Indonesia-Malaysia ties that bind


Hermono (left) with Reezal Merican during the republic’s 77th Independence Day reception in Kuala Lumpur. — Photos: CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

IT WAS a colourful evening at the Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur grand ballroom as the Indonesian Embassy hosted a reception to mark the republic’s 77th Independence Day.

Exchanging toasts with Indonesian Ambassador Hermono was Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican.

The packed ballroom included an array of personalities from the government, political, business, diplomatic and social circles.

In his speech, Hermono paid tribute to Indonesia and Malaysia’s efforts to jointly battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Here in Malaysia, thousands of Indonesian migrant workers lost their jobs and some were left with nothing to eat.

“Parents could not afford to buy milk for their babies and infants.

“More than 300,000 Indonesians have left Malaysia as they could not support themselves anymore.

“Moved by their plight, we rallied our resources and worked closely with the Malaysian police to distribute more than 500,000 packages of basic needs including for babies,” he said.

The envoy said the challenges in battling the pandemic had taught all an important lesson.

“Cooperation is the key to mitigating crisis, as no country will succeed in navigating the maze of complexities on their own.

“As Indonesia aided other countries with Covid-19 healthcare equipment, at the same time we also received Covid-19 medical assistance from Malaysia.

“Thousands of Indonesian nationals in Malaysia, including the undocumented ones, acquired free vaccination from the Malaysian Government.

“Indonesia is forever grateful for Malaysia’s valuable support during this critical time,” he added.

Besides the wide range of Indonesian delicacies, the evening was made merrier with an Indonesian band in attendance.

The envoy and his wife later sportingly joined their guests as they danced to the beat of popular Indonesian music.

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