Harun Said

Indonesia's armed forces chief says 'no apology' for naming of frigate

Indonesia's Armed Forces Commander, General Moeldoko, said it was incorrectly reported that he had made an apology over the naming of a navy frigate after two Indonesian marines behind a 1965 bombing in Singapore. Dr Moeldoko told reporters on Thursday that his comments, in an interview with Singapore broadcaster Channel NewsAsia aired on Tuesday, were misunderstood. "Saying sorry that the naming of the Usman Harun is our final decision, does not mean saying sorry. If things are twisted, that's normal for reporters," he said.

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INDONESIAN ARMED FORCES CHIEF APOLOGISES OVER NAMING OF WARSHIP

The Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces has apologised over the naming of an Indonesian warship after two marines who carried out the bombing of MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965. General Moeldoko told Channel NewsAsia that the Indonesian military had meant no ill-will, and had not intended to stir up emotions in Singapore. He said the episode has been a learning process, and he is confident that future ties between the two militaries would grow even stronger. General Moeldoko said: "Once again I apologise. We have no ill intent whatsoever to stir emotions. Not at all. Second, relations between the two countries are on the mend. There have been communications among leaders. Singapore's Chief of Defence and I have spoken."

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DR NG ENG HEN: INDON WARSHIP USMAN HARUN BANNED FROM SINGAPORE

Singapore will ban the Indonesian warship, named after two marines who carried out a bombing in Orchard Road, from calling at the Republic's ports or naval bases. The Singapore Armed Forces, as "protectors of this nation", will also not sail alongside or undergo training exercises with the new Indonesian navy frigate, the KRI Usman Harun, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, in response to MP Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC).

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SALIM OSMAN: THE DAYS WHEN BOMBS WENT OFF IN MY KAMPUNG

The Indonesian soldiers who infiltrated Singapore to carry out the bombings were all of Malay stock. Some could have well been relatives of Malays who had migrated to Singapore from Java. I recall the swirl of talk in the kampung then: What should the Malays do if the saboteurs came to them to seek refuge? Should we provide food and shelter, or should we surrender them to the authorities?

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SINGAPORE'S FAULT THAT THE TWO INDONESIAN MARINES WERE HAILED AS HEROES?

If Singapore had entertained the request for clemency, would the two Marines have been hailed as heroes? Especially since they were Sukarno's soldiers, not Suharto's? Would they have served out their life sentences quietly and into obscurity? We'll never know. What we do know is that this denial of amnesty set off a chain of events leading up to the names 'Osman Harun' now chosen for a naval ship.

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The Last Refuge of Scoundrels

Konfrontasi was an undeclared war. So no armies facing off against each other. The Indonesian forces basically engaged in sabotage. These acts of aggression were not the acts of open warfare but surreptitious sabotage. And in many cases including the MacDonald House bombing, the original orders for the two soldiers was to target military targets. However, the military targets were too well protected. The bank was a secondary "soft" civilian target. The objective was to foment terror. It was ultimately, an act of terrorism.

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KRI Usman Harun episode sets interesting posers for Indonesia-Singapore bilateral ties

Republic of Singapore Navy warships should politely decline any passage exercises with this vessel as joint training with her would be a flirtation with a hull that fetes saboteurs who drew civilian blood on our soil. Singapore’s warships should never come alongside that ship, be it for a heaving line transfer or courtesy call on her deck. Imagine the odd and unfortunate picture of RSN officers dining in the wardroom of that ship with portraits of their dead namesakes staring down on the assembled ranks.

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Indonesia naming ship after MacDonald House bombers

Among the innocents killed in the blast were 36 yr old Suzie Khoo, private secretary, 23 yr old Juliet Goh, filing clerk, and driver Mohammed Yasin bin Kesit, 45. I don’t remember the MacDonald House attack being mentioned in any of our history textbooks, nor any of the 37 bombs that hit us during the Sukarno led Konfrontasi. It wasn’t just public buildings being targetted. In Dec 1963, two men were killed in Sennett Estate, while another deadly bomb went off on April 1964 at a BLOCK OF HDB FLATS off Changi Road.

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Civility in the Face of External Provocation?

On learning that Indonesia had named a frigate KRI Usman Harun after the two Indonesian marines Usman Mohd Ali and Harun Said who were executed after being convicted of setting off a bomb at MacDonald House in Singapore that killed three people and injured 33 others in 1965, Singapore leaders called their Indonesian counterparts.

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MACDONALD HOUSE BOMB EXPLOSION IN SINGAPORE IN 1965

Arising from the bombing, two Indonesian marines were arrested and charged with murder. They were hanged on 17 October 1968. In retaliation, 400 agitated students in Jakarta, Indonesia, ransacked the Singapore embassy there and proceeded to attack the consul's residence and the homes of two other Singaporean diplomats. They also burnt the Singapore flag. Throughout the period of Konfrontasi, 37 bombs hit Singapore, the worst single incident being the MacDonald House bombing.

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