Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reply to Media Queries on Indonesian Defence Officials Pulling Out of Singapore Airshow


In response to media queries on Indonesian Defence Officials Pulling out of Singapore Airshow, the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) issued the following reply this evening:

"MINDEF has been informed that Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces GEN Moeldoko, Indonesia Deputy Defence Minister LG (Ret) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Chief of Staff, Indonesian Army GEN Budiman and Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force ACM Ida Bagus Putu Dunia have decided not to attend the Singapore Airshow. On the Indonesian Air Force's Jupiter Aerobatic Team, the Indonesian Air Force has not informed us of any changes to their participation."
Colonel Kenneth Liow
Director Public Affairs
Ministry of Defence
9 February 2014, 2200 hrs


Anonymous said...

The next piece of trash we throw out will go to the PAF.

Anonymous said...

It is clear now ... who is the Boss in this issue .... Hahahaha

Anonymous said...

It's not clear whether the Indonesian brass chose not to attend or that Singapore's invitation was rescinded, especially when one reads CNA news. The title says one but the news tells a slightly different story.

Why doesn't Singaporean press just say outright the government has rescinded and let the Indonesians report it? Now is not the time to play coy, isn't it?


IndonesiaMostHandsomeMan said...

Very silly argument over a ship's name must not be over blown.

Indonesia show correct move to keep Outer space aerobatic team in the Airshow.

After wayang, everyone OK.

Past is past. we must look to future together.

MrUmar said...


Why you want to throw out Pakistan Air Force?

Pakistan is friendly to Singapore

Anonymous said...

he means Philipines lah.

MrUmar said...

They have an air force?

Anonymous said...

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces have rescinded an invitation to the chief of staff of the Indonesian Navy and to a group of junior officers from the Indonesian Armed Forces.

The invitation was to a dialogue which was to have taken place at the Singapore Airshow, which officially starts on Tuesday.

When contacted, Singapore's Defence Ministry on Sunday evening did not deny this latest development.

A spokesman for the ministry also added that MINDEF has been informed that the commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces, Indonesia’s deputy defence minister, as well as the chiefs of staff of the Indonesian Army and Air Force - have decided not to attend the event.

But there has been no word on any changes to the participation of the Indonesian Air Force Jupiter Aerobatic Team.

Earlier, the Indonesian media had reported that invitations to top brass in the country's military had been withdrawn.

An Indonesian defence ministry spokesman told the Indonesian media that the cancellation is connected to Indonesia's decision to name a naval warship after two men who carried out a bomb attack on MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965.

The decision to name the ship after the bombers sparked off a row between the two countries last week, with Singapore leaders calling the bombing a wrong and grievous attack on civilians in Singapore.

Several Singapore leaders have asked Jakarta to show greater sensitivity towards the feelings of the victims of the bombing and their families.

Anonymous said...

Come on MINDEF and Straits Times, did they pull out or were their invitations cancelled? There is a lot of BS and smoke screen in the reporting...

Anonymous said...

Testy times. i feel that maybe both Indon and SG have more in common than we thought?

My late maternal grand mother's grand mother was a "Medanese". At that time there was no Indonesian nation state. Inter-marriage between indon bumi and Chinese "immigrant" took place ...

The "indonesian" genes were expressed in my 2nd uncle - dark complexion and sharp features ( he really look a bit like Wiranto lol) and also my mom - her childhood photo also showed her to be tanned with facial features always gave people the impression that she is "Malay" (i like to tease haha).

i believe our countries relationship goes deeper than what we know (because we have forgotten?)with new citizens and younger generations of Singaporeans as well as Indonesians, these will be the future leaders of both countries.

i want to believe our relationship has multi-dimensions and can withstand the current storm in a cup.

Unknown said...

cant deny that the media is trying to portray that it was indo who took the initiative to pull out when it could be sg "dis-inviting" them.

Anonymous said...

Why do we bother helping those ingrates everytime a natural disaster hits them?

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Can you elaborate more detail:

-Singapore Cancel the invitation to indonesia Officer?


-Indonesian officer choose not to attend the invitation.

It is very different situation specially this moment.

indonesiaforever said...

stupid singapore!

Anonymous said...

It is correct& totally in the best interest of SG that we have taken this course of actions with Indonesia.

