Survey: 65% agree Indonesia membership in ASEAN beneficial

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Major discussion forum on ASEAN. (photo: IO/Rei)

IO, Jakarta – The Indonesian Discussion Group and Public Opinion Studies (KedaiKOPI) survey institute, together with Universitas Paramadina and Dreya Communications, held a public lecture themed “Malaysian Foreign Policy Foundations”. The objective was to ascertain the foundation of Malaysia’s new foreign policy.

The public lecture was attended by speakers such as Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Y.B. Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Universitas Paramadina Rector Firmanzah and KedaiKOPI Founder Hendri Satrio. It was held in Paramadina, Jakarta on Saturday (20/7). The lecture was also attended by Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Zainal Abidin Bakar, KedaiKOPI Executive Director Kunto Adi Wibowo and Dreya Communications Managing Partner Inayat Hisyam.

Looking at policy consolidation among countries in the ASEAN region, an understanding of the latest foundation of the Malaysian state is necessary, especially for Indonesia, its neighbor with a major influence in the ASEAN region. Cooperation and mutual understanding will form a foundation of a new power bloc in the midst of globalization.

“There are several important components that we convey, namely, the ‘Malaysian Baharu’ philosophy, the basic foreign aim of ‘Malaysia Baharu’, the ‘Malaysia Baharu’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives who optimize work in fields such as finance, expertise, training and development. Also, various forms of cooperation and support from a broad array of parties; finally, the involvement of the Malaysian public in the process of understanding these components,” observed Y.B. Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah.

According to him, support from various groups is needed so that each country can work together with one another – especially those in ASEAN.

Y.B. Dato ‘Saifuddin added that through the various collaborations that have been carried out, it is hoped that a new basis for a neighborly relationship can be set. “I believe that the relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia in the future will be stronger,” he said.

In response to this, Firmanzah stated that since Indonesia is also part of ASEAN, “… if Indonesia is shaken, not only is Indonesia affected, but also ASEAN, and vice versa”.

He also added that ASEAN issues could not be solved by any single country. Collaboration between Malaysia and Indonesia will support all solutions to problems and create a vision for ASEAN economies, going forward. Malaysia and Indonesia have a similar topography and circumstances, a similar population, and both have completed recent elections.

“These two countries: our country must be able to strengthen and bolster the idea of ASEAN Centrality which had subsided, especially in response to the struggle of two major powers, China and the United States,” he said.

On a similar note, Hendri Satrio stated that according to a KedaiKOPI survey: “65% agreed that Indonesia’s membership in ASEAN is very beneficial, 70.9% are optimistic about the future of ASEAN, and 41% are confident that ASEAN will be more advanced in the future.” Furthermore, 35.9% publicly stated that cooperation between Malaysia and Indonesia in economic and trade sectors needed to be upgraded.

“I hope that through one of these public lectures knowledge about the ideals of various countries can increase so that Indonesia will become more developed and able to contribute more to various countries around the world. This will start through academic exchange and this can be followed by other groups,” Hendri explained. (Rei)