While many might think the nation talks of nothing but elections, online media and local newspapers have been obsessed with a fairy tale that has turned into a family’s nightmare — the apparent kidnapping of their teenage daughter by her Malaysian-prince husband.
Not even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows what has happened to former model Manohara Odelia Pinot, 17, after she was whisked off in the prince’s private jet in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 26.
Teguh Wardoyo, who heads the ministry unit charged with protecting Indonesian nationals living overseas, said on Wednesday that the Malaysian government was remaining silent. “They won’t even speak to our ambassador, who has asked them to investigate the case,” Teguh said. “The fact that Manohara’s husband is a prince seems to be hampering the investigation.”
Her husband, Tengku Temenggong Muhammad Fakhry, is a prince from Kelantan State.
Manohara married Tengku in Malaysia in August 2008, but then reportedly returned to Indonesia in October complaining of domestic violence, Teguh said. She was 16 at the time of the wedding, of which her father, Reiner Pinot Noack, disapproved. She later returned to her husband.
The kidnapping allegedly occurred when the prince’s family and Manohara, her mother and sister were in Saudi Arabia for Islam’s minor pilgrimage, or umroh. Teguh said both the families were preparing to return to Malaysia. But when the prince, his family and Manohara were aboard the jet, the door was closed and the jet took off, leaving Manohara’s mother and sister behind.
Her mother, Daisy Fajarina, has since accused the husband of kidnapping Manohara. She has not heard from her daughter.
“Malaysia is a law-based country, but where is the law when they have not answered our request?” Teguh asked, adding that the ministry had tried hard to trace Manohara. “The Malaysian government has even issued a ‘visitor prohibition’ against the young lady’s mother,” he said. This was considered a sign of disrespect by Malaysia as it had cut a mother-daughter relationship.
Before marrying Tengku, Manohara was reportedly in a relationship with Adrie Bakrie, the son of Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, and had been voted one of Indonesia’s 100 Precious Women by Harper’s Bazaar fashion magazine.
Din Syamsudin, head of Islamic organization Muhammadiyah and vice chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, urged on Wednesday for Foreign Ministry and police action. “I am afraid she is in a very bad situation.”