Both countries shud move on after this incident.

WRT to HADR for Indonesia, SAF shud continue to do so for two reasons - continued rapport with Indonesian armed forces and also exercising our expeditionary capabilities

Anonymous said...

What do you mean move on?
Who create this messy?
Who start to complaint other Navy Ship Name? Have you ever heard other country so kaypoh like this before?

Singapore so lucky with Soeharto as corrupt leader before.
What happened in the future SIngapore? it will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean move on?
Who create this messy?
Who start to complaint other Navy Ship Name? Have you ever heard other country so kaypoh like this before?

Singapore so lucky with Soeharto as corrupt leader before.
What happened in the future SIngapore? it will be interesting.

TanHooTek said...

Why name ship after two failures? Got no better hero ah?

Anonymous said...

That's all you can do???
Singapore got no balls!
Please keep using the name of our honorable warrior on the vessel!

Anonymous said...

Agree with Tan Hoo Tek.

McDonald house operation was a complete utter fiasco for Indonesia. Marines look like kaku.

Kill 3 innocent civilians, and get caught.

If they want to commemorate this event, let them. Why do we have to be so sensitive?

Better to have a good laugh about it.Dunno why they are getting so riled up honestly.

Anonymous said...

Just bomb Indonesia can already la. Everytime Indonesia faces deserved natural disaster (rightfully so) we helped them with disaster reliefs and such, and this is how they repay us?

sukarno is a loser.

Anonymous said...

No wonder indonesia always get hit by natural disasters. Even God hates that fucked up country.

Anonymous said...


At the end of last year, a mini furore was unleashed when secret documents were unveiled to show that Singapore was helping the US and Australia spy on its neighbour, Indonesia. It was not improbable that a major fall-out would occur however, Indonesia, being gracious and perhaps not wanting to upset inter-country ties, did try to smooth over the incident. It took steps to verify the reports, seek clarification from its trusted neighbour, Singapore, and in his remarks, Dr Yudhoyono referred to Singapore and South Korea as “friends”, noting that the allegations of their involvement in monitoring undersea communications were not specific to Indonesia, but in Asia. And so, that was the end of the sorry saga as far as we know.

The recent incident of Indonesia naming its refitted frigate after two dead marines is leading up to a different outcome. The duo were members of Indonesia’s special Operations Corps Command, which is today the Marine Corps, and had been ordered to infiltrate Singapore during Indonesia’s Confrontation with Malaysia at that time when the then-president Sukarno had opposed the formation of Malaysia, which Singapore was part of from September 1963 to August 1965, as a puppet state of the British.

The bombing claimed the lives of three people and injured 33 others.

Both marines were charged in court on March 16 for the bombing and ordered to be hung. Despite President Suharto’s personal request on 11 October 1968 that the sentence either be commuted to life imprisonment or at least be delayed the convicted marines were hung in Changi Jail on Oct 17, 1968. Giving in to Sukarno’s request could perhaps be seen as allowing Indonesia to violate Singapore’s sovereignty.

To repair ties, then-Singapore-PM Lee Kuan Yew laid flowers on the graves of the two marines in Jakarta saying “There should not be any more problems over this issue.”

Anonymous said...

Today, Indonesia exercised its sovereign powers to name its own Navy ship after their own heroes. Their heroes are not our heroes, their ships are not ours. While we could voice our concern and explain our sentiments, we cannot impose these on our neighbour. Doing so would be to intervene with Indonesia’s sovereignty.

We have said our piece, let them make their own decisions. Instead, Singapore’s 2nd Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing decided to cancel a planned meeting with his Indonesia counterpart deputy defence minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin scheduled to be held on 11 Feb, Tuesday, taking this altercation to the next level. This smacks of nothing short of throwing a temper tantrum because it cannot get in own ways in its neighbour’s affairs.

I am not arguing whether Indonesia was right or wrong in choosing to name its refitted frigate after their two dead marines. I definitely acknowledge Singapore’s rights to voice its concerns. Yet, is it right for Singapore to insist? Would it allow another country to impinge on its own rights to run its country its own way? For crying out loud, Singapore rejected the UN’s call to set up an independent electoral commission to ensure fairness and as observance of true democracy:

Singapore’s first human rights review by the United Nations has officially concluded, with the Government agreeing to ratify UN Conventions on issues like the rights of disabled persons.

