Sending the wrong message

Then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew scattering flower petals on the graves of Indonesian marines Osman Mohamed Ali and Harun Said, in Kalibata, South Jakarta, in May 1973. The two men had been charged with the MacDonald House bombing and were hanged in Changi jail in 1968.

Indonesia, as a sovereign country, owns the "naming rights" to its navy ship ("Singapore urges Jakarta not to 'reopen old wounds'"; last Friday).

The two marines who bombed MacDonald House were indeed heroes, in the sense that they forfeited their lives in the service of their country.

It was in this context that then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew sprinkled flowers on their graves in 1973.

However, I respectfully ask that Indonesia review the context and circumstances of the actions that led to the deaths of the two marines; to put it bluntly, they were caught and executed for an act of terrorism against civilian, as opposed to military, targets.

Together with the rest of their ASEAN neighbours, both Singapore and Indonesia are actively combating the scourge of terrorism in the region.

Hence, I agree with our Government's stance on the (unintended) message that naming the warship after the two marines would send, not just to the people of Singapore and Indonesia, but also to the ASEAN and global communities.

Ronnie Lee Kok Tong


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