International Journal of Environment, Architecture, and Societies Vol. 01, No. 01, February 2021, pp. 1-11

DOI: 10.2641 8/ijeas.2021.1.01.1-11

il | ida ISSN: 2775-8540

Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies at Indonesia-Malaysia

Border Area (2009-2014)

Adityo Darmawan Sudagung!

' Department of International Relations, Universitas Tanjungpura, Indonesia p yungp

Manuscript received: January 03, 2021

Manuscript revised: February 23, 2021

Manuscript accepted: February 28, 2021

Date of publication: February 28, 2021.

Corresponding author: Adityo Darmawan Sudagung adityo.ds @


Abstract This paper aimed to examine Indonesia's means in 2009-2014 to deal with Indonesian nationalism problem at West Kalimantan-Sarawak border. The means of it divided into two categories: securing the border and political nationalism. The disparity between Indonesian and Malaysian at West Borneo-Sarawak border became the cause of societal security problem. National identity problem showed with the rising problem of Indonesian people nationalism at the research site. The research method used in this paper was a qualitative method with a descriptive case study technic. Data collection did by interview and documentation study. Securing the border means was done by guarding the border area and state frontier. Added by the diplomacy toward Malaysia in border issues. Political nationalism means was done firstly by showing state attention and existence. This means was done by doing physical development and delivering aid. Secondly, by giving education and empowerment to the people. Indonesia has done some means to deal with nationalism problem. However, there were still some obstacles, such as coordination and communication problem, human resources quality, and the lack of commitment.

Keywords: border area, border security, nationalism, political nationalism, societal security.

International Relations has expanded its meaning from what was initially only about state actors into international organizations, community groups, multinational companies, and individuals. Relationships that do not only involve the state are known as transnational relations. Transnationalism is a process in which international relations carried out by the government accompanied by relationships of individuals, groups and societies, which can have consequences for an event (Rosenau 1980). This transnationalism activity then provides space for non-traditional actors and issues discussed in

International Relations.

Likewise, global security, which was only dominated by military issues, has expanded to non- traditional issues. Non-traditional issues such as health, economy, environment, and social issues began to discussed in International Relations. Expansion of the security sector includes expanding the military,

Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).

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Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

political, economic, societal and environmental sectors (Buzan et al., 1998).

Based on the two phenomena that the author mentioned above, we intended to explore the strategy used by Indonesian government to protect their societal security regarding the nationalism problems of border societies. Thus problems caused by the relations between Indonesia and Malaysia which includes transnational activities of both people at the border and their relation to state security in the societal sector.

The problem of expanding the issue of security, primarily the phenomenon of societal security, is explained as an issue that includes the relationship between collective identities that is concerned about the continuity of traditional patterns, such as language, culture and religion as well as national identity and customs (Buzan et al., 1998). The societal security aspect discussed in this paper is the aspect of nationalism.

In 2011, I found that the Malaysian border area is more developed than the Indonesian border area has resulted in a higher orientation of the Indonesian people towards Malaysia in the economic and social aspects. Indonesian communities in border areas are generally below the poverty line. Even people on the border tend to compare their conditions with communities in neighbouring countries who are relatively more affluent (Said, 2011).

Other research showed that in Aruk Village, Sajingan Besar District, Sambas Regency, almost all Aruk residents shop for groceries to Biawak, Sarawak (Sudagung & Rezasyah, 2020). In Entikong Subdistrict, Sanggau Regency, goods, such as sugar, canned food, and packaging originate from Sarawak. The community even uses subsidized 14 kg of Petronas gas cylinders (Mubarak, 2009). In 2011, almost all residents in border villages used the free facilities from Malaysia, including education, health, electricity and clean water (Badan Nasional Pengelola Perbatasan Republik Indonesia, 2011). These facts reinforce the explanation that Indonesian society has a higher orientation towards Malaysia during that period.

This relationship has existed for a long time since the colonialization era. Citizens in the Indonesia-Malaysia border are separated politically by citizenship. Even though some belong to the same ethnic group, it leads to two understandings of identity in border areas, namely ethnic identity and national identity.

