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Indonesia-Malaysia Relations: A Comprehensive Guide (PDF Download)



H1 Indonesia-Malaysia Relations: A Historical and Contemporary Overview --- --- H2 Introduction H3 The purpose and scope of the article H3 The main points and arguments of the article H2 Historical Background H3 The shared cultural and linguistic heritage of Indonesia and Malaysia H3 The colonial and post-colonial experiences of Indonesia and Malaysia H3 The major events and milestones in Indonesia-Malaysia relations H2 Current Issues and Challenges H3 The impact of COVID-19 on Indonesia-Malaysia relations H3 The disputes and tensions over borders, migrants, and resources H3 The cooperation and solidarity on regional and global issues H2 Future Prospects and Recommendations H3 The potential areas and opportunities for enhancing bilateral ties H3 The challenges and risks for maintaining stability and security H3 The suggestions and recommendations for improving mutual understanding and trust H2 Conclusion H3 A summary of the main points and arguments of the article H3 A reflection on the significance and implications of Indonesia-Malaysia relations Now I will start writing the article based on this outline. Please wait for a while. Here is the article I have written based on the outline: # Indonesia-Malaysia Relations: A Historical and Contemporary Overview ## Introduction Indonesia and Malaysia are two neighboring countries in Southeast Asia that share many similarities and differences. Both countries have a common cultural and linguistic heritage, as well as a history of colonialism, independence, and nation-building. However, they also have different political systems, economic development paths, and social challenges. As a result, their bilateral relations have been marked by both cooperation and conflict, friendship and rivalry, solidarity and competition. The purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of Indonesia-Malaysia relations from a historical and contemporary perspective. It will examine the origins, evolution, and current state of their bilateral ties, as well as the issues and challenges that affect them. It will also explore the future prospects and recommendations for enhancing their relationship in the context of regional and global developments. The main points and arguments of this article are: - Indonesia-Malaysia relations have a long and complex history that reflects their shared identity, interests, and values, as well as their divergent aspirations, perceptions, and policies. - Indonesia-Malaysia relations face various challenges in the present time, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, territorial disputes, migrant workers' rights, resource management, environmental protection, human rights, democracy, and extremism. - Indonesia-Malaysia relations have also shown cooperation and solidarity on many issues, such as trade, investment, tourism, education, culture, defense, security, counter-terrorism, maritime affairs, ASEAN integration, palm oil industry, South China Sea disputes, Myanmar crisis, Islamic cooperation, multilateralism, and global governance. - Indonesia-Malaysia relations have great potential to improve and strengthen in the future, if both countries can overcome their differences and misunderstandings, foster mutual trust and respect, enhance dialogue and consultation, expand collaboration and partnership, promote people-to-people exchanges, support each other's development goals, uphold regional stability and security, and contribute to global peace and prosperity. ## Historical Background ### The shared cultural and linguistic heritage of Indonesia and Malaysia Indonesia and Malaysia have a common origin in terms of their culture and language. Both countries belong to the Malay world or Nusantara (archipelago), which encompasses the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo (Kalimantan), Sulawesi (Celebes), Bali, and other smaller islands. The Malay people are an ethnic group that speak various dialects of the Malay language (also known as Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Indonesia), which is derived from the Austronesian language family. The Malay culture is influenced by various sources, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Chinese, Indian, Arab, and European civilizations. The Malay people have a long history of migration, trade, and interaction across the region, which resulted in the formation of various kingdoms and empires, such as Srivijaya, Majapahit, Malacca, Johor-Riau, Brunei, Aceh, Mataram, and others. These kingdoms and empires often encompassed both modern-day Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as other parts of Southeast Asia. They also played a significant role in the spread of Islam, which became the dominant religion of both countries. The Malay people also developed a rich and diverse literature, art, architecture, music, dance, and cuisine, which are still evident in the contemporary culture of both countries. ### The colonial and post-colonial experiences of Indonesia and Malaysia Indonesia and Malaysia also share a common experience of colonialism and post-colonialism. Both countries were colonized by European powers, mainly the Dutch and the British, who exploited their natural resources, imposed their political and economic systems, and divided their territories. The Dutch ruled most of Indonesia (except for Aceh, Bali, and parts of Borneo) as the Dutch East Indies from the 17th to the 20th century, while the British ruled most of Malaysia (except for Johor, Terengganu, Kelantan, Perlis, and Kedah) as British Malaya from the 18th to the 20th century. The British also established protectorates over Brunei, Sarawak, and North Borneo (Sabah), which are now part of Malaysia. Both countries fought for their independence from colonial rule, especially after World War II, when Japan occupied both territories. Indonesia declared its independence on August 17, 1945, but had to face a four-year war against the Dutch until 1949, when the Netherlands recognized its sovereignty. Malaysia achieved its independence through a peaceful negotiation with the British, which resulted in the formation of the Federation of Malaya on August 31, 1957. The federation later expanded to include Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah in 1963, becoming Malaysia. However, Singapore left the federation in 1965 due to political and economic differences. Both countries also faced various challenges in their post-colonial nation-building process, such as ethnic diversity, regional autonomy, economic development, social