16 March 2015
Despite happening almost fifty years ago, Konfrontasi (Confrontation) occupies a unique place in Singapore’s national memory. Why does it still matter to Singapore today?
Konfrontasi (1963-66) was a low-intensity campaign launched by Indonesia’s President Sukarno to oppose the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, which Singapore was a part of from 1963 to 1965. Although much of the conflict was fought near the Malaysian-Indonesian border in Borneo, Singapore’s security and economy suffered severely during the campaign. The most significant incident of Konfrontasi was the bombing of MacDonald House on Orchard Road by two Indonesian marines on 10 March 1965, resulting in three civilians dead and 33 others injured. The impact of that event was lingering diplomatic tensions between Singapore and Indonesia until 1973.
On 10 March 2015, a memorial to commemorate the event and Konfrontasi was inaugurated opposite MacDonald House. Yet not many Singaporeans are familiar with the details of the bombing and the larger context of Konfrontasi. How much did Konfrontasi affect Singapore and why does the conflict still resonate with Singapore today?
…Daniel Wei Boon Chua is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015