Indonesia opposed formation of M'sia

A bomb explosion killed two office girls in the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank building known as Macdonald House in Orchard Road here this afternoon.

Konfrontasi, or Confrontation, was declared on Jan 20, 1963.

Indonesian President Sukarno, who had opposed the formation of Malaysia, which included Singapore, hoped to demoralise its people into accepting "accommodation" with Indonesia as the only way to have peace.

Indonesians were instructed to sabotage important installations and public utilities such as the Pasir Panjang Power Station, petroleum refineries in Singapore, the main water pipeline from Johor to Singapore, bridges and military installations.

When the Federation of Malaysia became official in September 1963, Indonesia broke off diplomatic relations.

After that, Indonesian saboteurs caused at least 42 explosions in Singapore, including at the water pipeline, Istana, Raffles Hotel, the Royal Air Force's Changi base, schools and houses.

Seven people were killed and more than 50 injured in the blasts.

Monday marked the anniversary of the 1965 explosion at the 10-storey Hongkong and Shanghai Bank Building, also known as MacDonald House, at Orchard Road.

At 3.07pm that day, an 11kg bomb ripped through the building, killing three civilians and injuring 33 others. The bombing was the worst attack in Singapore by Indonesian saboteurs.

The three who died were: Mrs Elizabeth (Suzie) Choo Kay Hoi, 36, private secretary to the manager of Hongkong and Shanghai Bank. She left behind six children, then aged 12 to 20.

Miss Juliet Goh Hwee Kuang, 23, assistant secretary to the manager. She and Mrs Choo were working on the mezzanine floor when the bomb went off.

Mr Mohammed Yasin Kesit, 45, driver for the Malaya Borneo Building Society. While the women were killed on the spot, he died two days later from his injuries.

CAUGHT

Two Indonesians, Osman Haji Mohamed Ali and Harun Said, were caught while stranded in Malaysian waters, where they claimed to be fishermen.

They were charged with the murder of the three victims.

But during the 13-day trial, they claimed to be marine commandos and sought to be treated as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.

Justice Frederick Arthur Chua ruled that they were not entitled to the privilege as they had pretended to be civilians. He called their act "cowardly" in sentencing them to death on Oct 20, 1965.

After two unsuccessful appeals, they were hanged on Oct 17, 1968.

On Aug 11, 1966, Konfrontasi formally ended with the signing of a peace agreement between Malaysia and Indonesia. Konfrontasi (Confrontation)

Konftontasi:

WHEN

1963 to 1966

WHO

Carried out by Indonesia as it opposed the formation of Malaysia (which then included Singapore).

HOW

Armed Indonesian incursions into Malaysia and bombings in Singapore, which included MacDonald House.

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Victims of MacDonald House bombing