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Registration of Tor-Tor dance cause for concern

19th June 2012 | 4.145 Views
Registration of Tor-Tor dance cause for concern
Photo document of Tor-tor of North Sumatra.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The registration of Tor-Tor dance and Paluan Gandang Sambilan music as cultural heritage in Malaysia must be a cause for concern for the Batak society, according to an international law expert from the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwana.

"The source of concern is the Malaysian National Heritage Act of possession," he said on Tuesday.

Citing Article 69 of the National Heritage Act of Malaysia, on the title of ownership, Hikmahanto added: "Any National Heritage that is owned or controlled by persons outside the federal government or the state government must be the responsibility of the owner, guardian or trusted person".

"The question is who will be registered as the owner in the Malaysian statute under Article 69? Will it be the Mandailing community of Malaysia, or the one in North Sumatra, Indonesia, or the North Sumatran government?" he asked.

Hikmahanto said if the Mandailing community in Malaysia was to be registered as the owner, then only Malaysian citizens could claim ownership of the heritage.

He explained that the problem was rooted in Article 70, entitled Amendment to the National Heritage Ownership, "where, in paragraph (2), it is stated that if the owner of the national heritage decided to transfer the ownership of the heritage to a third party, the owner shall give first priority to the National Heritage commissioner, which in the given case means the government of Malaysia".

"Therefore, based on Article 69 and 70 of the National Heritage Act of Malaysia, it is not right that the two art forms from Batak be registered by the government of Malaysia," Hikmahanto said.

"This is what the Indonesian government should ask for clarification. The Indonesian government should not be a mouthpiece of the Malaysian government for the Indonesian people," he added.

The Indonesian government, Hikmahanto said, must act decisively on behalf of the people of Indonesia in order to avoid the worsening of relations between the two countries.

Rais Yatim, Malaysia`s minister of communication and culture, was quoted by Malaysian state news agency Bernama on Thursday as saying that the Tor-Tor dance and Gordang Sambilan music would be added to the country`s National Heritage Law.