In a research conducted on Dayak Iban on the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border, they found that it was common for Dayak Iban people to have two identity cards. They have Indonesian Identity Cards and also have Malaysian Identity Cards (Eilenberg & Wadley, 2009). There is also a psychological impact in the form of liminality, namely a psychological condition not there and not here (Said, 2011). This psychological problem found in Badau, Kapuas Hulu District, West Kalimantan, where people began to ignore the state’s presence in their lives. In Badau, there was a shift in the people’s orientation and identity through exchanging life experiences and ideas of statehood across borders (Safitri, 2013).

All of these facts show the vulnerability and threats to Indonesia’s societal security. Indonesian society, especially school-age children know more about the Malaysian national anthem, community participation in the Malaysian militia, transfer of citizenship, use of two-state identity cards, social- psychological problems, and shift in orientation demonstrate the problems of nationalism that occur in Indonesian society in the border area. The problem of Indonesian people’s nationalism in the border area is a threat to the Indonesian state where the state can be made insecure through threats to their societies (Roe, 2007). Through the elite’s perception, Indonesia will make efforts to secure its national identity. These means explained two significant discussions: the outward effort related to bilateral relations with Malaysia and the inward effort related to community nationalism on the West Kalimantan- Sarawak border.

There are several previous studies regarding this topic. Research on problems at the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border conducted by Awang et al. (2013), Eilenberg and Wadley (2009), Said (2011), and Safitri (2013).

In the research of Awang et al. (2013), they found the same transnational relationship phenomenon. This research focuses on studies on the Malaysian border, namely in the city of Serikin. Meanwhile, we researched the border areas of Indonesia. They stated that Serikin town would remain as a mall within the forest and experienced positive spillover effects (Awang et al., 2013). Some of the facts in this study can be used as a guide to see the driving and pulling factors for Indonesian people to do more activities in Malaysia.

Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

Eilenberg and Wadley (2009) found that the Dayak Iban people in West Kalimantan are used to having two signs of population. They have the Indonesian National Identity Card and Malaysian Identity Card (IC) and used it as a socio-economic strategy for the Dayak Iban community in fulfilling their daily needs (Eilenberg & Wadley, 2009). This research focuses on analysis from the perspective of Anthropological point of view. Although there are different points of view in analyzing the problem, some of the facts presented can serve as guidelines in mapping Indonesian society’s problems on the Indonesian-Malaysian border.

Said (2011) explained the problems in three Indonesian border areas: Indonesia-Malaysia, Indonesia-PNG, and Indonesia-Australia. This research found that the main problem at the border is economic disparity. This disparity causes a liminality phenomenon (Said, 2011). Another finding is the threat of self-determination and the desire to separate from the Republic of Indonesia due to the neglect of the liminality condition (Said, 2011). This research can guide author in looking at problems related to the nationalism of Indonesian society on the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border.

Safitri (2013) conducted research related to nationalism and state functions on the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border. She found several problems related to the conditions of the people at the border. The geographic problems, the location of Badau which was far from the provincial capital, impact the state’s difficulty providing services (Safitri, 2013). Another finding was Malaysia’s involvement in meeting the living needs of border communities, both in terms of spending on daily necessities, government services and the development of infrastructure and life support facilities, to providing employment opportunities (Safitri, 2013).

Other problems that arise in Badau are limited border infrastructure, notification of various violations of order and law, various forms of state services that are administrative, coupled with limited monitoring and evaluation of the central government and there is also a shift in orientation and community identity through the exchange of life experiences and ideas (Safitri, 2013). This study contributes to my paper in the form of initial data on problems in the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border area, especially in the Badau area, Kapuas Hulu Regency.

Author used societal security and nationalism concept to analyze the result and discussion on this paper. In the Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe (1993), Waever et al. explained that societal security is an important matter related to post-Cold War countries’ sovereignty in Europe (Roe, 2007). There was an intersection between state and societal security. Where state security emphasizes threats to its sovereignty, while societal security emphasizes the identity of the community. The intersection can be explained by starting with the emergence of vulnerability at the community level and then leading to state sovereignty.

The threat to societal security is when a society is under pressure to express an identity passed down from generation to generation (Roe, 2007). It includes the prohibition of the use of language, names and traditional clothing, the closure of places of education and worship, and deportation or killing of community members. Regarding the threat to identity reproduction, Roe explained that the threat comes if institutions that preserve language and culture, such as schools, newspapers, and museums are closed, the community’s identity will not passed on to the next generation (Roe, 2007).

