By ROZAID A. RAHMAN
PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA: Malaysian students not returning from Indonesia for Raya have been advised to avoid public places during the festive season.
The Star's Malay news portal, mStar, quoted the Jakarta Malaysian Student Department (MSD) director Dr Junaidy Abu Bakar as issuing the advisory as a preventive measure due to anti-Malaysian sentiments being blown out of proportion by most of the Indonesian electronic media.
"I am happy to inform all parents and families of Malaysian students here that the situation is rather calm now," he told mStar.
He added that the media was focusing on the balik kampung exodus in Jakarta where 23 million people and students will go back to their hometowns for Hari Raya.
"But there are also many of those who will not go back. They will celebrate Raya with the ambassador and embassy officials."
He said MSD, the Malaysian embassies and consulates general would continue to monitor Malaysian students throughout Indonesia.
He said parents need not worry about the safety of their children in Indonesia because the student associations of Malaysia and Indonesia had established a new association called Malaysia-Indonesia Student Association on Sept 11 to help alleviate the tension.
He also said Malaysian students knew who to contact if they faced problems because of the anti-Malaysian sentiments.
There are 5,900 Malaysian students at various institutions of higher learning in Indonesia.
Dr Junaidy said most Malaysian students in Jakarta and areas in the vicinity would attend Raya prayers, which was part of the embassy's itinerary, and later visit the Malaysian ambassador's residence and that of the embassy officials.