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M’sia’s claim on Tor-Tor dance angers Indonesia

June 19, 2012

Rais Yatim's statement that North Sumatra dance the Tor-Tor and Gordang Sambilan drums would be part of Malaysia’s national heritage has not gone down well with the Indonesians.

PETALING JAYA: The Indonesians are riled up by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim’s statement that Tor-Tor dance and Gordang Sambilan drums would be added to the Malaysian National Heritage Law.

The news triggered strong reactions from Indonesian lawmakers, as well as some of the country’s Twitter users, using the hashtag TorTorPunyaIndonesia (Tortor belongs to Indonesia) to express their protests.

The Jakarta Globe newspaper says one Indonesia lawmaker wants a special caucus to resolve the conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia over several issues mainly centred on claims to cultural heritage.

“I hope communication [between] the [Indonesian and Malaysian] Parliaments can be smooth, so it will not hurt the people of each nation,” said faction head of the Democratic Party, lawmaker from House Commission III Nurhayati Ali Assegaf.

She said that this idea would not be rejected by Malaysia because Indonesia is the biggest country in Asean with large numbers of human resources and natural resources.

“Many countries depend on Indonesia,” she said. “This should make our diplomacy more powerful.”

While Nurhayati called for peaceful negotiation, lawmaker Ruhut Sitompul, whose family hails from North Sumatra, said Indonesia must use hard diplomacy to defend the country’s cultural heritage.

“Once in a while, I think it’s necessary that we bomb [Malaysia] as a form of shock therapy,” the Democratic Party politician said. “Otherwise, they will keep oppressing us. There’s no need for diplomacy – they always find excuses.”

Malaysia and Indonesia have had disagreements over cultural heritage issues in the past including the traditional lion dance from Ponorogo, East Java and the song “Rasa Sayang”.

One twitter said, “Oh My God… It happen again… The neighbour country claim Indonesian heritage as their heritage… After Batik 1 or 2 years ago, Angklung, Reog Ponorogo, the traditional song from Ambon Rasa Sayange, Pendet dance from Bali and now Tor Tor dance from North Sumatera (mandailing and batak) case…

On Thursday, Bernama reported Rais as saying the Tor-tor dance and the Gordang Sambilan (Nine Great Drums) of the Mandailing community will be acknowledged as national heritage soon.

He said these would be registered under Section 67 of the National Heritage Act 2005.

“But [the acknowledgement] is with conditions such as periodic performances must be held, which means that the dance must be presented while various beats of the drums must be played in front of the public,” he told reporters after launching a Mandailing community gathering, here.


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