justice, political stability, security threats, and external influences. Indonesia adopted a unitary republic system with a presidential form of government, while Malaysia adopted a federal constitutional monarchy system with a parliamentary form of government. Both countries also adopted different models of development and democracy, which influenced their domestic and foreign policies. ### The major events and milestones in Indonesia-Malaysia relations Indonesia and Malaysia established diplomatic relations in 1957, shortly after Malaysia's independence. Since then, their bilateral relations have gone through several phases and events, some of which are: - The Konfrontasi (Confrontation) period (1963-1966), when Indonesia opposed the formation of Malaysia and launched military and diplomatic attacks against it, fearing that it was a neo-colonial project by the British. The conflict ended with the signing of the Jakarta Accord in 1966, after a change of leadership in Indonesia from Sukarno to Suharto. - The ASEAN founding period (1967-1976), when Indonesia and Malaysia joined Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore to form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967, as a regional organization to promote cooperation and prevent conflict among its members. The ASEAN members also signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in 1976, which established the principles of mutual respect, non-interference, and peaceful settlement of disputes. - The Dwikora period (1976-1989), when Indonesia supported the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in its struggle for autonomy from the Philippines in Mindanao. Malaysia mediated the peace talks between the MNLF and the Philippine government, which resulted in the Tripoli Agreement in 1976. However, Indonesia continued to back the MNLF until 1989, when it shifted its policy to support the Philippine government's autonomy plan. - The Timor Leste period (1991-2002), when Indonesia faced international criticism and pressure over its occupation and human rights violations in East Timor (Timor Leste), which it annexed in 1976. Malaysia supported Indonesia's sovereignty over East Timor, but also urged it to respect the rights and aspirations of the East Timorese people. Malaysia also participated in the UN-sponsored referendum in 1999, which led to East Timor's independence in 2002. - The Reformasi period (1998-present), when Indonesia underwent a democratic transition after the fall of Suharto's authoritarian regime in 1998. Malaysia welcomed Indonesia's reform process and offered assistance and cooperation in various fields. However, the two countries also faced new challenges and disputes over issues such as border demarcation, illegal fishing, migrant workers' treatment, haze pollution, cultural appropriation, and religious extremism. These issues have sometimes led to diplomatic spats, public protests, media campaigns, and legal actions between the two countries. ### The cooperation and solidarity on many issues Despite the challenges and disputes, Indonesia and Malaysia have also demonstrated cooperation and solidarity on many issues that affect their bilateral, regional, and global interests. Some of the examples of their collaboration and partnership are: - Trade, investment, and tourism: Indonesia and Malaysia are major trading partners, with a total trade value of US$ 16.5 billion in 2019. Both countries have also invested significantly in each other's sectors, such as banking, plantation, manufacturing, and infrastructure. In addition, both countries are popular tourist destinations for each other's citizens, with millions of visitors every year. - Education and culture: Indonesia and Malaysia have established various programs and initiatives to promote educational and cultural exchanges and cooperation, such as scholarships, student mobility, joint research, language courses, cultural festivals, arts performances, and media collaboration. - Defense and security: Indonesia and Malaysia have signed several agreements and memoranda of understanding to enhance their defense and security cooperation, such as on border management, maritime security, counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, military training, joint exercises, peacekeeping operations, and defense industry. - Maritime affairs: Indonesia and Malaysia have cooperated on various maritime issues, such as the delimitation of their continental shelf boundary in the Sulawesi Sea in 1969, the establishment of the Malacca Strait Patrol (MSP) in 2006 to combat piracy and transnational crimes in the Malacca Strait, the joint submission of an extended continental shelf claim in the South China Sea to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in 2009, and the joint development of oil and gas fields in their overlapping areas. - ASEAN integration: Indonesia and Malaysia are founding members of ASEAN and have played a leading role in advancing ASEAN's integration and community-building process. Both countries have also supported ASEAN's centrality and unity in dealing with regional and international issues. - Palm oil industry: Indonesia and Malaysia are the world's largest producers and exporters of palm oil, which is a vital commodity for their economies and livelihoods. Both countries have faced challenges and criticisms from some Western countries and NGOs over the environmental and social impacts of palm oil production and consumption. Both countries have cooperated to defend and promote their palm oil industry, such as by establishing the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) in 2015, launching a joint campaign to counter anti-palm oil sentiments in Europe in 2019, and developing sustainable and innovative practices for palm oil production and consumption. - South China Sea disputes: Indonesia and Malaysia are both affected by the territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea, where China claims most of the waters and features based on its controversial nine-dash line. Both countries have rejected China's claims as having no legal basis and inconsistent with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both countries have also called for self-restraint and constructive engagement among all parties, as well as for the full implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). - Myanmar crisis: Indonesia and Malaysia are both concerned about the political and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, where a military coup on February 1, 2021, overthrew the elected civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Both countries have condemned the coup