Media must play a role to resolve Malaysia-Indonesia conflicts

KUALA LUMPUR— The media must play an important role in easing any conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia to ensure the relationship between the countries remains close, says Malaysian-Indonesian Journalists Alliance (ISWAMI).

Its president Mokhtar Hussain said if the media from both countries were able to cooperate in providing the best possible explanations, any arising issues could be resolved.

On the history of ISWAMI, Mokhtar said that the alliance was initially established when there was some tension in the Malaysia-Indonesia relationship, involving border issues and the Indonesian workforce, among other things.

“In 2004 we saw a lot of border issues, Indonesian workers were mistreated where cases were brought to court, causing anger that led to demonstrations at our embassy.

“However, when we kept in frequent contact with the media there and they provided explanations, the issues became short-lived and the situation was diffused,” he said while appearing as a guest on Bernama TV’s talk show programme Monday night.

ISWAMI deputy president Zulkifli Hamzah said the good relationship between the Malaysian and Indonesian media has resolved issues involving arts and culture that used to be highlighted by the media because the two countries understand each other.

“This amicable relationship allows any issues that arise and conflicts that are deliberately triggered not to be highlighted or more easily resolved due to explanations from the Malaysian or Indonesian side,” he said, adding that the chief editors from both sides would often meet to forge an understanding.

“So, if any (issue) arises, they will think ways to resolve this issue and ensure it is not exploited by third parties,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mokhtar called on the media fraternity to help the country combat corruption as stressed by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

“With the Prime Minister’s strong personality and determination, I’m sure there is hope and the media should also play a role to help the anti-corruption movement.

“We need to ensure the dynamic, proactive and vibrant freedom of the media can help to push the bigger agenda of developing the national economy and aiding the community to be more prosperous,” he added.


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