There are two versions of the definition of societal security. In the first version, Waever places the state as an actor who plays a role in securing the societal aspect. Meanwhile, in the second version, Roe places the state as a threat to community actors. In this paper, I chose to use the opinion in the first version by seeing Indonesia government as an actor who secures its people’s societal aspects on the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border.

At least three issues are generally considered a threat to the societal sector, namely migration, horizontal competitions, and vertical competitions (Buzan et al., 1998). In responding to these threats, actors generally took two actions.

First, moving the issue to a political sector in which the issue is considered a threat discussed in the country’s agenda (Buzan et al., 1998). In this action the state plays a role in overcoming these threats because the communities also form the state. As an example of dealing with the threat of migration, countries can implement laws and controls on borders (Buzan et al., 1998).

Second, actions are carried out by the community itself without involving elements of the state. Author can see this as action against threats that come from the object and placing themselves as the subject. The usual steps involved dominating the ruling government (for example, the Tutsi), forming


Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

the government of their own country (for example, the Slovenes, the Zionists), or living apart from the majority (for example, the Jews in Europe) (Buzan et al., 1998). In this paper, I will focus on the first effort in which the threat that comes diverted as a state issue and actions taken to overcome the state’s problem.

There are two other efforts that actors can make in the context of societal security (Roe, 2007). First, efforts made by using military efforts, namely defending the territory of their homeland. There are two conditions for carrying out this effort: threats related to territory and threats because neighbouring countries have deployed armed forces. This stage is characterized by maintaining societal security and maintaining state sovereignty (Roe, 2007). Second, non-military means is the actor’s efforts to overcome threats that come not related to soldiers or sovereignty’s deployment. It is necessary to maintain a culture with a culture that is a project of cultural nationalism (Roe, 2007). These efforts emphasize strengthening self-identification.

The use of the societal security concept in this study provides an understanding of the threats that arise in the Indonesia-Malaysia border area. This concept used to analyze Indonesia’s means to overcome nationalism problems in the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border community.

Giddens and several other figures even tend to associate the nation as a state. Giddens explained that a nation would exist when the state has an administration that unites its territory as part of its sovereignty (McCrone, 1998). Meanwhile, the nation-state is a group of institutional forms of government that manage administrative monopoly over a demarcated area, where the rules embodied in law and control over domestic and foreign behaviour (McCrone, 1998).

In this explanation, the state in the 20th century maybe not only based on a nation because it covers part of its territory. The diversity of nations in a region, preserved in the past, agreed to form a new country.

Nationalism as an ideology is a moral principle where a state exists, so nationalism must also exist (Halliday, 2001). Anthony Smith explained the seven main themes of nationalism: humans divided into nations, each nation has its characteristics, the source of all political power is the nation, independent and independent humans must have a nation, a nation can only realize in a state, loyalty towards the nation above all else, and conditions of global freedom and harmony support the strengthening of the nation-state (Halliday, 2001). These seven characteristics indicate the ideal conditions based on nationalism (Sudagung et al., 2014).

Nationalism identified as an ideology, identified with national symbols which generally consist of language, food and drink, dress code, national holidays, military heroes, flags, colours and songs, and terms for non-nationals (Halliday, 2001). These symbols also show that feelings for the nation can develop in several cultures, through books, music, art, stories of struggles and victories, and habits (Petkovic, 2011). The use of national symbols is one way to express oneself as a nation (Sudagung et al., 2014). The characteristics of nationalism as an ideology show the link between national identity and nationalism where national identity is the basis of nationalism.

As an object threatened from a societal security perspective, one of the efforts to be used is cultural nationalism and political nationalism. Patten explained that political nationalism wants a nation (national identity) formed through power in a multinational country (Kayuni, 2012). Cultural nationalism explains that the state must guarantee the existence of national culture. In this case, political nationalism talks about forming political boundaries with other state entities. Meanwhile, cultural nationalism talks about the state’s use of power within these limits (Kayuni, 2012). Patten’s explanation shows that the main actor in these two means is the state.

