Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Indonesia & Australia

A few days ago Indonesian Navy has captured a boat packed with 260 people from war torn Srilanka heading to Australia to seek political assylum.

Later on, it was revealed that the Indonesian Navy took the action based on the instruction of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY), who was doing a favour for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Ruud.
Rudd said he phoned President SBY after receiving intelligence reports about the boat passing through the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands.

For detailed media reports on the above, please click here, here, here, here and here.

I hope that the above help PLUS Indonesia's efforts to eliminate anti-western terrorists would assure the Australian government and its people that Indonesia is a friendly country that is willing to help its neighbor. I also hope that we can also rely on them to help return Indonesian fugetives who have been hiding in Australia.


Duckham said...

The relationship of Indonesia and Australia seems a strange and tense affair at times. Australia has hardly a very good record when looking at its human rights involvements in East Timor and West Papua and its national interests in these places (gas and mineral) yet the ordinary Aussies on blogs are vociferous in critisising Indonesian military action and human rights abuses when they are blogging.

H. Nizam said...

I agree with you. In this regards I would like to know the opinion of a fellow Aussie Rob Baiton, lawyer married to an Indonesian and has lived many years in Indonesia.
He can be reached at:

Jim Belshaw said...

As a blogger who does sometimes write on Indonesian issues, I agree with D that the relationship is sometimes strange and tense.

Part of the problem is that bloggers from both countries write from an internal perspective, although I think that Australia is more inward looking and indeed less sensitive to otehr peoples' feelings.

Building links between two very different societies is, I think, a slow process. From my perspective, the development of our relationship with Indonesia is a critical issue for Australia.

Indonesia has done, to use an Australianism, a bloody good job in recent years in building a nation. If Indonesia develops in the way I hope, then it will become a major political and economic force.

Australia needs to address this now, and I think that the Oz government is conscious of this, although I do not think that the ordinary Australian is yet aware enough.

Looking forward twenty years from now, and assuming the same rate of Indonesian development,then Indonesia will be a power to be reckined with. The question of economic and social integration between Indonesia and Auatralia is going to be very important.

My argument is that we need to be looking at these issues now. Australia should, as it is, support Indonesia. But we need to go beyond this. We need to create link after link, so that the two countries and their people learn to join together at depth.

As a final note, I came across RAB through Neil Whitfield. It is a blog that I really enjoy.

H. Nizam said...

First, I would like to thank you for your visit.

Relationship between both governments is not bad. If there are differences that's normal as long as they respect each other, honor sovereignty and willing to try to understand each other.
I also believe that relationship among people of both countries is not bad too as long as we respect and willing to try to understand each other.

Although many Aussie bloggers have wrote negative opinions re: Indonesia, but I believe there are many others, including RAB, who write the good things.k

Jim Belshaw said...

HN, thank you too for visiting me. One of the nice things about my own blogging is that I have learned a lot more about Indonesia.

At a purely human level, you have to establish contact with people before you can really begin to understand them. I knew a fair bit about Indonesia before I started blogging: blogging has put a human individual face on the country.

Look, for example, at http://belshaw.blogspot.com/2009/01/message-for-our-overseas-and-australian.html. Niar is now a Facebook friend, although I struggle to understand Bahasa!

H. Nizam said...


I agree, we cannot generalize people.
I always try to think positively about people, because I believe that most people are basically good.

Thank you for accepting me as a friend.

Best regards,

Rob Baiton said...


I noticed that you called me out on this one. I was going to ignore you, but then thought, "why not just jump in feet first!" ;)

Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Or, the other good one is, "never rely on a dead man's money".

Just because PM Rudd made a phone call to Prez SBY and asked him to pick up some asylum seekers on their way to the better climes of Australia cannot be seen as, if you scratch my back then I will return the favour and scratch yours.

The process of returning any Indonesian resident in Australia and a fugitive from justice goes through the agreed extradition process. Sometimes, this is a long and drawn out process. And. sometimes the fugitive dies before the process finishes.

The friendly country arguments are a two way street. Whenever there is a little bit of a disagreement Commission I at the DPR immediately starts to jump up and down trying to inflame the situation (remembering Papuan asylum seekers of a couple of years back).

I wonder why SBY did it? Why not just shepherd the boats through? If the boats do not land in Indonesia or are not boarded by the Indonesian navy, then it is technically not an Indonesian problem. Perhaps there is already an agreement in place for Australia to pump funds into Indonesia to address the "asylum seeker" issue?

Indonesia has made some strides in confronting the scourge of terrorism. However, Indonesia has not done this to satisfy other countries. Indonesia has done this because Indonesians themselves have demanded that the government and law enforcement confront and where possible eradicate and eliminate terror and terrorists.

Indonesia deserves credit for its efforts, but those efforts in confronting terror are separate from issues such as refugees and asylum seekers or fugitives living it up in Australia.

On a person to person level the Indonesia - Australia relationship is not all that problematic or tense.

H. Nizam said...


I think you've got me wrong. If you read my comments more carefully, I mentioned your blog as an example that is favorable towards Indonesia.
I thought that you are the best blogger to discuss about this matter.
If I am hoping for a extradition of Indonesian fugitive, it doesn't mean that it should be done overnight. Of course it has to go through the legal process in Australia. And this case there's also the DPR factor to be taken into account.
Re: counter terrorism, you are right that it's for Indonesian as well for other countries including Australia.
Last but not least, relationship between most citizens of both countries is okay.

Rob Baiton said...


"calling me out" does not have to have a negative connotation :D

So, nah, I don't have you wrong :D

My point was not that it was an overnight affair, but rather the processes in place are often criticized for being to slow or too fugitive friendly or the like.

I have read today that there is a deal in progress for increased funding and cooperation on the asylum seeker front. So, perhaps there was an "incentive" for SBY to dive in and stop the boatload of asylum seekers?

H. Nizam said...



Let's hope that the process of extradition of the fugitives can be expedited.

Although Australia's sending of
funds should be appreciated however it would not end problems caused by the existence of the refugees in Indonesia. They already threatened to blow their boats.
We still have refugees from Afghanistan who caught on their way to Australia some years ago. They were placed in Cisarua +/- 80 Km from Jakarta. The threatened by hunger strike, stitched their lips
all of which giving a bad name for Indonesia, saving Australia all the troubles.
I believe that they should not be allowed to enter our waters in the first place, or, like you said, we should 'Shepperd' them to open sea.
But unfortunately, as human beings we cannot do that.