INDONESIA: We Are NOT, I Repeat, Your Whipping Boy

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

If media reports on the meeting in Kota Kinabalu between our Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah and his Indonesian counterpart Dr. Marty Natalegawa are accurate, then I am afraid we ended, as usual when dealing with international issues, drawing the “short straw.” The Malaysian Foreign Minister in his anxiety to show his newly minted diplomatic template, designed on the trot, totally missed the point about the need to drive home to the Indons, in the strongest possible terms, the increasing difficulty of our trying to contain and control the anger of our people.

How much longer can we be expected to continue to stand by and watch the flag we ran up, so proudly for the first time 53 years ago, trampled and desecrated by one ugly and uncivilised mob after another? The official Indonesian response borders on the moronic arrogance of a people sustained by delusions of moral and cultural superiority. I am always amused listening to countries such as Indonesia parading their democratic credentials, including the freedom to participate in aggressively violent demonstrations, and looking down on us for our poor democracy record by comparison. My one liner rejoinder which puts the cat among the pigeons, as I am wont to do in such a situation, and which always works is, “What use is your democracy on an empty stomach?”

That having said, I am a firm believer in the biblical saying that “man does not live by bread alone” and Najib’s current rhetoric about transforming this country must be translated straightaway into removing all policies and laws that have denied and deprived our people of the basic and fundamental human rights as citizens of a democratic country that we are supposed to be. Trotting out the preposterous justification for repressive laws to protect our national security is the mantra of the insecure

That same argument in its infinite manifestations and with its many embellishments has also apparently become the last refuge of a government living in fear of its own shadow. It is a most unconvincing argument and one that has been totally discredited. The government’s glib answer to criticisms of its undemocratic regime is to say that general elections are held regularly, omitting to mention how they are conducted. The punch line runs something like this, “The elections are conducted fairly because the government loses some seats from time to time.” Again an inconvenient truth is left out which is that “in spite of the cheating and blatant manipulation, we don’t always win because Malaysian have become too damned clever. Is that not enough proof that we are democratic.” But as a former US ambassador and a true friend of Malaysia once said, “Democracy is not just about elections, but it is about what happens between elections.” He was responding to Mahathir’s supercilious claim that Malaysia practised democracy; his own inimitable brand of what is best described as “father knows best” democracy, and don’t ask too many questions!

I have digressed. I make no secret of my loathing for Indonesia and all things Indonesian. This almost pathological aversion had its roots in the way Sukarno, their uncouth megalomaniac dictator who once told his adoring millions to eat rats if they had no food, treated our Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, a prince and gentleman, in the course of their “peace meetings” in Manila and Tokyo during the ill-fated “Ganyang Malaysia.” But for the grace of God and our stupidity in allowing their hungry millions to find work in this country, the great dictator’s legacy to his people might come to pass.

We did not end British rule for the benefit of millions of Indons who are “fixed deposits” for an unfriendly Indonesia, whose millions in the hated Malaysia represent an important investment in a ready reservoir of “fifth columnists” who are to be encountered throughout the length and breadth of this land. Malaysian capitalists and housewives must learn quickly that in the long term interest of peace, well-being and security of this country, they must forgo the luxury of exploiting cheap Indon labour. Indonesia, a country that cannot feed its burgeoning population, is happy enough to encourage their miserable human flotsam and jetsam to find comfort and succour in this country they so despise, but we would be putting ourselves at great risk if we did not address this potential national problem.

We have enough trouble integrating our own citizens without the curse of an unnecessary distraction of an unfriendly nation’s intransigence. Our government that is ever so quick to justify the use of the ISA for national security reasons should start to develop a plan for economic growth without relying solely on cheap foreign labour. It cannot be right that we should leave this unfinished business for future generations of Malaysians to wrestle with. Unless we stand up to Indonesian blustering and bullying, there might not be the 1Malaysia of Najib’s fantasy. We are a sovereign country after all and that must be clearly understood by all nations big and small.

I for one will not forgive our government for not responding much more robustly to the totally unacceptable and uncivilised pattern of behaviour of a morally bankrupt nation. My nation’s flag represents and symbolises my love and devotion to this, my country. And damn you for dishonouring that which is the object of my love and loyalty.