Hutchinson explains the difference between these two concepts that political nationalists aim to maintain political sovereignty in the nation-state, while cultural nationalists view the nation as a historical community that continues to develop including traditional and modern syntheses (Kayuni, 2012). Roe also explained cultural nationalism to strengthen society's identical elements, such as language, religion, and history (Roe, 2007).

The relationship between the two concepts explained by Leerssen that cultural nationalism leads to political nationalism (Kayuni, 2012). In a more functional language, Leerssen argues that political nationalism is initially cultural nationalism, but it includes a political agenda (Kayuni, 2012). We use the concept of nationalism to see the Indonesian state’s means with political nationalism in maintaining its sovereignty over their national identity.

Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

This paper limited the research scope from 2009-2014, during the second period of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration. This period identified with the increasing country’s attention to the Indonesian border area by establishing the National Border Management Agency. Thus, this paper’s research question is how Indonesia’s security strategy in increasing nationalism towards society at the border area of West Kalimantan-Sarawak? This research aimed to understand Indonesian’s security strategy to increase the nationalism of border societies at West Borneo-Sarawak border area.


This paper used a qualitative research design. Creswell defined the method involves efforts, such as asking questions and procedures, collecting specific data from sources, analyzing data inductively, and interpreting the data's meaning (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). This paper conducted descriptive case study techniques that require the researcher to present a descriptive theory that explains the overall framework for conducting research (Berg, 2000). Using the case study technique is because of author researched by limiting Indonesia’s efforts in the period 2009-2014 in dealing with the problem of nationalism in Indonesian society on the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border. The field research was conducted for about 17 months since March 2014 until July 2015.

The data source used in this study divided into two types of data. Namely, primary and secondary data. Primary data obtained from interviews. Meanwhile, secondary data obtained from documentation studies. The determination of informants for interviews in this study was purposeful sampling. Where author determine informants based on data needs. Author also conducted snowballing sampling techniques based on developments in the field. The interviewed informants included: Head of the Asia Pacific Division, Center for the Study and Development of Policy for the Asia Pacific and African Region, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia; Head of Section for Strengthening National Insight, Head of Sub-Directorate for National History Values, and Head of Sub- Directorate for Strengthening State Ideology and Head of Sub-Directorate for State Ideological Resilience, Ministry of Home Affairs, Republic of Indonesia; and the Head of Law and Civil Service and Staff of the Legal and Civil Service Section of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia.

The documentation study carried out by collecting laws, regulations, policies, and work reports from the government at the central and regional levels regarding efforts to overcome nationalism in Indonesian society on the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border. Besides, research reports, journals, books, and websites relevant to the research problem also carried out to complement the data obtained from interview sources.

Data analysis carried out to find a deeper understanding of the object of the research. Data analysis techniques referring to Creswell’s opinion, include the following steps: managing data, reading and making notes, describing, classifying, interpreting, and representing and visualizing (Creswell, 2007). The data validity process was carried out by triangulating data through different data sources (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). In this study, I tested the data’s validity by comparing the data obtained from both interviews and documentation studies.


According to my research, referring to the theoretical perspectives and the direction of policies in Indonesia, there are at least two primary means in maintaining the security of the societal sector. First, border security means. Second, political nationalism means.

Border Security Means

Author refer to the explanation of securing societal security, which is the first, military means. Border negotiation efforts also support the military because border negotiations are near related to ensuring the Indonesian state’s territory bordering neighbouring countries.

Imposing restrictions on closely interacting communities becomes challenging to do, considering the border community that is transnational borderlander and the border co-existent character. The role of the state military as a fence of national borders is not so important. Even so, security still needs to be done to ensure that the rules agreed upon by the two countries run well. Another objective is to prevent certain parties from taking advantage of inter-border relationships opportunities to influence local community nationalism.

Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

In border security efforts, the Indonesian government undertakes security measures through border post patrols and secures illegal cross-border activities at the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border. The author found some of the data shows the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) role, primarily through the Military Command Task Force for Infantry Battalion 305 Skeleton/Kujang I. Several facts about the security carried out include continuous patrols of 4,609 border checkpoint along the Indonesia- Malaysia border in West Kalimantan and Sarawak (Dominique, 2012). The Army also conducted routine joint patrols with the Malaysian Royal Army to jointly check boundaries (Dominique, 2012).

