Sunday, December 23, 2007

KL seeks more meetings with Jakarta on issues

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia wants frequent meetings to be held at various levels, and with different groups from Indonesia to iron out issues.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the meetings should also include sessions with the republic’s media.

Apart from exchange programmes, Malaysian leaders visiting the country should also make it a point to “have a chat” with them.

“We believe this is important as the Indonesian media is very open but they have a tendency to sensationalise stories reported from Malaysia.

“Sometimes the issues are blown out of proportion until we are seen as offending Indonesians, resulting in them having a negative perception of the country and our people,” he said.

Najib was speaking to reporters after hosting a breakfast dialogue with members of Indonesian political party Golkar, led by senior party leader H.R Agung Laksono.

The 23-member Golkar delegation is on a three-day visit, mainly to have discussions with Umno leaders.

He said that most times, the “issue at hand” was minor, such as the use of certain terminologies.

“While Malaysians and even Indonesians residing here would refer to those from the republic as Indons, the Indonesians back home take offence to such a reference. They feel we are degrading them, when that is certainly not the intention,” he said.

Najib said the dialogue was fruitful as both parties exchanged views in an open and frank manner.

Of late, the Indonesian media has been critical of Malaysian songs and dances performed at official functions and on the television. The republic claims these art forms belong to it.

The Malaysian Government has decided to shelve cultural performances originating from Indonesia, such as the barongan and endang dances, from official functions.


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