  1. #1 by Loh on Monday, 13 September 2010 - 8:26 pm

    ///Malaysian capitalists and housewives must learn quickly that in the long term interest of peace, well-being and security of this country, they must forgo the luxury of exploiting cheap Indon labour. ///– TAA

    Good point. But being a low income country most households need two jobs to survive. As for the capitalists, they are only doing the type of business that survive on cheap labours. Those who are capable of running knowledge-based economy are overseas paying income taxes to foreign government. In time this land will be as prosperous as Indonesia and we will have our pseudo-democracy on empty stomach.

    Many Malays treat Indonesia their motherland where they aspire to return. So the reaction to Indonesia is to be expected when they consider themselves not as Malaysians but as Malays.

  2. #2 by digard on Monday, 13 September 2010 - 10:07 pm

    Tunku Abdul Aziz,

    please, don’t overdo it. As much as you are correct with most of what you write, a movement that aspires a secular democracy cannot stomach too much of nationalism. Actually, nationalism is nothing but modern tribalism, and that’s what we all want to get out of our heads.
    Yes, we are falling behind. We are falling behind w.r.t. globalization. If we really manage to create a Bangsa Malaysia, we still will not be there, yet. is a good start for further reading.

  3. #3 by House Victim on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:10 am

    When Indonesia is classified as a morally bankrupted country under this article, is Malaysia morally sustained? With at least the Administration, Professional, Disciplinary, legal systems not performing?

    Malaysia has long be depending much of the Indonesians in making up their “bumiputra” of today. If not because of oil money, Malaysia could have been far behind than Indonesia. Million of Indoneisans are working overseas to bring home hard-earned foreign currency. But, how many Malaysian cronnies are parasites to suck millions or billions of the hard-earned money of the People via the corrupted administration and related?

    Malaysia is depending on import of foreign foods, including Rice and Vegetable. They cannot even feed their own population!! How many Malaysians have to work overseas??

    How democracy has Malaysia on those Indonesian or foreign labours? How many had been or are still victim of the corruption of the Police and the Immigration?

    How well do Malaysians have in terms of Democracy in their own country?

    Millions of Indonesian labours, the non-parasites, will help Indonesia moving ahead. Many parasitics cronnies will soon sink the Malaysian ship!! Many Administrative and Professional sectors are already bankrupted in Malaysia, at least ethically. Has the Malaysian Government been morally frank on the Balance sheet? Should it need to go to 2019 before it would financially bankrupted?

    A crippled laughing at another crippled??

  4. #4 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:20 am

    Dear Tunku Aziz,
    For all I care they can burn whichever country’s flag they want so long as they don’t hurt or kill people. You may call me unpatriotic or whatever you want, but this I speak from the bottom of my heart. How many people really, really feel hurt inside their heart when their country’s flag is burned or trampled on? I think most of people will condemn such acts of flag burning just to be seen as patriotic or nationalistic, nothing else.
    The more important thing is for our government to find ways and means to solve the many problems plaguing our country.

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:26 am

    Ai ya yah, such strong words, watch out, Toyol n many others may go after U
    Toyol n his ancestral countrymen treat Malaysia as their fixed deposit n regard Malays as silly in allowing them 2 b abang adik 2 exploit M’sians kuat kuat
    N now there r so many Indons in all parts of 1M’sia dat they can easily integrate 1M’sia in2 1Indonesia
    Serious, no joke 1

  6. #6 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 1:41 am

    Why bark-up the wrong trees by venting our anger on the poor Indon maids who come to work here because they want to survive and to feed their families back home. Afterall, those protesters are considered a very small number, considering that Indonesia’s population is about 300 million.

    And please, we must not burn other countries’ flags if we feel so disgusted about others burning our flags.

    And did’nt Hishamuddin say that in a democratic country there must be an avenue for people to protest to show their anger. Remember the cow-head protesters? So, where is the problem?

  7. #7 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 1:43 am

    Hello perkasa, the defender of what and what, why no show your keris to the indons? Sudah kecutkah? Semua lari sembunyi lo. Aiyoyo.
    siti of Johor, no telling the indons to balik negara asal ka? Aiyo, sudah jadi tikuslah.
    no umno youth protest?

  8. #8 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 1:59 am

    I read somewhere someone said, ”Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels” Hitler’s case is one good example. In our own backyard we have UMNOB whipping up patriotism, nationalism, racialism to divert attention from their corrupt practises. Actually, those three words are very ugly words which had caused many wars to be fought. In Malaysia though, we have just one ugly which means everything: MAHATHIRISM

  9. #9 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 2:04 am

    correction:(last sentense) In Malaysia though, we only say one ugly word to mean everything:MAHATHIRISM

  10. #10 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 2:15 am

    Not long ago, when our country and Indonesia had a spat, I warned them not to take us as their whipping boy as we have submarines. This time around, I have to refrain from sending out the same warning.The reason: Our submarines cannot dive!!!!!!