The Army also collaborates with the community to carry out joint patrols. One example occurred in Temajuk Village. The Army invited members of the Kujang Temajuk Border Youth Forum to patrol the border poles around their village (Dominique, 2012). Soldiers on duty at the border also put up signs at the border coordinates’ location, in the form of a wooden sign or pipe which wrote with the appropriate type and number of the stake in the coordinates (Dominique, 2012).

The Indonesian Army cooperates with the National Police and Customs and Excise and safeguards against the entry of illegal goods into Indonesia. Malaysians or Indonesians could have carried these illegal items. According to the data the author found, the smugglers ultimately knew their surroundings so that they managed to escape on several occasions. Captain of Kostrad, Lieutenant Colonel Kav Albiner Sitompul, S.IP, explained that the Military Command Task Force for Airborne Infantry Battalion 305 Skull/Kujang I had succeeded in arresting transnational crimes on the border of West Kalimantan-Sarawak, such as illegal logging, and illegal trading (Dominique, 2012).

The TNI also thwarted the smuggling of 5 units of cars in oil palm plantations in Putussibau, West Kalimantan, and arrested 0.8 grams of methamphetamine transactions worth IDR 1.8 million, in June 2012 (Dominique, 2012). Soldiers were also asked for help by the people of Temajuk Village to secure the village entrance during the Gawai di Ujung Negeri and succeeded in thwarting liquor’s entry, firecrackers and sharp weapons brought by migrants from other areas (Dominique, 2012). The Entikong community leader, Haji Tholib appreciated the TNI’s role in arresting cross-border criminal activities, such as smuggling illegal sugar in their area (Dominique, 2012). Apart from the land border, the TNI also provided security at the sea border on July 26, 2012, they ambushed a Malaysian-flagged cargo ship sailing into the waters in Temajuk, West Kalimantan (Dominique, 2012).

Some examples that the author cited shows the state’s role through the TNI, police, and Customs. In several cases, the Army succeeded in thwarting illegal goods from Malaysia that were about to enter Indonesia. Besides, the Army also carries out border security measures to protect the territory of the Indonesian state. The security that carried out was not as described by Roe regarding military efforts in securing societal security. The reason is that there is no deployment of armed forces by neighbouring countries. The military effort referred to by Roe is an effort to mobilize the military to overcome military threats from neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border threats came from two general activities: shifting the boundary markers and trans-border criminal activity. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative's interview, he stated that the state boundaries in this modern era are no longer like the cold war era. Before West and East Germany separated by the Berlin Wall. Secondary data tracing also shows that public relation’s intensity complicates state restrictions due to military deployments or imposing rigid boundaries such as the Berlin Wall. The author also agree that this statement supported by the natural characteristics of the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border.

The existence of a long-maintained pattern of transnational relations also makes it difficult for the state to implement military efforts then as suggested by Roe. Indonesia has shifted the orientation of its border policy previously only based on the military and then added the welfare and the environment sectors. Before 2005, Indonesia’s government believed that the military perspective alone was not sufficient in building borders, especially in increasing public nationalism. Because people need to be protected, people also need to be given attention and real evidence of the state’s presence during their daily lives.

Author found that to support border security, Indonesia made several diplomatic efforts. Several diplomatic steps taken by Indonesia with Malaysia entered an improved phase in 2009-2014. According to the interview with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, relations between the two countries facilitated through the Annual Consultation. This forum brings together the two heads of government, the President of Indonesia and Malaysia’s prime minister. Another finding from the online article source stated that President’s of Indonesia considered that the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Malaysia had progressed well. At the 10th annual meeting in Jakarta, the two heads of government agreed to step up particular negotiations in a friendly and peaceful manner on border issues.

This annual consultation forum was also a good note in itself wherein the 2013 period, the Malaysian PM was able to visit up to 5 times to the State Palace in Jakarta. The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, also appreciated the maturing relations between the two countries. This condition confirmed by representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to him,


Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

the relations between the two countries are more mature. The two states did not respond to emotional issues and did not conduct megaphone diplomacy. It showed the maturity of the two countries in their attitude. Both Indonesia and Malaysia put forward the principle of kinship in discussing issues related to their bilateral relations.

