The problem of stateless people, including the Bajau Laut or sea gypsies, must be resolved jointly by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Indonesian ambassador Herman Prayitno said here.
Published: Wednesday January 28, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday January 28, 2015 MYT 8:17:02 AM
KOTA KINABALU: The problem of stateless people, including the Bajau Laut or sea gypsies, must be resolved jointly by Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Indonesian ambassador Herman Prayitno said here.
He said the matter of stateless people affected three governments and involved human rights issues.
“We cannot just throw these stateless people, such as the Bajau Laut, from one place to another, especially when they enter our countries,” he said.
(Living a nomadic life on boats, the Bajau Laut have been plying the Sulu and Celebes seas spanning the maritime territories of Malaysia along Sabah’s east coast, the southern Philippines and the Indonesian provinces of Sulawesi and Kalimantan.)
Speaking on the sidelines of the Asean foreign ministers retreat, Herman voiced optimism that maritime border issues between Malaysia and Indonesia could be resolved.
He said the Indonesian government decided to strictly enforce its maritime border regulations because it wanted to protect the country’s resources and sovereignty.
“It is not to make anyone our enemies,” he explained, adding that issues involving maritime matters, including the detention of Malaysian fishing vessels as well as sea borders and Indonesian workers, would be discussed at the Asean retreat.
Herman also touched on Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s inaugural visit to Malaysia from Feb 5 to 7.
The foreign ministers retreat at the Sutera Harbour Resort, that ends today, is the curtain-raiser to a series of Asean meetings after Malaysia took over chairmanship of the regional grouping from Myanmar on Jan 1.