and called for the restoration of democracy and respect for human rights in Myanmar. Both countries have also advocated for a role for ASEAN to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation among all stakeholders in Myanmar, as well as to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar. - Islamic cooperation: Indonesia and Malaysia are both Muslim-majority countries and active members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is a multilateral organization that aims to safeguard and advance the interests of the Muslim world. Both countries have cooperated on various issues related to Islam, such as promoting moderation, tolerance, and diversity, countering extremism, violence, and terrorism, supporting the rights and welfare of Muslims, especially in Palestine, Rohingya, and Kashmir, and enhancing the development and cooperation among Muslim countries. - Multilateralism and global governance: Indonesia and Malaysia are both committed to multilateralism and global governance, which are based on the principles of international law, sovereign equality, mutual respect, and cooperation. Both countries have participated in various multilateral forums and initiatives, such as the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Developing 8 Countries, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Asia-Europe Meeting, the G20, and others. Both countries have also contributed to addressing global challenges and issues, such as climate change, poverty, inequality, human rights, peacekeeping, and disarmament. ## Future Prospects and Recommendations ### The potential areas and opportunities for enhancing bilateral ties Indonesia and Malaysia have great potential to improve and strengthen their bilateral ties in the future, given their proximity, similarity, and complementarity. Some of the potential areas and opportunities for enhancing their bilateral ties are: - Economic recovery and resilience: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to overcome the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to build back better and greener. Both countries can expand their trade and investment flows, diversify their markets and products, enhance their connectivity and infrastructure, support their small and medium enterprises, foster their digital economy and innovation, and implement their sustainable development goals. - Education and culture: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to promote education and culture as a bridge of understanding and friendship between their peoples. Both countries can increase their scholarships, student mobility, joint research, language courses, cultural festivals, arts performances, and media collaboration. Both countries can also leverage their diaspora communities to foster people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. - Defense and security: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to enhance their defense and security cooperation in the face of various threats and challenges. Both countries can strengthen their border management, maritime security, counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, military training, joint exercises, peacekeeping operations, and defense industry. Both countries can also coordinate their positions and actions on regional and international security issues. - Maritime affairs: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to advance their maritime affairs cooperation in line with their maritime vision and strategy. Both countries can resolve their remaining maritime boundary disputes through peaceful means, manage their shared resources in a sustainable manner, protect their marine environment from pollution and degradation, combat illegal fishing and other maritime crimes, develop their blue economy and maritime tourism, and uphold the rule of law in the maritime domain. - ASEAN integration: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to accelerate ASEAN's integration and community-building process. Both countries can support ASEAN's centrality and unity in dealing with regional and international issues. Both countries can also implement ASEAN's agreements and initiatives, such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC), the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), and others. - Palm oil industry: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to further defend and promote their palm oil industry in the face of challenges and criticisms from some Western countries and NGOs. Both countries can strengthen the CPOPC as a platform for coordination and advocacy. Both countries can also improve their sustainable and innovative practices for palm oil production and consumption, such as by implementing the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification schemes, developing biofuels and bioplastics from palm oil, and enhancing public awareness and education about the benefits of palm oil. - South China Sea disputes: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, where they have overlapping claims with China and other claimants. Both countries can uphold their rights and interests under international law, especially UNCLOS. Both countries can also support the full implementation of the DOC and the early conclusion of the COC. Both countries can also explore joint development opportunities in the disputed areas, such as on fisheries, energy, or tourism. - Myanmar crisis: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to address the political and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, where a military coup has overthrown the elected civilian government. Both countries can condemn the coup and call for the restoration of democracy and respect for human rights in Myanmar. Both countries can also support ASEAN's role to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation among all stakeholders in Myanmar, as well as to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar. - Islamic cooperation: Indonesia and Malaysia can cooperate to enhance their Islamic cooperation in line with their vision and values. Both countries can promote moderation, tolerance, and diversity among Muslims, counter extremism, violence, and terrorism in the name of Islam, support the rights and welfare of Muslims, especially in Palestine, Rohingya, and Kashmir, and enhance and governance in the region and beyond. ### The suggestions and recommendations for improving mutual understanding and trust Indonesia and Malaysia also need to improve their mutual understanding and trust, which are essential for maintaining and enhancing


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