However, it rejected calls from member countries in the UN to establish bodies such as a human rights institution and an independent electoral commission locally, arguing that they are not necessary.

It also rejected suggestions to establish a body to monitor child rights, as well as to implement UN rules on the treatment of women prisoners.

Interestingly, the Jakarta Post wrote a scathing report on the insensitivity of Indonesia’s ship-naming decision (MSM REPORTS INDONESIA "PULLED OUT" OF AIRSHOW WHILE INDONESIAN NEWS SAYS THEY WERE 'UNINVITED') and called it “scoring a few political points” in an election year while the Singapore media was silent on any such reflective reporting.

It is not untenable that the PAP is trying to create a perception of instability in the country so as to score its own political points and harness its often-used scare tactics to steer the citizenry to vote for the PAP once again in the coming election. No doubt the PAP government will sing the familiar tune of region instability, need to protect Singapore’s sovereignty, our neighbours are all hostile and scary and how small and vulnerable we are. These all despite the abrasive leadership the PAP has been providing in the last 50 years.

Lee Kuan Yew once said it’s all about perception…marketing. Well, they’ve used this many times, if not in every, election.

voranoth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
voranoth said...

I personally feel this issue will continue to be Indonesia's bugbear so long as the ship is in service.
It gives "ammunition" for political and economic opponents of Indonesia in future debates.

This naming should have never been done. I am not saying either country is right, but in this globalised world, neither country can do without each other.

A quick look at Indonesia in the CIA World Factbook, list Singapore as Indonesia's third and second largest partner for Export and Import respectively


Thus I reckon its best we all act with sensitivity and tolerance

Having asked my Indonesian colleagues about this issue here in Singapore, they feel its all rather silly as the naming had been done to strike up patriotic feelings and score political points before the coming elections.

Its definitely a calculated move on the Indonesian goverment part.

Anonymous said...

S’pore fighter jets trespass
RI airspace: official

Officials at Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam, Riau Islands, say they detected several Singapore Air Force fighter jets trespassing in Indonesian airspace.

The airport’s flight safety head, Indah Irwansyah, said several unidentified aircraft were tracked flying over Batam.

According to the report, the aircraft had come from Singapore and had flown through Sekupang district airspace toward Nipah Island.

"According to intelligence from the Indonesian Air Force and Indonesian Navy, the aircraft could be of the F-16 or F-4 type. We suspect they are from the Singaporean military,” Indah said on Saturday.

Nipah Island has long been on Singapore’s radar as it lies on the border between Batam and Singapore.

Indah said foreign militaries should notify the authorities of such flight activities, notification of which would then be given to local airport officials who would in turn inform commercial carriers.

"We weren’t notified and there was no official statement published in advance," said Indah.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto, who at the time was in Batam, was made aware of the incident but refused to comment.

Unknown said...

if sg really did cancel their invite to indo and ordered planes to trespass into indo airspace, it is likely that sg have assessed that indo wouldnt rename their ship - which is exactly what the indon politicians have said.

these acts accomplish nothing but cement indo resolve to not change the name of the ships if it is already not cemented.

therefore, since indo have decided, sg cant possibly not do anything lest she is perceived to be weak.

it is going to be a few months if not years this will remain a thorny issue in bilat r/s with both countries.

Everyone lose, but the credibility of ASEAN loses the most.

Unknown said...

and the credibility of ASEAN is esp impt in this time as ASEAN try to be united in the south china sea row of which i think Indo have not lay any claims on.

David Boey said...

Dear Charlton,
The report is inaccurate. RI officials subsequently backpeddled on the RSAF intrusion claim.

Dear Anon 9:05 AM,
re: Invitations. The TNI navy official had his invitation rescinded.

The other TNI defence officials could attend the Singapore Airshow but decided to uninvite themselves. This explains the stories which reported that the Indonesian military had pulled out of the airshow.

It is not business as usual.

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

Anon 5th feb 5:33

Are you naive enough to believe that Indonesia does not spy on it's neighbours as well? That every country spies on one another? Are you foolish enough to think that Indonesia has some kind of abang/adik relationship with everyone in the region? It's common knowledge that Indonesia is a huge belligerent party. Who coined the term just " a little red dot"? Don't be an blind agitator...

