Joint Press Statement of President of the Republic of Indonesia and Prime Minister of Malaysia, 10 November 2021 at Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java Province
President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
It is such an honor for me and also Indonesia to receive the first overseas visit paid by the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia Bapak Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. As close neighboring countries and nations with the same root, we have to strengthen our cooperation based on principles of mutually respectful and beneficial relations. In our first meeting, we were having a very open and friendly conversation.
A number of issues that we have discussed in the meeting were:
Firstly, the importance of cooperation for the protection of Indonesian citizens who are in Malaysia. I encourage to immediately finalize the Memorandum of Understanding on the protection of Indonesian domestic workers. Also, the permission for Community Learning Center in the peninsula is hopefully granted in accordance with the principle of rights of education for all.
Secondly, we would like to conclude the negotiation on state borders, be it land borders or sea borders, so it can be completed immediately. Since the process has taken so long, we hope that this issue can be addressed in a very short time.
Thirdly, related to the post-pandemic economic recovery, I warmly welcome the rise in trade figure that reached 49 percent in January-August 2021 compared to that in the same period last year. In a bid to support economic recovery efforts, we have also agreed on the establishment of Travel Corridor Arrangement that will be opened one by one gradually.
Fourthly, we also exchange our ideas on some issues in the region, be it related to Myanmar, or South China Sea, and so forth.
Once again, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Dato’ Sri for the visit paid to Indonesia this time. With honor, I invite His Excellency Prime Minister Malaysia to share his views.
You may have the floor.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
Prime Minister of Malaysia (Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri Yakoob)
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May prosperity be upon us all.
First of all, once again I would like to express my highest appreciation and gratitude to Honorable Bapak Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, for receiving my first overseas visit as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
I would also like to seize this solemn occasion to pay homage to the people of the Republic of Indonesia as they commemorate the National Heroes Day.
I am very pleased with a warm welcome extended by Bapak President and the Government of Indonesia to me and my delegation. The arrangement of the visit is quite good amid the new normal of COVID-19 pandemic situation.
As close neighboring countries with the same root that share similar culture values and historical relations, Malaysia and Indonesia have built special relations. Next year, we are going to celebrate the 65th anniversary of our countries’ diplomatic relations. So, I believe through this well-established relations, Malaysia and Indonesia will be able to strengthen more of our understanding and the existing cooperation.
Bapak President and I have had a discussion on cooperation status between the two countries. Furthermore, we have also exchanged views on regional and international situations.
The world has been taken aback by COVID-19 infection. Malaysia and Indonesia continue to closely cooperate in facing the challenges that arise due to this pandemic, especially in the health sector. Alhamdulillah, currently the COVID-19 pandemic situation has improved in both countries.
Today, Bapak President and I have reached an agreement, so that Malaysia and Indonesia can establish a travel corridor between the two countries through Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) or Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL). After the agreement with Bapak President has been reached, the related ministers will have a more detailed look, so we can start to open state borders, we can open our borders. At first, maybe we can start with Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur route and also Kuala Lumpur-Bali-Kuala Lumpur route. So, God Willing, if the details can be arranged faster, we have agreed to make a joint statement to announce the opening of Malaysia and Indonesia borders.
Furthermore, the issue that concerns about Indonesian Migrant Workers in Malaysia. I assure that the welfare of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Malaysia will be maintained as good as possible, and some changes have been made in Malaysia. For instance, on housing, we have introduced amendment of Minimum Standard Act of Housing, Lodging, and Ease for Workers 1990 (Act 446) which has been approved by the Parliament, so we can provide decent housing for every worker in our country, including Indonesian workers.
Moreover, under the Ministry of Human Resources, or here it is called Ministry of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia, the Ministry of Human Resources has also provided e-salary and special hotline for all workers in Malaysia, especially workers from outside Malaysia, so if there is an issue related to late salary payment or issues related to workers who are dissatisfied with the services provided by their employers, they can file direct complaint to Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources. It is to give protection to the workers who may have problems with salary and other issues, and all this time have no idea where to complain.
In addition to that, Bapak President and I acknowledge the process that has been taken to finalize the Memorandum of Understanding on Recruitment and Protection of Indonesian Domestic Workers in Malaysia, between Ministry of Human Resources and Ministry of Manpower. Also, I have given my assurance to Bapak President that we will encourage the MoU signing between Ministry of Human Resources and Ministry of Manpower to be done immediately.
During COVID-19 pandemic, many Indonesian workers have their work permit expired. So, according to Immigration Act, they cannot stay in our country. However, we have made recalibration program in which we make amnesty process or waiver process, so the workers who still want to continue to work, although their work permits have expired, they will be allowed to extend their permits without going back to Indonesia, and we will let them choose whether to continue to work in Malaysia or going back to Indonesia. So, this will help the workers whose work permits are expired.
We also discussed the important and strategic investment for Malaysia in bilateral investments that reached RM15.67 billion in 2020, and reached RM12.53 billion in the second quarter of 2021, while Indonesia’s investment in Malaysia reached RM1.16 billion.
And I have also conveyed to Bapak President that this afternoon there will be meeting between Malaysian and Indonesian business chambers. In the afternoon, there will be some MoUs, five MoUs if I am not mistaken, with Malaysia’s investment to Indonesia that reaches RM3.1 billion.
So, I believe that the investment of Malaysia in Indonesia is huge. Since Bapak President and the Government of Indonesia are currently developing Kalimantan which is close to the side of Malaysia, Sabah and Serawak, I would like to ask Bapak President to allow Malaysian businesspersons or business traders to be involved in the developments in Kalimantan.
Being friendly countries originating from the same roots, Malaysia and Indonesia share numerous similarities in various aspects of life, such as in customs, traditions, and heritage. In 2020, both countries have submitted “pantun” (four-line rhyming poem) as a joint nomination to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. Bapak President and I both agree that we should understand which cultural heritage that can be submitted as a joint nomination, so there will not be any issue related to culture which can harm our well-established relations.
Regarding maritime borders between Malaysia and Indonesia, we have come to an agreement. There are four related issues, two of them have been settled and can be signed. So, we both agree that the two settled issues can be signed in the first place, no need to wait until the four issues are all settled. So, I am certain that we have resolved a half of the issues, and this time we can expedite the process.
We have also discussed international issues. We agree, I agree with Bapak President that the issue of Myanmar needs to be settled. Malaysia shares same views with the Government of Indonesia regarding the issue of Myanmar. We share same views and will take action together to settle the issue of Myanmar as I have conveyed to Bapak President. Malaysia is deeply concerned over the situation in Myanmar because there will be more Rohingya refugees coming to Malaysia, and we currently accommodate more than 200 thousand Rohingya refugees coming to Malaysia. So, the settlement in Myanmar will surely reduce Rohingya people to leave Myanmar and come to Malaysia.
In reference to the issue of the South China Sea, we have also agreed that any issue related to the South China Sea needs to be resolved in a diplomatic manner and by upholding international laws, especially UNCLOS, the international laws related to sea, including South China Sea.
I conclude my remarks here. So, once again, I would like to thank Bapak President, the Government of Indonesia, and also all Ministers attending this event today. I think we will continue to carry on the close cooperation between Malaysia (and Indonesia).
I would also like to invite Bapak President to pay a visit again to Malaysia. I understand that Bapak President has visited Malaysia two times, so, at this opportunity I officially invite Bapak President to pay a visit to Malaysia at your convenience.
I thank you. (AW/MUR)