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Rasa Sayang belongs to all in the region

PUTRAJAYA: The song Rasa Sayang, which became controversial after Indonesia accused Malaysia of “stealing” it as its own, belongs to everybody in this region, the republic's Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wachik said.

However, Indonesia wanted to be told if Malaysia planned to use it on a commercial basis or included the song in its cultural repertoire, he said.

He said that by right, the song belonged to both Malaysians and Indonesians.

“However, you have to tell us if you want to use it. I have met with your minister of culture (Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim) twice and each time, I have stated our stand,” he told a press conference here Friday after attending a two-hour meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Relations between the two countries had become tense recently following a series of demonstrations by Indonesians at the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta for allegedly “stealing” their music and culture by including barongan and batik into the country’s tourism promotion campaign.

On the issue of batik, however, Jero said he would leave it to the group of eminent persons to “settle” the issue.

Abdullah had earlier announced the setting up of the group, to be made up of representatives from various sectors in both countries to keep surveillance of events and issues which might lead to complications in bilateral ties.

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