Anonymous said...

Indonesia's Armed Forces commander says the decision to name its new frigate after the two marines behind a 1965 bombing in Singapore was agreed upon over a year ago.

"We agreed on the name on 12 December 2012, after long discussions. There is no correlation with recent developments," General Moeldoko told reporters in Parliament on Monday.

"The naming is not intended to stir emotions. We did not think of that," he added.

Gen Moeldoko's comments came amid speculation that Indonesia's decision to name the ship KRI Usman Harun - after marines Osman Mohamed Ali and Harun Said - was deliberate, or timed near upcoming elections.

The name was only publicised more widely this year and picked up in a Kompas report on Feb 4, sparking concerns from Singapore which views the two marines as terrorists for bombing MacDonald House in Orchard Road in 1965. Three civilians were killed and 33 persons injured in the bombing.

The two marines were convicted and hanged in Singapore in 1968. Indonesia later gave them a full military funeral.

Gen Moeldoko said Indonesia viewed these men differently.

"Osman and Harun are Indonesian marines who have been named national heroes," he said.

"I cannot accept them as terrorists. They are state actors," he added.

He also said others had a right to take issue with the ship's name, but stressed that Indonesia would not change its decision.

The bombing of MacDonald House was the worst of 42 explosions in Singapore by Indonesian saboteurs during Konfrontasi, the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation that lasted from 1963 to 1966.

Then-President Sukarno had opposed the formation of Malaysia, which had included Singapore.

Meanwhile, both Gen Moeldoko and Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro sought to downplay Singapore's cancellation of invitations for 100 Indonesian officers to the Singapore Air Show, as well as a meeting this week between Indonesia's Deputy Defence Minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin and Singapore's Second Minister for Defence Chan Chun Sing.

Gen Moeldoko and Mr Purnomo told reporters separately they did not think the ongoing row would affect bilateral relations.

"Neighbours will be there forever," Mr Purnomo said.

"They cancelled the invitation, we did not go. It's as simple as that," he said, when asked if Indonesia was offended.

"Let's not make it complicated."

Anonymous said...

Cooler heads need to prevail. Any cranking up of tension is detrimental to both countries beyond this point.
GEN Moeldoko sounded like he wants this issue not to spiral out of control and both countries to move on. And we should.
I am more worried our MIW, bunch of scholars with no international experience (and no real military experience aside from war games), uncontrolled testosterone, may push this over the threshold.
In future, just find some excuse not to allow KRI Usman Harun in future military exercises, port visits etc.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see whether the Singapore Government capitalizes on this episode to drum up nationalism and cultivate a sense of threat.

The sense of threat in turn comes in handy with the imminent COS debate during the annual budget debate in Parliament, which of course includes the defense budget. A telling sign can be new (and costly) items on MINDEF's shopping list.

Anyway, the seed has been planted (see

Let's not be so daft to call what others say as propaganda and blithely accept what ours say as simply facts or truths too.

Singaporean readers can love Singapore and be committed to defense, but not caught up in the spinning too.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget, Total Defence Day is this Saturday (February 15). ;)


Anonymous said...

In the world of realpolitik, countries conduct black ops, even among "civilized", "democratic", developed Nation States. No gov is foolish enough to curtail themselves by declaring they will not resort to "under-handed" tactics, all options are on the table ! This is the sad reality.

Black ops are IMMORAL ! But refer to the above why they still do. Marines are soldiers and soldiers take orders unquestioningly (some do but kena on the wanted list a.k.a a la Snowden)

The person we should go after should be the top leader, Sukarno.

But having said that, in a civilised, sophisticated Nation State, they don't openly honour their black ops operatives in such a manner, unless there is a coordinated, concerted, strategic motive behind such a move. Surely they are not stupid, so there is a motive?

So how do civilised, democratic, sophisticated nation states honour their fallen black ops operatives?

For example, some countries honour their fallen operatives by not naming them but confer a star on a place of honour for every fallen secret agent (black ops operatives). Firstly to protect their identity and also of their love ones, secondly, the nature of black ops is nothing to be glorious about but unfortunately needed in this real world and it goes against all civilised credo they stand for. Thou shall not be named.

In this case, the two operatives were caught and their identities revealed. So how?

