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It sounds like a crazy Indonesian fable. It's not.
The dispute over Ambalat and the stores of undersea oil and natural gas in the region began in the late 1970s when Malaysia published a map that included Ambalat within its borders. The area is also close to several islands that were under dispute for years before they were finally awarded to Malaysia by an international court in 2002, irking Indonesians.
Now, however absurd it sounds, talk of potential conflict is on the rise once again.
“We will take stern actions if there are foreign incursions into Ambalat waters,” Indonesia’s vice president, Yusuf Kalla, said at a press conference last week. “If foreigners disturb our country, we are even ready for war.”
Upon her return, Pinot, who looked noticeably less healthy than when she left, revealed bruises on her body to television cameras and described lurid tales of sexual imprisonment at the hands of Malaysia’s royalty. She alleged, among other things, that she had been cut with razors and injected with drugs.
The prince of Kelantan State, Tengku Temenggong Mohammad Fakhry, 31, filed a police report Thursday denying all the charges. The two were married last year when Pinot was only 16 years old, over the objections of her American father.
Effendi Choire, an Indonesian lawmaker who met with the Malaysian defense minister on Friday, said the minister assured Indonesia that it would not go to war over the disputed Ambalat region, jokingly pointing out that Malaysian military uniforms are now made by Indonesians.
The Malaysian Navy chief Abdul Aziz Jaafar was also forced into apologizing for the affair, which he offered on June 10.
“We offer an apology if we are considered violating Indonesian territory. We also offer an apology if any of Malaysian naval officers has been involved in a provocative act,” he told the
five-member Indonesian parliamentary delegation.
Nevertheless, the Indonesian government is demanding that serious negotiations take place as soon as August.
As for Pinot, she has said she will file charges against the prince and was looking for ways to help other women who might be suffering in the Malaysia royal court. Meanwhile, she has been seen joining daily protests against the Ambalat incident outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta.
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