Universitas Indonesia Conferences, 7th International Symposium of Journal Antropologi Indonesia

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The Potential of Disintegration and the Spirit of Nationalism for People of Natuna Regency
Budiana Setiawan

Building: Soegondo Building
Room: 709
Date: 2019-07-25 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Last modified: 2019-06-21


Natuna Regency in Riau Islands Province is one of the outer islands of the Republic of Indonesia. So, it is considered to have potential for disintegration. Even more, Malaysia has contested Indonesian ownership of Natuna Islands by reason of geographical and history proximity. Historically, Natuna Islands were once part of the Johor Sultanate since 1597. Geographically, the Natuna Islands are closer to Malaysia than the rest of Indonesia.  As a result, economic, social and cultural interaction of Natuna people is more oriented to Malaysia

Even though the Natuna Islands are economically, and socio-culturally closer to Malaysia, it has not caused the spirit of Indonesian nationalism to diminish and make the Natuna people desire join Malaysia. This is due to Natuna people's perspective upon Indonesia. They assume Indonesia is a large country with a wider area and larger population than Malaysia.

National inclusion of Natuna people requires examining both citizenship and ethnicity. In regard to the former, Natuna people are part of the citizenry of the Republic of Indonesia. In regard to the latter, most of Natuna people are Malays, an ethnic group spread across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. The spirit of nationalism of Natuna people is quite solid, although their ethnic ties are not restricted to one country only.

Nevertheless, if the Government of The Republic of Indonesia does not pay attention to Natuna people’s welfare, such that they are left behind other regions, the potential for disintegration can be increased, constituting a threat to the territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia. Therefore, the government has recently made efforts to develop Natuna Regency. There are five ministries that have priority to deal with development in Natuna Regency, namely: Fisheries and Marine Affairs, Defense and Security, Tourism, Forestry and Environment, and Energy and Mineral Resources.