Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed his Javanese heritage on Thursday in Yogyakarta during his state visit.
He said he had Javanese blood as his paternal grandparents originally came from Kulonprogo in Yogyakarta.
“I am coming home,” Zahid told The Jakarta Post, adding that he would be staying in Yogyakarta for two days with his wife, having attended the Jakarta International Defense Dialogue (JIDD) on Wednesday.
While in Yogyakarta, Zahid plans to meet relatives including Yogyakarta Mayor Haryadi Suyuti and friends including the Yogyakarta sultan’s brother, GBPH Joyokusumo, as well as visiting the royal cemetery in Imogiri, Bantul.
Zahid said that his grandparents moved from Kulonprogo to Malaysia in 1932, while his mother’s grandfather had come from Ponorogo, East Java, and later married a Malaysian woman. He added that the fact that he had Indonesian blood made it easier to handle political disputes with the Indonesian government.
“Complications can be solved because of this closeness,” said Zahid, who was previously Malaysian deputy tourism minister.
Among the Indonesia-Malaysia issues that he was attempting to resolve included problems relating to Indonesian migrant workers working in Malaysia and the dispute over the Ambalat sea block.