  11. #11 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 2:26 am

    undertaker888 #7

    Yee Bra Heng: Huh! wa mana takot. Sengkili punya orang UMNO dan Pas Tak mau sokong gua. wa satu olang bolih buat apa? Nantilah dulu gua cari Singapore sokong barulah bolih tunjuk keris.

  12. #12 by BoycottLocalPapers on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 2:42 am

    Why is Khairy & his UMNO Youth gang have no qualm in burning the flags of US & Israel but are afrfaid to burn Indonesia’s flag?

    Israelis and Americans never burn our flag. Why can’t UMNO burn the flag of Indonesia?

    Is it because Khir Toyo is an Indonesian?

  13. #13 by johnnypok on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 3:09 am

    If not for the two fixed-deposit states of Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia could have broken up, and Malaya become a colony of Indonesia.

    Presently, there are enough Indonesians in Malaya to shake KL, but we have no guts to take action. (Even the new submarine is not working properly).

  14. #14 by dagen on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 8:53 am

    Hoi umno, but i thought you guys are tough. Threatening all us with isa, with police clamp-down, with may13 and asking us to leave the country every so often.

    Have you guys lost your rambutans? Cintanegara. Mana si celaka tu. Oi cintanegara, can you spare some rambutans for your umno friends? Oh no dont go through me. No No. I am allergic to rambutan. Anyway I hv my own RAMBUTANS.

  15. #15 by k1980 on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 9:01 am

    If the Indons invade, the only ones opposing them would be the Chinese pendatangs. Remember who fought the Japs in Malaya from 1941-1945?

  16. #16 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 9:11 am

    Sabre-rattling is no substitute for modern diplomacy.
    Besides, our 2 submarines may not be able to dive at the crucial moment!
    As for the thousands of Indonesians workng here, we need to look closer home to uncover how we allowed tens of thousands to move here, become citizens and even atain high political posts.

  17. #17 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 9:21 am

    Ha, ha, don’t talk garang oh, dis is not 1963 when M’sia was formed
    Dis is 2010, lots of Indons in M’sia, lots of them living in many of our homes as well
    Yes, working for many of us, but also cooking n feeding many of us, including many YBs

    Ask lah a sensible but sensitif Q: How many sleepers r there amg them?
    1 bulk SMS text fr some1 can activate d sleepers here n many may not even hv time 2 say Sayonara! Bella ciao!
    1 bulk SMS fr some1 can activate d sleepers here n many businesses will b in ruin
    Admit it lah, they hv grabbed our balls in their hands, just waiting 4 d right time 2 squeeze
    Funny thing is ppl like Toyol may not b harmed

  18. #18 by Thor on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 10:35 am

    That’s the way, man!
    They bully us non malays and now, they got “bashed” back by their very own so called “brothers”.
    These proved how coward they are!

  19. #19 by dagen on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 10:51 am

    This is the time for toyo-the-indon to show the country his true allegiance.

    Is he malay or is he indon?

    That is the question.

    So come on. Burn an indon flag man. Show us toyo. Not your rambutans but your true allegiance.

  20. #20 by JJx on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:09 pm

    Indonesia morally bankrupt??? If Indonesia is morally bankrupt, then Malaysia is far far worst off. Lets not throw stones in a glass house , shall we Tunku?

  21. #21 by JJx on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:13 pm

    … and lets be honest, Malaysia without the cheap Indonesian labour … we will struggle even more.

    Even without maids for a day, many homes in Malaysia will come to a standstill.

    Ok, ok yes we torched our flag and all. We are upset and all. Fine. But when we beat up them maids, how come no one came out screaming injustice and all????

  22. #22 by johnnypok on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:15 pm

    Why mamak toon bak kut teh so quiet. Is he not a Malaysian?
    Blood is thicker than water … Indian blood of course.

  23. #23 by Dipoh Bous on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:19 pm

    Are we sure these “drama” is not the work of Malaysian(s)?

    …judging from the “smell” of it, one just can’t ignore that possibility.

    …Malaysia memang boleh !!

