Jokowi gets rock star welcome in Chow Kit

KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of Indonesians, along with scores of Malaysians, gave visiting Indonesian president Joko Widodo a rock star welcome as he went on a walkabout at Pasar Chow Kit in Jalan Raja Alang here.

Many gathered at the famous market from early morning yesterday hoping to at least shake the president’s hand and take a picture of Jokowi.

Indonesians even sang their national anthem and cries of “Pak Jokowi” could be heard from the thousands gathered with their mobile phones at the ready around the Chow Kit and Kampung Baru areas.

One lucky lady managed to greet him in person after being acknowledged by the president. Supriyantin Musidi, 49, who works in the plantation sector in Puchong, came with her friends from Relawan Masyarakat Kangean Malaysia.

Happy to see Jokowi: Indonesian hawkers giving a warm welcome to Jokowi in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. — ART CHEN/The StarHappy to see Jokowi: Indonesian hawkers giving a warm welcome to Jokowi in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. — ART CHEN/The Star

“I feel extremely excited to welcome Bapak Jokowi to Malaysia. We are so happy he has come to visit us here and I even managed to shake his hand.

“We hope they can resolve all the issues between the countries as we are neighbours,” she said, referring to the foreign labour issues being discussed between Jokowi and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

International Islamic University Malaysia political science student Naufal Khair, 22, said being able to see Jokowi up close was a rare opportunity.

“It is not easy to see the president this close back home, so I am happy I could meet him up close.

Photo: ART CHEN/The StarPhoto: ART CHEN/The Star

“Jokowi’s visit here is about addressing the Indonesian labour issue in Malaysia. We want workers to come here legally and hope they can fine-tune the issues between both countries.

“We can also explore economic opportunities and infrastructure plans, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, as Indonesia is moving its capital to Kalimantan,” he said.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia engineering business management student Haider Mohalisi, 24, hopes the long outstanding labour issues can be resolved after this visit.

“There are many Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia, so we want both governments to take this matter seriously. It should not be a case where illegal workers get hired,” he said.

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