Sunday June 24, 2012
Papers make big song and dance over issue
PETALING JAYA: The past week saw Indonesian newspapers reporting on the controversy over the Tor-tor and Gordang Sambilan ensemble.
The papers quoted local politicians expressing their unhappiness over the Malaysian claim that the dance and beating of nine drums were part of the national heritage of this country.
The Jakarta Post reported interim North Sumatra Governor Gatot Pujo Nugroho as saying that people of the province were “really hurt” by the “attempt” by Malaysia to claim the dance and musical ensemble.
“They are truly the native culture of North Sumatra and we protest that both things (dance and music) have been claimed as part of Malaysian culture. This has really hurt us,” Gatot was reported as saying.
On Tuesday, The Jakarta Globe reported that senior Indonesian lawmaker Nurhayati Ali from the Democratic Party had demanded that a special legislative caucus be established to resolve the “conflict”.
Another lawmaker from the same party, Ruhut Sitompul, was quoted as saying that Indonesia must use “hard diplomacy” to defend its cultural heritage.
On Thursday, the Tempo newspaper quoted Indonesian Deputy Minister of Education and Culture Wiendu Nuryanti as saying the Malaysian Government “cannot claim that Mandailing culture belongs to Malaysia because its origin and history can be traced back to the North Sumatrans in Indonesia”.
The Malaysian Mandailing community, however, is not pleased with the aggression in Indonesia.
Malaysian Mandailing Association president Ramli Abdul Karim Hasibuan expressed disappointment over the actions of the protesters, saying they were only interested in causing a rift between the two countries.
“I have gone live on national television for the past week in Indonesia to explain the issue, that Malaysia is not trying to claim the dance as theirs. But they (the protesters) are not interested in listening,” sad Ramli.
“The Malaysian Government intends to recognise the two as a Mandailing heritage here. The dance belongs to Mandailing, not Malaysia or Indonesia. Nobody is trying to claim ownership here,” said Ramli.