The students condemn Malaysia for allegedly stealing two art forms – Tor-Tor dance and Gordang Sambilan – they said belong to Indonesia.
JAKARTA: Despite Malaysia’s clarification that it has no intention of claiming ownership of the Mandailing Tor-Tor dance and Gordang Sambilan (Nine Great Drumbeats), the Indonesian media continue to play up the issue by alleging that Malaysia wants to steal these cultural elements.
Today, a group of 20 students from Mpu Tantular University here held a demonstration and threw eggs at the entrance of the Malaysian embassy in Kuningan, South Jakarta, flying over the heads of several Indonesian policemen guarding the main gate.
They did this towards the end of their 40-minute demonstration which began at 1.30pm.
Several students gave speeches during the demonstration and hurled abusive words, condemning Malaysia.
Controversy over the Mandailing Tor-Tor dance and Gordang Sambilan began when Indonesia picked up a statement by Malaysia’s Information, Communications and Culture Miniser Rais Yatim on June 14 in Kuala Lumpur that the two art forms would be recognised as Malaysian cultural heritage.
This triggered angry reactions from Indonesians, who accused Malaysia of wanting to register the Mandailing culture as its own.
Malaysia’s Information, Communications and Culture Ministry and Malaysian Mandailing Community Association have clarified to the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur the actual stand on the matter which was then conveyed to the Indonesian government.
Besides that, the Malaysian embassy here explained to two senators of Mandailing and Batak Sumatra Utara ethnicity that acknowledgement of the culture did not mean ownership by Malaysia.
The Mandailing community in Malaysia has long struggled for the acknowledgement, as they want their culture to be nationally recognised like the culture of the Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups in the country.