Friday September 11, 2009
Jakarta-based Malaysians taking precautions
By LESTER KONG
PETALING JAYA: Malaysians in Jakarta are taking precautions to avoid trouble even though they feel that only a small group of Indonesians is out to threaten them.
They also feel that the small group does not reflect the general sentiment of most Indonesians.
Accountant Ng Sun May, 36, has told her children aged seven and 10 not to unnecessarily reveal their nationality to strangers.
Ng, who is married to an Indonesian and has lived there for 12 years, said she received three SMSes in local languages which she translated as: “Go home. You are not welcome here. You Malaysians are thieves.”
“I did not respond,” she said when contacted in Jakarta yesterday.
Ng said she told her driver to be careful when taking her children to school as they had to pass through Jalan Diponegoro in high-scale Menteng district where a group of Indonesians have reportedly threatened to harm Malaysians with sharpened bamboo.
“The simplest thing to do is not to provoke and not to argue,” she said.
Marketing and communications manager David Ho said Indonesians were generally “very nice across the board”.
“When you are in Rome, do as the Romans do. Don’t act bossy or be rude. If you respect them, they will in turn respect you,” he said.
Ho said Menteng, being a posh housing area with many senior Indonesian government officials as residents, maintained tight security with military police and police on regular patrols.
Malaysia Club Jakarta vice-president Fakhrol Azmi Haron said news of the threats by the group had been blown out of proportion.
“It is not as serious as made out to be. There were one or two isolated cases of verbal abuse but there was no major threat to our 300 members,” he said.
Fakhrol said that he felt no animosity from his Indonesian colleagues at Sarana Daya Mandiri, a subsidiary of the second largest Indonesian mining company Adaro Energy.
Ong Hock Chuan, a former journalist who is residing in Jakarta, described the threat by the group as isolated.
“Most Indonesians are not fussed by this issue.
“I am fairly high profile here but I never received any threats. In fact, some Indonesians have told me that they are embarrassed by the actions of their fellow citizens,” he said.