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Friday August 27, 2010

Anti-Malaysia protests not likely to end anytime soon

PETALING JAYA: Anti-Malaysia protests in Indonesia are not expected to stop any time soon despite Malaysia’s appeal to Indonesia to curb the rowdiness.

About 500 protesters grouped under the Betawi Brotherhood Forum rallied outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta for at least an hour yesterday, burning the Jalur Gemilang.

A scuffle broke out when police moved to stop the protesters from breaking down the front gate of the embassy.

“This is the largest crowd that has rallied outside the embassy this year,” said an embassy official.

Malaysian officials said the protests would go on for at least another week, prodded on by negative stories on Malaysia in the Indonesian media and claims that the three Indonesian maritime officers arrested by Malaysia were handcuffed and badly treated.

However, they said a warning issued by Malaysia that it might issue a travel advisory is worrying Jakarta as the country is a popular tourist destination among Malaysians.

“The Indonesian government does not want Malaysia to issue any travel warning. It is thus taking efforts to calm the situation.

“The Indonesian government is taking a very rational approach because government to government ties are very good.

“It is just that the street protests against us are being carried out by an unscrupulous minority. We believe the silent majority does not agree with their own countrymen’s action,” said an official.

Yesterday’s demonstrators, according to Bernama, had spat at Malaysian flags and taunted Indonesian policemen guarding the embassy in Jakarta.

Shouts of Ganyang Malaysia (Crush Malaysia) were heard as the demonstrators protested against what they claimed to be encroachment by Malaysian authorities in Indonesian waters on Aug 13.

Some of the demonstrators hurled stones and slippers at the policemen. One person was arrested for throwing a bamboo pole at the security forces.

They demanded an apology from Malaysia and asked the Indonesian government to recall its ambassador to Kuala Lumpur.

The residence of the Malaysian ambassador in Patra Kuningan, southern Jakarta, remained under tight security following a threat to hurl faeces into the compound.

Barisan Nasional Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin blamed the Indonesian media for “fanning anti-Malaysian sentiment” in a post on Twitter yesterday.

“You don’t see that happening here,” he said.

He urged Wisma Putra to immediately recall the Malaysian ambassador in protest if the Indonesia could not ensure the safety of the embassy in Jakarta.

Gerakan, meanwhile, has called on Indonesia to immediately keep Bendera in check.

Its International Relations and Affairs Bureau chairman Ng Lip Yong said concrete measures needed to be taken to stop the extremist group from further inflaming the situation.

Related Stories:
Foreigners should respect Malaysian laws, says Anifah
Malaysian laws apply to all when on our soil, says minister

Letters:
Stop stamping on our pride
Violence is not the way to prove a point
Every right to condemn despicable behaviour

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