However, I believe meetings of heads of state are not sufficient to support national borders’ security. We found that this kind of consultation mechanism was still a general meeting. Meanwhile, at a more technical level, the negotiations between the two states delegation can be very tough. In the annual consultation mechanism, the two heads of government raised specific issues to discuss further. This mechanism was the stepping stone for further negotiations which will be discussed more technically by the related parties.

In diplomacy at a more technical level, we found that it often experienced obstacles. Both states will be challenging to convey their thoughts and claims on an issue. Of course, the factor of national interest cannot separate from these negotiations. Another factor that became an obstacle based on the researcher interview was the change of members or negotiators at the regional level. This replacement is quite hindering because it is not uncommon for people who replace the previous person’s position do not understand the aspects of negotiations that have been going on for quite a long time. The negotiations that occur are continuous, but the human resources who negotiate sometimes change. It hampered the understanding and practice of negotiations.

One of the exciting achievements in diplomacy with Malaysia is Indonesia’s proposal to open a school for child migrant workers in Kinibalu, Malaysia. The school goals to send Indonesian citizens who work in Malaysia to school. The teachers and its curriculum come from Indonesia. The government hoped that Indonesian citizens who are temporarily residing in Malaysia can go to school in the Indonesian way by the school’s operation, and their national identity is maintained.

Even though the relationship between the two states runs well through the diplomacy carried out, author found data that there are still several problems in diplomacy carried out by Indonesia. Some of the obstacles include the first, coordination or negotiators who must have experience and understanding and not change people. There are differences in the understanding of the border issues in each region by negotiators.

In some regions, the representatives may change, while some have remained the same person for 30 years in other regions. So, mastery of border issues in the area will differ depending on each person’s experience or knowledge. This condition makes it challenging to achieve diplomacy results where diplomacy itself has continued as long as this country has existed.

Second, related to coordination, the National Border Management Agency (BNPP) role was still not optimal. Author also found this fact from several sources, both from central agencies and observers, and secondary data findings that agreed that the coordination carried out by BNPP was still not optimal.

In some cases, there was still overlapping between related ministries or agencies. In the implementation of diplomacy, each border area divided into any vocal points, such as in the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border, there will be more roles for the Ministry of Defense or the TNI. Interviewee acknowledged that although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was involved in it, it did not take too many roles. This condition shows that the border area is still being fought over and is not part of the country it wants to fight. The existence of sectoral egos of each agency shows that Indonesia at the central and regional levels is still not stable regarding the concept of borders itself.

The third is the environmental factor in which Indonesia located. The Asia Pacific region has a unique character. The results of interviews by author with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that as conveyed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the era of the United Indonesia Cabinet Volume 2, Marty Natalegawa, in a 2014 press statement that there were three characteristics of states in the Asia Pacific region, namely: 1) territorial overlapping claims, 2) deficit of trust, 3) geo- political and geo-economic changes. Regional conditions that tend to be accustomed to territorial claims and distrust of surrounding countries make relations between neighbouring countries in the Asia Pacific tend to be disharmonious.

This statement is supporting several factors mentioned. Secondary data search results show that the Asia Pacific region has many border claim problems. For example, in the South China Sea, North Korea-South Korea border, Japan and China sea borders, India and Pakistan borders, in Southeast Asia itself Cambodia and Thailand including often in conflict because of borders Indonesia and Malaysia which have problems with demarcation.

The author also found criticism from the article of Riwanto Tirtosudarmo who assessed that the efforts made by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in his foreign policy tended to be imaging. His article in The Jakarta Post mentioned that President Yudhoyono cares about his public image (Tirtosudarmo, 2013). He raised two moments concerning Yudhoyono’s public image, namely the moment of Indonesia’s membership in the G20 and the awarding of several honorary doctor degrees to President Yudhoyono (Tirtosudarmo, 2013).

Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

Author argue that this criticism arises because there is a gap between what Indonesia has gained in the eyes of the international community and domestic achievements. Many other criticisms that the author found were from news online and printed from the media, observers, and the public regarding the development and administration of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the 2009-2014 era. If we relate to Malaysia’s diplomacy case related to the border, it implied that diplomacy means looked smooth when SBY spoke with Najib Razak. However, at a more technical level, diplomacy is in place. This fact shows that Indonesia’s diplomatic efforts in supporting border security have not maximally implemented.

