Malaysia, Indonesia reaffirm commitment to strengthen bilateral relations


MALAYSIA and Indonesia have reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening bilateral relations to achieve regional peace and stability for the benefit of the people.

Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo recently discussed the agreement to work together to resolve the European Union’s (EU) severely discriminatory actions against palm oil through the implementation of the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and emphasised that the EU must address such discriminatory policies as soon as possible and work towards a fair and equitable resolution.

This was during Jokowi’s two-day working visit to Malaysia which ends today.

Both leaders had also attained a key milestone with the signing of the Straits of Melaka (SoM) Treaty and the Sulawesi Sea Treaty after two decades of negotiations on maritime boundary delimitation — where they pledged to accelerate their respective internal processes to achieve the treaties’ simultaneous entrance into force.

The leaders discussed land boundary issues on OBP Pulau Sebatik, OBP Sungai Sinapad-Sesai, the new West Pillar on Pulau Sebatik to the AA2 Pillar, as well as the intertidal area in the east of Pulau Sebatik and the gap from the low water line to Point M. They are determined to resolve these issues by June 2024.

Anwar and Jokowi agreed that the treaties’ signing symbolises both countries’ peaceful relationship and friendship, and that it offers a firm platform for future maritime boundary disputes.

They also agreed to start negotiations on all remaining and outstanding maritime boundaries between both countries as soon as possible.

Furthermore, both emphasised their commitment to the effective implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) in respect of the Common Guidelines Concerning the Treatment of Fishermen by Malaysian and Republic of Indonesian Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies.

Regarding this, they asked for more collaboration and open channels of communication among authorities to ensure the safety and livelihood of fishermen from both countries.

On protection of basic rights, welfare and livelihood of Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia, Anwar and Jokowi took note that three Working Group meetings have taken place since the signing of the MoU on the Employment and Protection of Indonesian Domestic Migrant Workers in Malaysia on April 1, 2022, and encouraged both countries to continue to work together to remove any impediments to the employment of domestic workers.

“Both parties also agreed to review the MoU on the Recruitment of Indonesian Workers between Malaysia and the Republic of Indonesia, including the provision of a mechanism to address all issues pertaining to all migrant workers comprehensively,” the PM’s office said in a joint statement today.

Other agreements signed during the visit include the Border Crossing Agreement (BCA); Border Trade Agreement (BTA); as well as Cooperation in Investment Promotion; Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on Mutual Recognition of Halal Certification for Domestic Products; and treaty relating to the Delimitation of the Territorial Seas of the Two Countries in the Sulawesi Sea (Sulawesi Sea Treaty).

On the ongoing turmoil in Myanmar, Anwar and Jokowi urged the country to fully implement the Five-Point Consensus (5PC) and reaffirmed their shared belief that the 5PC is Asean’s primary reference point.

“We demanded an immediate cease of all forms of violence and the use of force in order to establish a conducive climate for inclusive national discourse among all parties involved, as well as the distribution of humanitarian aid to all people in Myanmar in need, without discrimination,” they said in the statement.

On the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), Anwar and Jokowi reaffirmed the importance of preserving Asean centrality in maintaining and promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in South-East Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

They expressed their commitment to maintaining the positive momentum and addressing other remaining bilateral issues with the aim of resolving them before the 13th Leader’s Annual Consultation, which will be hosted by the Republic of Indonesia.