Indonesia and Malaysia are two neighboring countries in South East Asia that have lots of similarities.
The majority population in both countries speak languages that are similar i.e. Indonesian and Malay, have the same religion i.e Islam, and share arts, culture, dishes that are quite similar.
Further, both countries are founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which is getting solid after ratification of the Asean Charter on December 2008, which will be followed by the creation of an Asean Political-Security, Economic and Sosio-Cultural Community in 2015.
In the '70s, many Malaysian came to study in various universities in Indonesia, and many Indonesian Teachers and Lecturers, Medical Doctors, Engineers were sent to Malaysia.
But now the condition is different, most Indonesians who go to work in Malaysia are low educated people who work as maids or similar jobs. Although there many others who go to Malaysia for business, study, vacation and medical check-up.
Relationship between the two neighbors have often been disturbed by bad treatment of Indonesian workers in Malaysia, misunderstandings about ownership of works of arts (i.e batik, dances), or border dispute (i.e the Ambalat water), all of which were settled amicably between both of them.
The latest dispute was caused by the arrest of three patrol officers of the Indonesian Maritime and Fishery Ministry (KKP) by Malaysian Police, following the arrest of seven Malaysian fishermen by KKP patrol on sea north of Bintan Island on 13 August.
This case is rather confusing, because each of them have their own versions of what happened that day.
The KKP alleged that three of their officers were arrested on board the fisherman's boat on Indonesian territory, thus the Malaysian Police have tresspassed our border.
While the Malaysian Police alleged that KKP patrol intercepted the fisherman's boats on Malaysian teritory, then took seven fishermen to Indonesian teritory after the Malaysian Police came, leaving behind the three KKP officials behind on board the fisherman's boat.
After negotiations between the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and their Malaysian counterpart, the three KKP officers, and the seven fishermen were released on Tuesday 17 August.
For details, please read the following articles :
- Arrests at Sea Raise Tensions With Malaysia
- 7 Fishemen kidnapped in Riau
- Petugas KKP Dibebaskan Polisi Malaysia
- 7 Nelayan Malaysia Dipulangkan