Indonesian Language is claimed by Malaysia

This is originally a translation of this site.

They’ve claimed our song (Rasa Sayange), our dance (Reog Ponorogo), our food (Nasi Goreng), our clothes (Batik), our territories (Sipadan&Ligitan), and now our language.

So what’s next on the list?

Our sinetron? Or perhaps Chrisye’s songs as Malaysian- masterpieces?

OR maybe…. The Indonesian external debt that have totalled billions of dollars? Now THAT could worth quite a fortune for our dearly beloved “Truly Asian” neighbour.

Just read on, and you’ll see how our “brotherly” relationship with the next door country is as thin as a piece of ultimatum.


DIPONEGORO, (GM).- Our next door Malaysia threatens to claim the Indonesian national language as Malay language (language of Malaysia). “The Malaysian Government will claim the Indonesian language as Malay language. Because Malay language is the language of Malaysia,” said the Malaysian Deputy Ambassador for Indonesia, Dato Abdul Azis Harun to the reporters amidst the “Kemilau Nusantara 2007” party in the Satay Building, Bandung, Sunday (25/11).

That ultimatum, he said, will be done if the Indonesian government and people still fuss the Malaysian claim over the Ponorogo Reog art and the “Rasa Sayange” song.

According to him, “the “Rasa Sayange” was composed in 1907 and Ponorogo reog much longer before that due to the fact that they were born before Indonesia’s birth. The only extant thing that time was a combination of Indonesia and Malaysia which were altogether called Nusantara.

“The Malaysian government and people deem Indonesia and Malaysia as a part of Nusantara. This problem arose because the nation of Indonesia choose to narrow down the definition of the word ‘Nusantara’,” he compounded.

There are also other countries included in that Nusantara apart from Indonesia and Malaysia, he stated, which are Singapre, Brunei Darussalam, and southern Thailand. So if there is an Indonesian folksong that had taken root in Malaysia, it surely is a natural thing because the art was brought by the Indonesian ethnic groups to Malaysia centuries ago.

“The Indonesian ethnic groups came with their art and traditional culture and had them developed in Malaysia. It surely is impossible to separate them with their art and culture,” he said.

Abdul Azis also stated that the Indonesian and Malaysian governments have taken the widely debated issues into discussion, such as the Reog Ponorogo art and the “Rasa Sayange” song. In that discussion, he stated, the Malaysian government prioritises the unity of Nusantara. “But I don’t know in detail the result of the discussion between the Indonesian Culture&Tourism Minister with the Malaysian Culture Minister,” he explained.

He also stated, the Ponorogo reog traditional art case and the “Rasa Sayange” song gets highly publicised because of the Indonesian press. Whilst the Malaysian press itself, he added, doesn’t make a big fuss over that problem. “The thing is, both cultural aspects have taken root in Malaysia for centuries, which was brought by Indonesian people who then resided in Malaysia,” he explained. (B.81)**


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