Outgoing British Ambassador to Indonesia Moazzam Malik, who is leaving Jakarta on Friday, has said that he wants to continue promoting Indonesia in the United Kingdom.
Malik, who has gained popularity in the Indonesian Twitter community because of his fluent Indonesian language skills, pledged that he would champion Indonesia’s role as “the heart of the Asian century […] that will become among top 10 economies in the next 10 years”.
“As I conclude my role as the UK Ambassador to Indonesia, I hope to be Indonesia’s new informal ambassador in the UK,” he remarked during his speech at a celebration of the 93rd birthday of British Queen Elizabeth II in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The diplomat took a moment in his speech to recall the meaningful experiences he had amassed during his four years in Indonesia, including his visit to the 93-year-old Gontor Islamic boarding school in Ponorogo, East Java, as well as his virtual sing-along of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – the anthem of the Liverpool Football Club, of which he is a fan – with fellow fans in Surabaya, East Java, and Jakarta during live screenings of the 2019 Champions League Final.
Malik described Indonesia as a country that is “unique for having [been] born diverse […] with the potential to inspire communities around the world”, and later jokingly told reporters that he could not possibly take away the position of Rizal Sukma, Indonesia’s current Ambassador to the UK.
Even so, he said he believed Indonesia needed friends abroad to tell others about the lively dynamics of an archipelago with ethnic and religious diversities, as well as its potential and successes.
“And so, I will advocate for Indonesia in whatever I do. If people say, ‘I want to go on holidays,’ I will say, ‘Go to Indonesia!’ If they want to do business I will say, ‘Go to Indonesia’. If they say, ‘I want to go somewhere interesting to study,’ I will say, ‘Well, go check out Indonesia’,” he told a lively audience.
Commenting on 70 years of UK-Indonesia diplomatic relations this year, which was celebrated with various events both in Indonesia and the UK, Malik noted how the two partners had managed to strengthen the connection between its peoples, educational institutions and business communities.
“Trade volume over the last five years, in particular, had gone up by 20 percent. The number of Indonesians studying in UK universities has doubled. There are more UK tourists coming to Indonesia – almost 400,000,” he said.
Citing estimates by the British Chamber of Commerce, he said some 1 million Indonesian jobs were being sustained by British businesses and investors in the country.
“But there is so much more that we still have to do, so much more potential to get our partnership to the level that the UK currently enjoys with other Asian giants like China and India,” he added.
Malik, who is a politician by trade, is set to return to London after taking some overdue time off in Turkey with his family. He has hinted a possible return to UK politics.