Monday 17 October 2011

When will this end?

This time a land issue
Looks like we are a punching bag each time certain issues   are brought up by our neighbour across the Straits of Malacca. Just cannot comprehend why there are certain groups there that don't seem to like us. Last year when a maid was  abused by her employer here our Embassy in Jakarta  got clobbered. Similarly issue about Ambalat sparked the same ferocious demonstrations happened at our Embassy and many more with same pattern happened.This has been going on for years. Is our bilateral relations that cordial? Why are matters not deliberated in a civilised manner and why must such uncalled for conduct take place.

As far as I am concerned good relations picture to  exist only among the top echelon of both countries and of course this happens over golf  sessions. When it come to grass root level, not much can be shout about.Let's take any sport between us.We can visualise the situation that normally prevail at these events. So this is indeed a great problem and needed to be addressed seriously. Possibly many more people to people exchange programmes should be on the government's agenda with the sincere hope to improve and foster greater relations about this pain in the you know where problem.

This time around it is the issue of  'illegal' land acquisition in West Kalimantan  that was used as an excuse again to bombard our Embassy  in Jakarta. What are the next issues  on their check list? This  is  entirely unknown and we  just have to sit and wait for the next wave.There seems to be no end in sight.

During my sojourn in Pontianak, West Kalimantan as the Police Liaison officer regular meetings and consultations were held between us and them. Apart from the operational meetings targeted on the remnants of the communist elements of the 'Pasukan Rakyat Kalimantan Utara' (Paraku)  along the common border, civil matters and others matters of mutual interest were also deliberated.

In the early 80s "Rapat Kordinasi' (Rakor) meetings were held  twice a year   between military commanders from Malaysia and Indonesia.The border survey issue was also on the agenda. Subsequently both countries agreed on the border demarcation and no problem or anomilies were brought up on this. How come some smart Alex come up with this issue now?.

If someone removed the stones at certain stretch of the borderline then investigations should be conducted by both sides and have the culprit responsible for this serious act be brought to face the music. There is no need for all this stupid drama.

As Malaysian we should be proud that we are not in the same boat and can be said to be more disciplined. On no occasions did we ferociously attack any Embassy as what happened in Jakarta. Massive demonstrations at the US Embassy  KL too did not reach the mark of what happened to our Embassy in Jakarta.During one of the demonstration at our Embassy, our national flag was  strewn with faeces by the demonstraters.This is a grave humiliation and an act of sheer stupidity.

Of course the normal SOP of  the Foreign Ministry is to sent a protest note and that's about all. Wait till the next incident another note and the Indonesian Foreign Ministry will have volumes of our protest notes.One prominent politician  recommended that we  call home our Ambassador in retaliation and I tend to agree and probably this will pass the correct message through.

Each time something like this takes place what we know from the media is that the demonstration only involved a small group of people.Now, if a small number was involved and no executive action was taken how can they handle if a few hundred thousands come out to protest. Sometime ago the 'screening of  Malaysians' ops were carried out in Jakarta and again it was  stated that only a 'few' were really involved. Well, if the number was small strangely, why nothing was done. Why these 'few' were allowed to put up road blocks to check on Malaysians and no arrests made for these illegal road block?.

We need to make sure that no violent protests happens again.But we can accept anything that's being done in a civilised and professional way. Don't expect too much on this either.

Of course we expect the Indonesian politicians to handle matters like this which affects our bilateral relations but on the other hand we too just can't fold our arms and forget about it.We must be kept informed of the line of actions taken and justifiably  the Malaysian public should be kept abreast of what was achieved from the protest notes sent.

As mentioned earlier , apart from government to government exchanges,  more people to people and group to group exchanges should be put in place with the hope that the grass roots level interaction is at the highest expected level and this can in a way improve our  bilateral relationship. After all as they say we are 'serumpun'. At times I kept pondering as to why we bought the scorpene subs and Sukhoi jets?

Well, the ball is now at the Minister of Foreign Affair's feet.