Editorial: Keep Heads Cool to Boost Indonesia-Malaysia Ties
With shared and partially contested borders at sea and on land, and hundreds of thousands of Indonesians working in Malaysia, the relationship between two of the core nations comprising maritime Southeast Asia has long been easily affected by strong emotions and sensitivities. Nationalist sentiments often abound, as shown by the recent controversy triggered by a Malaysian robotic vacuum cleaner ad calling on people to fire their Indonesian maids.
A thicker skin may be just as necessary as a more respectful attitude to people working hard to support their families.
Regardless, the truth of the matter is that both nations share not only a similar cultural heritage — despite different historical trajectories as part of the British and Dutch colonial empires respectively — but also a lot of common interests.
That is why it is great that our new leader, Joko Widodo, is now directly addressing some of the key challenges in our relationship with Malaysia on his first bilateral state visit since becoming president of Indonesia.
Looking at the border disputes and the treatment of domestic workers, Indonesia and Malaysia have some real problems to solve, but this can only be achieved with a cool-headed approach.
On both sides, rationalism should prevail in tackling the thorny issues that for far too long have hampered a lasting strengthening of ties.
As one of Southeast Asia’s most advanced economies, Malaysia has a lot to offer Indonesia. At the same time, there are also things that Malaysia can learn from Southeast Asia’s most vibrant democracy.
Malaysia and Indonesia can complement each other and learn from each other. But only when rationalism prevails.
The post Editorial: Keep Heads Cool to Boost Indonesia-Malaysia Ties appeared first on The Jakarta Globe.
Source: The Jakarta Globe