ICMI urges Yudhoyono to cancel visit to Malaysia

ICMI urges Yudhoyono to cancel visit to Malaysia

Former Indonesian president BJ Habibie (ANTARA/Fanny Octavianus) ()

"The President must review his planned visit to Malaysia until the relations between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur improve," ICMI Chairman Nanat Fatah Natsir said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Association of the Indonesian Moslem Intellectuals (ICMI) has called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to cancel his planned visit to Malaysia, following the recent criticism of former Indonesian president BJ Habibie by a Malaysian official.

"The President must review his planned visit to Malaysia until the relations between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur improve," ICMI Chairman Nanat Fatah Natsir said here on Tuesday.

He also demanded an apology from the Malaysian official who had severely criticised former president BJ Habibie recently.

"I strongly deplore former Malaysian information minister Tun Zainuddin Maidin`s criticism of former president BJ Habibie and have asked for him to withdraw his statements and offer an apology to the Indonesian people," Nanat said.

He pointed out that Maidin`s remarks were in contradiction to Indonesian history. "The process of democracy in Indonesia truly got under way during the Habibie administration," Nanat added.

Deputy House Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso, who is also an ICMI member, also expressed strong disapproval of Maidin`s statements.

"The UMNO official has lost his mind and knows nothing about our history," he said.

"Everybody knows about Habibie's outstanding contribution to the country. He implemented the new democratic system by releasing political prisoners and sending the military back to barracks," Priyo continued.

He said Maidin's remarks were "based solely on his understanding of Habibie`s close relationship with the general chairman of Malaysia`s People`s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim".

"Habibie is respected by the Malaysian public and intellectuals. He is in fact respected in Europe and the US as well," Priyo pointed out. (*)

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