The Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has protested against the use of the word “Indon” in a Malaysian newspaper, arguing that it carries negative connotations.
The protest was in response to an article in Berita Harian, titled “Taktik Kotor Indon” (“Indonesian Dirty Tricks”), about Indonesia’s organization of the Southeast Asian Games in November.
“We are disappointed and resent the word ‘Indon’ because the leaders of both countries have agreed not to use the word, including in the mass media,” Embassy spokesman Suryana Sastradireja told state news agency Antara on Wednesday.
The article, which is still available online, features an interview with Malaysian Olympic Assembly vice president WY Chin, who was quoted as saying that Indonesia had listed a number of sporting events that advantaged their athletes.
“We just received the list of sport numbers to be competed [in the Sea Games] and most of them are sports where their [Indonesia] athletes are more likely to win,” Chin was quoted as saying.
Suryana said the newspaper’s choice of the word “Indon” in the headline could jeopardize diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries.
“The word “Indon” is very humiliating and very embarrassing. We are going to send a note of protest to the ‘Berita Harian’ and question their motives for using the word,” Suryana said. “We demand the newspaper avoid using the word in future articles and the article writer must be sanctioned.”
Syamsul, an on-duty editor at Berita Harian, said he was unaware of the controversy and could not comment.
Nafi Nur Rauf from the association of Indonesian students at Malaysia’s Utara University said there were two definitions of “Indon” in Malaysia.
“I asked my Malaysian friends on campus the meaning of “Indon” and they said it is only a short version of Indonesians, it’s not to humiliate Indonesians but there is indeed another meaning which is an insult to associate Indonesians with maids or domestic workers,” Nafi wrote on the association’s Web site.