Dr Mumbo

The Independent unifies Malaysia and Indonesia in their hatred for Tony Abbott

The Reporting on Asia From Afar Award goes to the UK’s Independent newspaper this week, which seems to think that if it uses Malaysia and Indonesia interchangeably enough in the same article they’ll somehow merge into the same county and no one will notice.

Here’s the headline and main image for The Indie’s story about a response to a typically divisive speech by Australian PM Tony Abbott, where we learn that Malaysians don’t like Mr Abbott very much at the moment.

Malaysian protesters burn Tony Abbott pictures after he uses tsunami aid to bargain for double execution pardon

The Independent

But in the opening few paragraphs we discover that, in fact, it is Indonesians who don’t like Mr Abbott.

Students in Indonesia have burned pictures of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in reaction to his comments over the $1 billion aid his country sent to Indonesia in the wake of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

Young people from the Indonesian National Student Movement joined together in Malang Square, eastern Java today to burn pictures of the under fire Prime Minister as part of their “Coins for Australia” campaign that has swept the nation.

Indonesians are incensed after Tony Abbott asked for “reciprocity” when discussing the pending execution of two Australian nationals.

Last week, told the Indonesian government should bear in mind the AUS$1 billion that was given to Indonesian as aid following the 2004 tsunami when deciding on whether pardon two Australians due to be executed for drug smuggling offences.

Indonesia plans to execute Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran by firing squad, for being part of a plan in 2005 to transport AUS$4 million worth of heroin from Indonesia to Australia.

In the speech last week, Abbott said: “I would say to the Indonesian people and the Indonesian Government, we in Australia are always there to help you and we hope that you might reciprocate in this way at this time.”

Indonesians reacted angrily to Abbott’s comments, saying that the link between the tsunami and drug smugglers was “ill-judged” and “insulting”.

Coins for Australia

Oddly, after the insertion of the above picture into the story, the country that is angry with Tony Abbott changes:

It has now given birth to a nationwide social media campaign to payback Australia the AUS$1billion in coins.

Since the first was post was put up online before the weekend, there has been thousands of posts on Twitter and Facebook with pictures of Malysian coins above the message #KoinUntukAustralia or #CoinsForAustralia.

Tony Abbott hate

And as if by magic, in the final few paragraphs, Malaysia and Indonesia have been unified.

Despite Abbott’s comments, Malaysian Attorney-General HM Prasetyo says the government is resolved to execute Chan, Sukumaran and deny drug offenders presidential clemency and Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry have regarded Abbott’s comments as “threats”.

Indonesia is known for its uncompromising attitude towards foreign nationals that smuggle drugs in and out of the country.

In January, five foreigners accused of drug smuggling, including men from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria and the Netherlands and a woman from Vietnam, were executed by firing squad despite attempts by representative’s from the smuggler’s respective countries to get them pardoned.

If anyone at The Independent is wondering, Asia is the place where most of the world’s population lives. And no, Singapore is not part of China.


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