Although I cannot deny that transnational crimes also still occur, this paper found an improvement in security quality from illegal activities at the border. However, there were still some obstacles, such as poor coordination and an image of foreign policy that is not comparable to domestic development. The author found the obstacles found in the diplomacy aspects of Indonesia and Malaysia related to borders.

Political Nationalism Means

The second effort made by Indonesia is to do political nationalism. Some of my findings indicate that to re-enhance Indonesia’s national identity among border communities, it is necessary to take concrete actions to demonstrate the state’s presence there. Only then the national identity will improve again by strengthening the national insight. The achievements made in the efforts of political nationalism carried out by Indonesia from two ways. First, nationalism in the context of defending the country is maintained. Second, the improvement of physical development impacted the welfare of border communities.

Political nationalism efforts that have been carried out by Indonesia carried out through two activities. The first is to ensure that the state is present in the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border area. This first phase of efforts includes infrastructure development and increasing welfare. This first attempt is crucial because the state has been considered to have neglected border communities so far. This first effort was the initial key to proving to the community that the state was present and committed to developing border areas. The ultimate goal is to regain the people’s trust at the West Kalimantan- Sarawak border.

In the second effort, education and empowerment carried out for the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border community. Education and empowerment involved various actors, such as ministries, soldiers, local governments. These sectors related to the insight of nationality and state identity will affect the nationalism of society. Indonesia feels this is important to maintain and increase public nationalism. However, this second attempt strongly influenced by the first effort aimed at improving infrastructure and welfare. If people do not trust their country, then education and empowerment program will be in vain.

In the context to increase nationalism through social activities, the TNI, especially the Security Task Force for Infantry Battalion 305 Skeleton/Kujang I have conducted several activities at the border. These activities categorized into several aspects, including education, health, and regional development (Dominique, 2012). The means carried out as a form of attention from government officials to communities on the border. The government hoped this concrete action would give the people a sense of attention and considered an Indonesian citizen. The ultimate goal is an increased sense of nationalism.

The big question that has been a problem in developing the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border area was the state’s lack of attention. One of the Indonesian Army’s efforts was an excellent step to show that the state is present in the community. The secondary data showed improved attention through the Indonesian Army’s real actions as part of the state. Activities aimed directly at the community are added value in attracting people’s attention. As previously explained, the community has been bored with the promises of development, but those at the border are more willing to get activities that can directly benefit them.

Apart from the Army, several parts of the Indonesian sub-states also play a role in political nationalism. According to author, some involved were the National Border Management Agency, the Ministry of Home Affairs through the Directorate General of National Unity and Politics, and the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Another party involved in political nationalism efforts in Indonesia is the National Border Management Agency (BNPP). This agency is explicitly the coordinator of all agencies related to borders. Some of the programs implemented are compiling the grand design of the border area. BNPP also budgeted physical development programs in border areas. Specifically for developing border areas, BNPP determines priority locations per year from the most underdeveloped.

The problem of coordination is one of the problems that author often find from the interviews’ results. The coordination problem that the author found related to BNPP is regarding the leading sector of Indonesia’s policy. Before 2010, the debate over who was the leading sector for border affairs was relatively high. Until 2014, this coordination problem still felt because there were quite many parties


Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies

related to the Indonesia-Malaysia border problem. This body is also only coordinative, so it is like just a meeting leader and designer. However, the implementation depended on specialized agencies.

The results of the secondary data found that there was a program from BNPP that aims explicitly to carry out political nationalism. The program was the Boundary Guard (Garda Perbatasan) program. The Boundary Guard formed to increase the spirit of nationalism and development in the state’s border areas. This activity was initiated in 2011 by involving around 300 figures consisting of village leaders, traditional or religious leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, and educators (Elyas, 2011). The activities carried out were preceded by debriefing and technical training. This activity involved the border areas’ people to give a more practical effect than Jakarta officials who visit the regions.

The problem of nationalism requires efforts in the short term but needs to adequately manage so that the spirit to know and love their nation is not lost, especially for the younger generation who did not share the moments of the struggle for independence. It is necessary to make maximum efforts in reaching the people of the West Kalimantan-Sarawak border in response to the problem of nationalism caused by the economic dependence factor with Malaysia.

