Superyacht Equanimity’s arrival signals a reforming Asean

The Equanimity - Photograph:

Indonesia’s return of this yacht reflects the categorical duty of care that Asean leaders must demonstrate in solidarity with others in the region, writes JD Lovernciear.

So the RM1bn luxury superyacht, The Equanimity, has arrived in Malaysia. This episode signals the hope of a reforming Asean fraternity.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo deserves to be commended. Here is a leader known for his simplicity, humility and utter disgust for corruption and for doing the right thing ie ensuring that what belongs to society is returned for the good of humanity. Having met him several years ago, I came away with the conviction that this leader is real; he cares and lives by values.

As Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed appreciation, Malaysians can be proud of Indonesia’s respect for the rights of Malaysians. Indeed, Indonesia’s agreeing to send back the scandal-riddled yacht to the Malaysian government signals the start of a reforming Asean region that must uphold the fight against corruption.

Mahathir holds no vengeance. As he put it nicely, if anyone wants to reclaim the boat, all that is needed is to show proof that not a sen of the people’s money was exploited to buy it.

Indonesia’s return of this yacht reflects the categorical duty of care that Asean leaders must demonstrate in solidarity with others in the region. Only then can we see not only Malaysia or Indonesia rise but the whole of the Asean fraternity, shaping up into a force to be reckoned.

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This new regional solidarity can be a force for good as our societies grow more aware of the need to save humanity from the claws of greed, power, poverty and divisiveness.

Let Asean rise again. And let us salute both the leaders, Jokowi and Mahathir.

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I was talking to a Grab driver last week, who expressed fears of haze from Indonesia blanketing Peninsular Malaysia this August or September.

If that happens, it will show how “great” this intra-ASEAN cooperation is.