted robberies and were shot because they had resisted arrest.
The latest shooting sparked outrage, partly because of allegations, later proven false, that the victims’ organs had been removed from their bodies.