Indonesia Declares Reog Ownership Amid Claims Made by Malaysia

Diana Mariska
Reog Ponorogo performed in Myanmar. (Photo: ANTARA FOTO/M Agung Rajasa)
Reog Ponorogo performed in Myanmar. (Photo: ANTARA FOTO/M Agung Rajasa) - Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs Muhadjir Effendy has reiterated that Reog Ponorogo originated from Indonesia, amid reports that Malaysia also claims the dance as its cultural heritage.

Minister Effendy said Reog Ponorogo has long been nationally recognized as an intangible cultural heritage, and it has also been proposed by the government to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO.

“In Indonesia, Reog Ponorogo has been acknowledged as intangible cultural heritage since 2013. And in [the last] four years, the government has completed and perfected all requirements to propose it to UNESCO,” Effendy said in a statement on Thursday, April 7.

According to the Ministry, Reog Ponorogo was officially proposed by the Indonesian government on February 18, 2022.

Previously, as reported by on Wednesday, the Coordinating Minister claimed that Malaysia also intends to register Reog Ponorogo as their cultural heritage.

He said that while it’s not fundamentally wrong for a country to claim a culture, a deep-rooted tradition and history have shown that Reog is an art from originating from East Java, especially Ponorogo.

Law No. 5/2017 on Advancement of Culture is the legal basis for the protection and preservation of cultural objects, both tangible and intangible. Effendy said the government and member of the public should intensify the effort to record and protect every cultural objects, especially since it has been mandated and regulated by the Law.

News about Malaysia’s claim of Reog Ponorogo infuriated Indonesians, who left many comments on one verified Instagram account that promotes Malaysia’s tourism and culture.

Many of them use #ReogFromIndonesia hashtag and ask the country to stop “stealing” from other country’s cultures.

“It seems like you don’t have a culture of your own,” one comment read.

Tag # reog ponorogo # indonesia heritage # intangible cultural heritage # unesco intangible cultural heritage # malaysia claims reog

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