Indonesia’s Parliament Speaker Marzuki Alie yesterday called on his Malaysian counterpart in a bid to contain the fallout from his countrymen’s attack on the Malaysian Embassy and a student hall here on Friday.
He said the demonstrators’ violent actions did not represent the sentiments of most Indonesians, after meeting Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia in Kuala Lumpur, according to Malaysian news agency Bernama.
The protests reportedly saw a Malaysian flag torched and eggs and stones hurled. They were sparked by Malaysia’s proposal to recognise the Tor-tor dance and gordaang sembilan drums that originated in Sumatra as part of the heritage of its Mandailing community.
“Indonesia is still developing. Only a few understand history, like how in the early days Indonesians migrated to Malaysia and became Malaysian citizens, and they surely want to defend the cultural elements they had brought along,” he told reporters.
“If the matter is explained clearly, there will be no question of any adverse impact on the people-to-people relations between Malaysia and Indonesia,” he said.
Their meeting came a day after Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said his country could not accept the aggression against Malaysian interests in Indonesia, and as Indonesia’s acting ambassador in Malaysia, Mulya Wirana, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Putrajaya.
A statement from the ministry said he was told the Malaysian government took a serious view of the damage to their premises and the provocative comments made by an Indonesian MP last Thursday. Appropriate action should be taken, it added.
The ministry did not name the MP. But it was referring to Democratic MP Ruhut Sitompul, who was quoted as saying: “Once in a while, I think it’s necessary that we bomb (Malaysia) as a form of shock therapy. Otherwise they will keep oppressing us.”
Mulya, for his part, clarified that his government took a serious view and regretted the attack, adding that the MP’s remarks did not in any way reflect the stand of the government or Parliament, said the statement.
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times