JAKARTA, 14 Nov 2008: The Indonesia-Malaysia Eminent Persons Group (EPG) has agreed to organise a dialogue on historical aspects to foster understanding among the peoples of both countries and improve relations.
A spokesman of the Indonesian EPG, Dr Musni Umar, said priority would be given to the dialogue to improve bilateral relations through the cultural approach and, simultaneously, overcome misunderstanding and misperception among the peoples.
“We have agreed to organise the history dialogue to enhance friendly relations between the peoples of both countries,” he told Bernama.
Musni said many issues cropped up in terms of the perspective of the people because the young generation, in particular, did not know history and the origin of the peoples of the two countries.
He said the topic for the dialogue had yet to be discussed but the EPG of the two countries hoped that the dialogue could be held during the annual meeting of the leaders of the two countries here next year.
The Indonesia-Malaysia EPG also concurred on the promotion of cooperation in tourism between the two countries.
“This can reduce a little of the impact of the global economic recession on our economies, and we see both countries with great potential to develop tourism,” he said.
The Indonesia-Malaysia EPG would also encourage cooperation in various fields involving small industries as well as educational scholarships with the support of large companies and industries both in Indonesia and Malaysia, he added.
The EPG, which was inaugurated in July this year, resulted from the annual talks between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of Malaysia in Putrajaya in January this year.
The EPG, which comprises seven eminent persons from each country, discusses issues and problems which crop up in the societies of both countries and proposes views and suggestions towards resolving them to the respective governments.
The Indonesian members of the EPG are Tan Sri Try Sutrisno (head), Ali Alatas, Quraish Shihab, Des Alwi, Dr Musni Umar, Pudentia MPSS and Wahyuni Bahar while the Malaysian members are Tun Musa Hitam (head), Tan Sri Mohd Zahidi Zainuddin, Tan Sri Prof Khoo Kay Kim, Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali, Tan Sri Hamid Bugo, Datuk Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas and Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
The EPG meets once a month, alternating the venue between Malaysia and Indonesia. The next meeting is scheduled for 22 and 23 Dec in Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama