Semarang, Central Java. Long-running claims of Malaysian insensitivity towards Indonesia drew direct retaliation on Tuesday when Semarang’s Diponegoro University announced that it had stopped admitting Malaysian students for the 2009-10 academic year.
The action was an expression of “nationalism,” university rector Susilo Wibowo said.
“We have done it as a concrete expression of our sense of nationalism,” he said, after a ceremony marking the induction of new students at the Tembalang, Semarang campus of the state-run university, also known as Undip.
He said Malaysia had often, and in various ways, been insensitive to the nation’s self-respect and self-esteem.
He added that existing cooperation programs with Malaysian parties would continue until they expired, but did not say if Malaysian students would be admitted after the 2009-10 academic year.
The university’s announcement came just a day after the latest controversy with Malaysia had been shown to be based on a misunderstanding.
A depiction of the Balinese pendet dance had allegedly been appropriated for an official Malaysian government tourism-promotion advertisement, sparking protests among a number of Indonesians.
However, the outrage was shown to be misplaced when the US-based Discovery TV network owned up to the oversight and issued an apology.