Based on interviews with representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, we found several efforts made by the ministry. The efforts of political nationalism included the first is to include the teaching of national insight, which includes the Indonesian language, Indonesian history, Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution into the school curriculum. The Ministry of Education and Culture as an agency at the national level makes efforts to prepare a technically implemented curriculum by the local government. These efforts carried out continuously, and their implementation was also supervised, especially in border areas.

The Ministry of Education and Culture helped to established schools in the Indonesian labour camps in Sarawak. This effort was one of maintaining the national identity program for citizens who are migrating to neighbouring countries. This effort discussed in Indonesia’s diplomacy with Malaysia. The result was Indonesia granted permission to build schools for Indonesian citizens in Malaysia. Besides, the Ministry of Education and Culture was also making efforts to improve teaching and learning support facilities by building schools in border areas and providing electronic textbooks to make it easier for teachers and students to learn.

Author also found several other efforts made by the Ministry of Home Affairs, particularly the Directorate General of National Unity and Politics. Some of the efforts for political nationalism carried out by making National Insights Education Guidelines (PPWK) and the Pancasila Module as the basis of the State and Indonesian Ideology, socializing Pancasila in universities, facilitating the strengthening of nationalism values, implementing cross-regional national communication forums and exploring the archipelago.

Although the informants admitted that there was no overlapping, coordination between ministries was a classic problem that author often find in every interview. Even the existence of a national agency still cannot boost the coordination between agencies related to borders. Meetings between ministries that take up time are one of the obstacles in themselves. My findings indicated that there were obstacles when gathering several agencies at one negotiating table in discussing borders.

Also, coordination between the central and regional governments often finds confusion regarding the division of tasks and authorities in dealing with border areas. There was an impression that the national government program's success depended on the local government's performance. Meanwhile, from the local government point of view, their work step's success depends on the program design and the national budget.

This condition created a void of activity that each party is waiting to act on the border. Meanwhile, the people on the border could not wait long. Those on the border need immediate improvement in economic conditions and physical development. Author found that each agency also took refuge in the rules of authority. If that is not part of their authority, then it is not their responsibility. Several central ministries that the author visited and interviewed stated that they act as facilitators at the national level. As already stated, they also depend on implementation at the regional level.

Efforts to political nationalism also supported by increased facilities carried out by the Indonesian government. The Indonesian government undertakes political nationalism efforts by also carrying out physical development. The purpose of physical development is to give attention and show the state's presence, which has been questioned by the community. Through its presence in the community through several physical development activities, people feel loved and appreciated again as Indonesian citizens. According to the author, this activity was beneficial in efforts to political nationalism through educational aspects.

The government should be able to involve the community in every effort it makes. It will allow the community to participate in development and to feel the state appreciated them. For example, the government can collaborate with entrepreneurs and oil palm plantation managers in developing border areas. Therefore, the sense of belonging to the nation can improve by involving the community in protecting the country.

Indonesia’s Strategies in Dealing with Nationalism Problems of Border Societies IV. CONCLUSION

Indonesia's means to overcome the shifting of nationalism in Indonesian society on the border between West Kalimantan and Sarawak in 2009-2014 carried out through several policies. There are two main categories of activities to handle societal security issues: border security and political nationalism. The aspect of border security carried out with the support of diplomatic efforts towards Malaysia. Security carried out to protect the territorial aspects of the state. Political nationalism efforts carried out by both the central and local governments in Indonesia. Political nationalism efforts carried out with two main activities: Indonesia undertaking physical development and providing assistance to border communities as a form of state presence, performing educational activities and fostering nationalism in border communities.

However, the results achieved not maximized in improving the welfare and nationalism of border communities. The obstacles faced include problems of coordination and vertical and horizontal communication, budget, human resources, and less than optimal government commitment and attention. This condition has led to the problem of border community nationalism which not thoroughly improved.


Author would like to salute my supervisor Prof. Dr. Arry Bainus, M.A. and Dr. R. Abdul Musyawardi Chalid, M.Si. for their supervision on the research. Gratitude also delivered to my family and colleagues who give their support on this writing.


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