13 February 2014
Following the flap over Indonesia’s decision to name a corvette after two marines who carried out a bomb attack in Singapore during Confrontation, Jakarta needs to make a gesture that it still values the bilateral relationship with its smaller neighbour. How can such a gesture be done so that the issue can be resolved?
IN OCTOBER 1968, two Indonesian marines were executed for detonating a bomb in McDonald House along Orchard Road three years earlier, leading to the deaths of three people and injuring 33 others. Their appeal to the Privy Council was rejected. Before their execution, the two marines, Usman Mohammad Ali and Harun Said, had asked to see the families of the victims and sought their forgiveness.
Indonesia was in Confrontation against the formation of Malaysia of which Singapore was a part before it became an independent republic in 1965. Sukarno, who saw the incipient Federation of Malaysia as a post-colonial “stooge” of the British, embarked on Konfrontasi and had an arrogant attitude towards Singapore.
… Associate Professor Leonard C. Sebastian is Coordinator of the Indonesia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online
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