MANOHARA’S CASE: IS INDONESIAN WOMAN AN OBJECT OF TORTURE IN MALAYSIA?

MANOHARA’S CASE: IS INDONESIAN WOMAN AN OBJECT OF TORTURE IN MALAYSIA?

From female worker to prince’s wife, from Sipadan to Ambalat

Sun, 21/06/2009 | The Jakarta Post | Edited by The Mighty Pen

By Fandi A. Nurdiansyah |  The writer is a student at the State College of Accounting (STAN) Jakarta.

5c9323e80ca5e9962aa48e1650c6e2f8Manohara Odelia Pinot is home. Media people line up to broadcast her story. The Cik Puan – her given name upon marriage to a prince of Kelantan palace, Malaysia – revealed to the public the verbal and physical torture she received after the marriage. If it’s true – the validity of the marriage is still a controversy – why did a princess receive bad treatment?

Is Indonesian woman an object of torture in Malaysia? Still fresh in mind tens of female migrant workers in the neighboring country come back home broken or died of torture by their employers. Some cases had been brought to trial, many left uncertain.

I can’t help but wonder whether justice exist. If there was a persecution against Manohara from the Kelantan palace it would just add to the record that Malaysia is dim in reverence to the human rights of Indonesians. Hopefully it’s not because the suspected perpetrator is a member of a Royalty that make the subject above the law.

As though all that harassment is not enough, Bumi Pertiwi (Indonesia) is shocked by the uninvited patrol ships of Malaysia in the Ambalat Island. It was not the first violation, though. According to Navy Chief of Staff Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno in his report to the president on June 3, Malaysia had carried out such border violations 11 times this year alone.

The feud over Sipadan and Ligitan bordering islands become a wake up call for Indonesia to protect its territorial boundaries. Should we lose the abundant oil from Ambalat, it would not only mean the loss of our backbone it’s a loss of the nation’s sovereignty as well.

Malaysia is our closest jiran (neighbour) in terms of geographical proximity, historical affiliation and even of the similarity in culture. Love thy neighbours, they said. Why the bad treatment, then? Is it because Indonesia has no means to retaliate? The Indonesian government hadn’t done anything when Malaysia claimed some of the Indonesian cultures and boycotted Indonesian music works because they had been a threat to Malaysian music industry.

Although many Indonesians called for confrontation, we should stick with diplomacy. If we want to be known as a great nation, we should not let others walk away after hurting our citizens and sovereignty without facing legal consequences. Seeking international support, especially from Asean countries, is a way to go in cross border dispute settlement, either on human rights violations or the breach of boundaries.

If we find difficulties to live side by side in friendship, honoring and respecting each other’s sovereignty, then let the international laws decide our peaceful co-existence.