KUALA LUMPUR – Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s visit to Malaysia this Thursday will foster closer ties between both countries and resolve outstanding issues.
Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia, Herman Prayitno said this was the newly-elected Indonesian president’s first state visit and mirrored a long-standing tradition.
Malaysia is the first destination for the Indonesian president, fondly called ‘Jokowi’, after he took over the republic’s leadership in October last year.
“Jokowi will continue Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s policies where the friendship and ties with Malaysia will be maintained.
“This first bilateral visit (to Malaysia) also reflects the close political, economic, cultural and emotional ties between the two nations.
“This is tradition…a courtesy visit. The new president will discuss what will be carried out in the next five years. His political, economic and cultural policies…which are suitable to Malaysia,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama recently.
During the visit, Jokowi will be accompanied by First Lady Iriana, as well as Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and other members of the delegation.
The issue of the Malaysia-Indonesian border, as well as workers will be among the main topics which will be discussed between Jokowi and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during the three-day visit.
Herman said, on the issue of maritime borders, Indonesia had no intention to extend its maritime borders as feared by many nations.
“We (Indonesia) consider ourselves a maritime nation but this does not mean we will invade or take away other people’s territories. We only want Indonesians to know that our biggest resource is the sea.
“We want to uphold maritime sovereignty so that we can take advantage of the resources to benefit Indonesia,” he said, adding that the issues of land and sea borders with Malaysia could be resolved by the end of this year.
The talks on maritime borders between Malaysia and Indonesia also involves the Melaka Strait, Sulawesi Sea and South China Sea.
On the issue of workers, especially housemaids, which has not been resolved, Herman said the discussion between the two leaders was expected to revolve around how to simplify the transportation of the labour force into Malaysia.
He said Indonesia had no qualms about continuing to supply labour force with the assurance that their welfare would be looked after.
He added that the ministers concerned would discuss the technical aspects to avoid future problems.
“In the future, we only want to send professionals such as in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors. We may want to reduce the number of housemaids as it is difficult for us to monitor,” he noted.
Asked if there would be a change of policies with the new leadership in the republic, Herman said: “No, because all our presidents observe the same basic policies in our country.”
On the development of the ASEAN car which had been mooted by Najib, the ambassador said Indonesia was looking at it positively and did not have any problems on cooperating in the matter.
“President Jokowi will visit Proton. Who knows, if we cooperate we may produce an ASEAN car out of Proton,” he said.
Meanwhile, Herman, who has been Indonesia’s Ambassador to Malaysia since 2012, hoped Jokowi’s visit would take the relations between the two countries to greater heights.
“I really hope this visit will go well, and will leave good memories for both the people of Indonesia and Malaysia,” he said.