Malaysia has begun to dismantle the foundations of a lighthouse that it tried to build in disputed waters off the Kalimantan coast, the Indonesian Navy’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL) corporate communications chief Admiral Manahan Simorangkir confirmed to local media on 17 October.
Tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia emerged in May 2014 after Malaysia attempted to construct the lighthouse near Tanjung Datu, West Kalimantan, in waters claimed by both countries. Indonesia said that the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) dispatched a warship to accompany the civilian vessels involved in the construction work.
The TNI-AL had stated that it would deploy three vessels – Kakap-class offshore patrol vessel KRI Barakuda , Todak-class guided missile attack craft KRI Lemadang , and Kapitan Pattimura (Parchim I)-class corvette KRI Sutedi Senoputra – to waters off West Kalimantan as an interim measure while it established a new naval base there. It is, however, not known if these deployments occurred.
Malaysia halted work on the structure on 22 May after Jakarta lodged a formal protest.
“The dismantling shows that the Malaysians are committed to having good bilateral relations and regional peace. We would like to express our appreciation to them,” said the admiral. He added that the TNI-AL would refrain from any action that might risk unsettling matters in the area until a diplomatic solution to the dispute can be found.