Singapore opposes Indonesia naming ship after bombers: Singapore has sent a strong signal to Indonesia voicing its opposition to the naming of an Indonesian warship after the two marines who in 1965 carried out the MacDonald House bombing in Singapore that killed three people and injured 33 more.
The message was delivered through Singapore’s Foreign Minister K Shanmugam, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, all of whom have spoken to their Indonesian counterparts over the issue.
Singapore’s position is that the bombing was wrong, and that it was a grievous attack on Singaporean civilians that resulted in deaths and injuries, according to reports.
The MacDonald House bombing along Orchard Road occurred during the period of Konfrontasi, or confrontation, between Indonesia and Malaysia that started in 1962.
At the time, Indonesia was opposed to the formation of Malaysia, and Indonesian saboteurs were in the midst of a campaign of terror in Singapore.
By the time of the March 1965 MacDonald House bombing, 29 bombs had already been set off in Singapore.
The blast left a mass of rubble, shattering every window within 100 metres of the explosion. Cars near the building were also damaged.
Two Chinese and one Malay were killed, and another 33 were injured.
Within four days, the two Indonesian marines responsible for the bombing were arrested. Charged with murder, they were hanged in 1968.
After the hangings, the Singaporean embassy and consul’s residence in Indonesia were attacked, and the Singapore flag was burned.
On Thursday, Mr Teo and Dr Ng said the matter was closed in May 1973 when Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew sprinkled flowers on the two marines’ graves.
They warned the naming of the Indonesian warship after the marines would re-open old wounds among the victims and their families, and also the Singaporean public.
Singaporeans would wonder what kind of message Indonesia is trying to send.
Djoko Suyanto, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, said Indonesia had considered the issue “in a mature way”.
He said: “The Indonesian government has its rules, procedures and criteria for determining whether to honour a person as a hero. And in this area, there can be no intervention from other countries.
“The fact that there is a different perception of Indonesian government policy by other countries, in this instance, Singapore, cannot make us backtrack or be uncertain about carrying on with our policy decision and implementing it.”