Protesters from Migrant Care stage a rally in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday, demanding the neighboring country treat Indonesian migrant workers better and respond to abuses committed against them. The rally also called on the Indonesian government to protect the country’s citizens working abroad. (JP/Nurhayati)

Protesters from Migrant Care stage a rally in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday, demanding the neighboring country treat Indonesian migrant workers better and respond to abuses committed against them. The rally also called on the Indonesian government to protect the country’s citizens working abroad. (JP/Nurhayati)

Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim called on the people of Malaysia and Indonesia to constantly strive for and be far-sighted in ensuring cordial relations between the two countries.

He said it was important for both countries to exercise tolerance in facing any problem.

Dr Rais was commenting on the opposition by a group of Indonesians on the use of the Pendet dance of Bali island in a Malaysian tourism promotion video clip broadcast by Discovery Channel.

He spoke to reporters after attending a breaking of the fast of the ministry with 36 orphans of the Rumah Kasih Harmoni in Paya Jaras, Selangor, at the Angkasapuri Mosque, here, Tuesday night.

Also present were Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, ministry secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Siaraf and Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Tan Sri Da’i Bachtiar.

Dr Rais warned local arts activists to be careful and not use copyrighted material of neighbouring countries as their own.

“For example, Hindi songs belong to India but all our youngsters sing these songs. However, they do not claim any right to these songs,” he said, adding the same was true in the case of Indonesia.

“However, we should not turn this into a political issue and something which can destroy the cordial relations between Malaysia and Indonesia,” he said.

Dr Rais said he was convinced that the people of both countries harboured the love to continue to live peacefully.

“One dance, for example, which was broadcast over television abroad does not mean that we should burn flags and hurl stones.

“If this were to continue, western civilisation will see us in the east as having a way of life not founded on substantive elements which allow us to engage in discussions,” he said.

He said the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) of Asean, which in Malaysia was chaired by Tun Musa Hitam and in Indonesia by Gen (Rtd) Tan Sri Try Sutrisno, would have to play a role in overcoming this problem.

Da’i Bachtiar agreed with this suggestion of Dr Rais.

— BERNAMA