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‘Some Indonesians don’t understand common heritage’

 | June 25, 2012

Speaker Marzuki Alie from Indonesia claimed that the recent 'egg-throwing' and flag-burning protest against Malaysia do not represent the views of most Indonesians.

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesian Parliament Speaker, Marzuki Alie, said today that some Indonesians who staged a strong protest against Malaysia in Jakarta over the weekend did not understand the idea of shared common heritage.

The protest was in reaction to the Malaysian government’s decision to recognise two traditional north Sumatran cultural items – the Tor-tor dance and the Gordang Sambilan musical ensemble – as part of its national heritage.

“We have to understand that some Malaysians originate from parts of Indonesia hundreds of years ago. Of course, these people will also want to defend their cultural [roots] because it is their [migrant's] original culture.

“Although they [the migrants] understand that it is Indonesian [culture], it is their culture as well,” Marzuki said after meeting with his Malaysian counterpart Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Marzuki said the matter would not have grown into an issue if many in Indonesia understood the history of regional migration.

“If this [shared heritage] is something that is understood by many Indonesians and if it is explained properly, then this will not be an issue,” he told reporters.

On Friday, a group of 50 people staged a protest in front of the Malaysian embassy where it was reported that they burned the Malaysian flag and hurled eggs into the compound.

Controversial issue

The group then proceeded to Malaysia Hall where they threw stones at the building. A security guard sustained slight injuries.

Marzukie dismissed the protests as merely a handful of Indonesians who do not represent the sentiments of most Indonesians.

The issue was so controversial that an Indonesian parliamentarian, Ruhut Sitompul, said that Malaysia should be “bombed”.

Ruhut was quoted in the Jakarta Globe 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. There’s no need for diplomacy – they always find excuses.”

Asked to comment on this, Marzuki said that it was merely a personal opinion.

“You have to understand that there have been many cases of Indonesian passing away in Malaysia… hundreds of cases and this angers some Indonesians for sure but this is not the sentiment of all Indonesians,” he said.

Wisma Putra has summoned officials from Indonesian embassy’s to express serious concern over the violent protests and Ruhut’s comments.


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