Last Wednesday, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) delivered a speech about the troubled relationship with Malaysia caused by the arrest of three Indonesian Maritime patrolmen by the Malaysian Police, and seven Malaysian fishermen by Indonesian Maritime Patrol, last Wednesday.
SBY emphasized the importance of maintaining very close relationship with Malaysia, because both countries :
- Are neighbors that have very close historical and socio-cultural similarities
- Have played crucial roles in the development of Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN)
- Have strong economic ties whereby many Malaysians invest their money in Indonesia, and around two
million Indonesians work in Malaysia.
SBY said that both countries should immediately negotiate their border so as to avoid similar incidents from happening again in the future.
In short, SBY wants any disputes with Malaysia to be settled through diplomacy based on the spirit of good relationship between the governments of both countries. Although he used plain words for the speech, but considering the venue he has chosen i.e. headquarters of the armed forces, his speech was not as weak as many people said.
However, some political observers said that SBY's speech was too weak, they said that as a persident of a country with a population around ten times larger than Malaysia, SBY should have used stronger words, because it concerns sovereignty of the state..
The speech did not end the anti Malaysia protests carried out by people whose status are not clear, but somehow it has been able to calm down politicians who started the protests in the first place and that's what really matters.
For details, please read the following articles :
- Yudoyono's 'feeble' speech gets harsh criticism
- SBY silences war-drum sentiments vs Malaysia
- Isi Lengkap Pidato President SBY
Photo of SBY : Courtesy of The Jakarta Post