Jokowi's visit takes place amid protests in Indonesia over 'insulting ad'

Jokowi's visit takes place amid protests in Indonesia over 'insulting ad'
Indonesia's President Joko Widodo (C) and his wife Ibu Iriana Joko Widodo (L) stand with Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak (2nd R) and his wife Rosmah Mansor (R) for the national anthem during Widodo's welcoming ceremony at the Bunga Raya complex at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.

SEPANG - Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived to a warm welcome for his first state visit to Malaysia amid protests in the republic over an advertisement by a Malaysian company said to have insulted Indonesian maids.

Jokowi, as he is popularly known, was greeted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as he emerged from the presidential aircraft at the Bunga Raya Complex of the KL International Airport.

He was immediately ushered to the official welcoming ceremony where he inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by 104 officers and men of the 1st Battalion Royal Malay Regiment.

Jokowi was given a 21-gun salute after which the national anthems of both nations were played.

He is accompanied by his wife Iriana and seven ministers on the three-day visit.

The Indonesian leader was later introduced to Cabinet ministers and members of the diplomatic corps.

He is due to hold talks with Najib at Putrajaya today where they are expected to discuss outstanding bi­­la­teral issues, including maritime claims, migrant workers, the haze and trade.

Malaysia and Indonesia have en­­joyed growing strong ties over the years and this visit is expected to boost further relations in all fields.

Malaysian officials, when contacted, were puzzled over the Indonesians' reaction to the advertisement and hoped Jokowi's visit would be a success.

"The timing of the complaint against the advertisement is a bit sus­picious as it was made just before Jokowi started his state visit.

"I suspect there is an attempt to mar the good relations between Ma­­laysia and Indonesia," said a senior official.

It is understood that police have started an investigation regarding the ad­­vertisement and will submit a report to the Home Ministry.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla is re­­ported to have said that RoboVac Malaysia should apologise for the vacuum cleaner advertisement that asked employers to "Fire Your Indonesian Maid Now!"

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