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February 17 , 2009

Indonesia-Malaysia Relations

Cultural Heritage, Politics and Labour Migration


Drawing on social media, cinema, cultural heritage and public opinion polls, this book examines Indonesia and Malaysia from a comparative postcolonial perspective. The Indonesia–Malaysia relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in Southeast Asia, especially because Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country and third largest democracy, is the most populous and powerful nation in the region. Both states are committed to the relationship, especially at the highest levels of government, and much has been made of their ‘sibling’ identity. The relationship is built on years of interaction at all levels of state and society, and both countries draw on their common culture, religion and language in managing political tensions. In recent years, however, several issues have seriously strained the once cordial bilateral relationship. Among these are a strong public reaction to maritime boundary disputes, claims over each country’s cultural forms, the treatment of Indonesian workers in Malaysia, and trans-border issues such as Indonesian forest fire haze. Comparing the two nations’ engagement with cultural heritage, religion, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, democracy and regionalism, this book highlights the social and historical roots of the tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as the enduring sense of kinship.

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