Malaysia to reprimand Pendet dance clip producer
By Andi Abdussalam
Source: ANTARA News
Pendet Dance. (ANTARA/*)Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Malaysian government has promised to reprimand a Singapore-based production house which produced an advertisement for its tourism promotion that led to strong protests in Indonesia because it used the Balinese Pendet dance without official permit from the Indonesian government.
"They have promised to reprimand the production house which produced the advertisement," Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik said on Tuesday.
A series of strong protests have been launched at home against the depiction of the Pendet dance in the Malaysian tourism advertisement broadcast in the Discovery Channel program under the title "Enigmatic Malaysia".
The welcome dance performed by women in Balinese costume appeared in a "Visit Malaysia Year" advertisement and was broadcast many times.
On Monday, the minister summoned Malaysia`s deputy ambassador to Indonesia, Amran Mohammad Zin with regard to the advertisement. During the meeting the Malaysian side explained that the ad was produced by a private production house. The Malaysian side promised to reprimand the production house.
In the meantime, a Malaysian official said from Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday said that the advertisement was not produced by Malaysia`s culture and tourism ministry (KRU) but by the Singapore-based Discovery Channel.
"The ad which is part of a documentary film series of Enigmatic Malaysia program were not produced by us but by the Singapore-based Discovery Channel," President and Chief Executive Officer of KRU Group Norman Abdul Halim said.
Halim, who was accompanied by Ketut Wiryadinata of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, was explaining the matter to the Indonesian press at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
"We knew that the ad had sparked protests and anger in Indonesia only after we were contacted by Indonesian newsmen yesterday," Halim said.
He said that his side had contacted the Discovery Channel, which he said had also withdrawn the promotion ad and replaced it with a new one.
KRU has produced six documentary films on Enigmatic Malaysia which were broadcast by 23 countries throughout the world. The themes of the documentary films are "The Malakan Portuguese - Preserving Their Heritate," "Bajau Laut - Nomad of The Sea", "Keris - The Myth & the Magic," "Kellie`s Castle - Myth & Mystery", "Batik" and "Wau".
"In the Batik (traditional Javanese cloth), the documentary film clearly explained that Malaysian batik originates from the Javanese batik," Halim, who claimed his parents are descendants from North Sumatra, said.
Ketut Wiryadinata admitted he had watched the documentary film on batik. He said that the documentary film produced revealed the fact that the Malaysian batik originated from Java.
"Our meeting today (with Halim) has cleared the point of misunderstanding on the issue where Malaysia allegedly has claimed Bali`s Pendet dance. This is not true at all because the promotional ad was made by the Singapore-based Discovery Channel for the promotion of a documentary film in the Enigmatic Malaysia program. We will report this to the minister," he said.
The Discovery Channel meanwhile admitted that it had made a mistake and promised to apologize directly to the Indonesian minister for culture and tourism, Jero Wacik. In a letter sent through e-mail to the Indonesian director general for arts, culture and film affairs, the Discovery Channel explained that the promotional advertisement in the documentary film was not produced by KRU.
Discovery Channel`s regional director for advertising sales, Angie Santa Maria admitted that the production of the ad which depicted the Balinese Pendet dance was a mistake done by the Discovery Channel promotional staffs. Therefore, she promised to apologize directly to the Indonesian minister of culture and tourism.
The appearance of the Pendet dance in the Malaysia Visit Year promotion program has in the past several days sparked protests in Indonesia and become the focus of attention of the media in the country.
Tourism and Culture Minister Jero Wacik therefore thanked the country`s press and artists for their concern and greatest attention. "I have to thank them for their greatest attention to the matter," the minister said.
He said that the press efforts to defend the nation was clearly seen when the Pendet dance was used by Malaysia in its tourism promotion without permission from Indonesia. "It is reasonable for us to be upset but we should not take anarchic actions. We should show that we are a civilized nation. So, we should react in a respectable and civilized way," the minister said.
Indonesia has sent a letter to the Malaysian government to ask for explanations on the use of Balinese traditional pendet dance in promoting its tourism industry.
According to an Indonesian cultural official, Indonesia has sent a letter not to protest but to ask for an explanation or clarification from the Malaysian government.
"This is not a protest note but a letter requesting a clarification from the Malaysian government," Ketut Wiryadinata, a special emissary from Indonesia`s culture and tourism ministry, said in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.(*)