  24. #24 by dagen on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 12:43 pm

    I pulled this from malaysia today (emphasis added):

    “”In reality, Umno’s current leadership is no longer carrying the aspiration of the Malays… the current Umno leadership is beginning to accept the idea of liberalising the country’s (economic) system and this covers aspects like giving more concession to non-Malay rights,” read the posting on”

    Fools. Dont they get it. We dont want concessions. We dont want any of the umnoputra-styled affirmative actions. We do not want hand outs. We lived and thrived without them for 50 yrs and can certainly go on for the next 50yrs without them, no problem. And when business opportunities became sparse we could easily turn our attention elsewhere. Many did. The point is this is our country and we want to see our country progress. Like singapore, like korea, like HK and taiwan. So we want malays to be our partners and our competitiors in business and not be a nuisance on our roads; in schools and in the neighbourhood.

    So ibrahim bin perkasa and dr mamak are missing the whole point. We do not want the umno gobermen to hand mega projects to us without tender and by way of direct negotiation and with profit guarantee clause thrown in. We do not want the umno gobermen to give scholarship to those of our children who clearly are underserving.

    oh boy. no hope man. no hope. incurable and incorribigle.

  25. #25 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 1:31 pm

    Let’s parade NR, HH, MY, IA, KJ, CSL, KTK, SV, BN n Perkasa taikos with keris in their hands
    Invite them 2 raise unsheathed keris n yell blood fr Indons (their speciality)
    N 2 burn Indon flag too
    Of cos, not forget 2 parade Toyol, MMK n his sons, Pg Umno kakis, racist principals too
    Can or not? Patriotic what

  26. #26 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 1:34 pm

    ///Why mamak toon bak kut teh so quiet. Is he not a Malaysian?
    Blood is thicker than water … Indian blood of course.///

    he is a chameleon…like the boy george song…mamak-mamak cha-me-le-on..u come and go, u come and go-o-oh-o.

    when ali lawan ah chong…he became malay
    when ali lawan muthu … he became malay
    when ali lawan abu…he became mamak
    when there is meritocracy…he became mamak

  27. #27 by mauriyaII on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 2:17 pm

    I ever our great, morally upright and corruption-free leaders try to show their ketuanan mentality in the open towards the Indonesians, the fifth column within the country that was welcomed by mamak kutty is enough to casterate everyone of them and make us in turn pendatangs of Indonesia.

    When we do not practise true democracy, why belittle another country. Here we are angry at the Indonesians for burning and trampling on our flag, did any other country especially Israel and the US do likewise? We are too emotional and too quick to shoot from the hip without a second thought like our trigger happy cops.

    When we have Toyo and others of his ilk to lead the fifth column in case of a conflict, what is our strategy? Ask our local Perkosa hitler? Better still send a delegation of UMNOputras to the evil mamak for his wisdom to untangle the rot in the country that he created and then only ask him about the present spat with Indonesia.

  28. #28 by mauriyaII on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 2:19 pm

    error: I in the 1st sentence should be: If

  29. #29 by good coolie on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - 10:04 pm

    Flags generally contain religious symbols: the British flag contains 3 crosses; the Malaysian flag has the cresent and moon; and the Israeli flag has the star of David; Burning flags is a crude form of protest, but let us not get too sensitive. There all kinds of nuts, even Koran burners and Bible burners. Let’s not blow our top. As, Taxidriver says, let them burn flags if they must, so long as no one really gets hurt.

  30. #30 by dagen on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 - 9:32 am

    Guess wot? Cintanegara and gang have no view on this issue. Just like umno. Typical bully. Scared stiff of them, indons.

  31. #31 by PoliticoKat on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 - 10:16 am

    Dear Tunku Abdul Aziz,

    If memory serves, aren’t Indonesians, Malay brothers? Real local people unlike the Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians, who are Pendatang. Much more desired than yucky pendatang who didn’t know to go back to their own country.

    In any case, Perkasa and certain UMNO politician who wanted to “Bathe his Keris with Chinese Blood” has put a real dampner on my sense of nationalism.

    If I am a Pendatang, a barely tolerated second class citizen, why should I feel anything?

    I say, let Perkasa and UMNO youth handle this problem. After all, they claim to protect Malay rights. UMNO/BN government is willing to go after a Youtube rapper for debasing the national anthem, why don’t it go ask Indonesia to stop burning Malaysian flags.

You must be logged in to post a comment.