Maybe they can still honour them despite the despicable act of killing civilians but in the world of the warriors, they have their strange morbid code of honour... so maybe since their ID is outed, they can go about putting their names on the stars on the honoured roll on the wall. Such wall honouring military back ops fallen comrades should be carried out away from public domain, preferably in the institution highest HQ complex grounds, away from public eyes, remembered and honoured among their own military fraternity.

So they openly named two frigates belonging to such a venerated institution like the Indonesian Navy, they have an ulterior motive?

Therefore it is right for Singapore to respond in kind.

We have to respond.

Anonymous said...

Aafter they refused to Change it what we will do?
Called Attache / Ambassador from Jakarta?

Cancel all of our military joint exercise?

Think of it, who will be more suffered?

From current news like this cancellation of military talks; It seems Singapore not up to their counterpart level.

Anonymous said...

We have responded - the action we took post incident, by uninviting the Navy chief is a proportionate respond.

Respond = Action and Time (duration)+ intended recipient + x.

We responded for a set duration commensurate with the matter for intended actors and the massage received by the public at large.

X = is specially reserved for these two frigates - that we are very unlikely able to conduct naval exercises with any of these two ships for the foreseeable future.

But our multi-dimensional neighbourly relationship hopefully will still carry us through on good terms and friendship.

Don't under do it or don't over do it.

We all know the Indon are unlikely to rescind the naming of the two frigates. But the world's Navy will know the names of these two frigates at every port of call.

Anonymous said...

Please do your home work.

Actually there is 3 number of Navy Vessel, not two...

It ordered by Brunei Navy from UK
But Brunei have dispute with BaE and refused to take it.

Now these ship still under modification, due to their missile.

Indonesia Navy bought it at huge discount.

They name it after their Hero
-KRI Bung Tomo
-KRI John Lie
-KRI Usman-Harun

there is good and neutral article regarding this issue.

Anonymous said...

thank you anon 10:59 AM for the link.

Anonymous said...

The link shows that civilized countries do admit their war crimes and punish their service members if guilty.

Any political analyst will agree that Indonesia is a proud country that will never admit its imperfections in any way.

Anonymous said...

Work of Fiction

Somewhere out at sea, an RSN ship ran into trouble. A search and rescue operation was mounted to locate the missing crewmen and women who fell overboard during the mishap. KRI Usman-Harun happened to be within the vicinity, they too received the SOS call put out on the maritime band. Immediately, the captain ceased the out-at-sea training and divert the frigate to help to locate the missing RSN sailors. As luck would have it, (or is it intervention of the divine kind ), The KRI frigate found the RSN crews and rescued them to safety. As coincident of all coincidence, one of the rescued sailor happened to be a blood relative to one of the victim of the 1963 MacDonald House bombing! The two marines carried out an immoral order from their past president for targeting civilians, even though they are very proud soldiers of the Indonesian Marines, somehow, maybe somewhere in the ether world they too want to reach out to ask for the victims forgiveness. They too wanted to atone for their heinous act. And so they diverted the KRI of their name sake and guided the captain of the frigate to the RSN sailors afloat at sea ... They are asking for forgiveness from the victims' families and they want to atone for their sins this time round...

They are dead but we are the living... to forgive but never to forget.

But for the time being, i agree that the KRI Usman-Harun is not welcome to our port.

Anonymous said...

Do you think KRI Usman Harun need Singapore Port?

Anonymous said...

hahahaha .. KRI Usman certainly very not need singapore port. but I am as Indonesian people are very grateful for protest from singapore. Now we have become a great nation united. and maybe someday we will have leaders who will stop all relations with Singapore. it would be very nice

Anonymous said...

??? If Indonesia goes to war, how many islands will try to break free?

Anonymous said...

It was a cinch for Lim Swee Say to uninvite Tan Cheng Bock, since both of them have roots from the same political camp. Tan may have ruffled a few feathers by going public with the insult on social media but, like the neutered Ngiam Tong Dow, he's quickly put in place. Uninviting the military top brass of the world's fourth most populous country is altogether a different exercise.

The strongest words to date on the fracas kicked up by Teo Chee Hean et al came from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). Speaking through his spokesman on foreign affairs, the message was stark and devoid of rhetoric: Singapore risks overreacting on warship issue.

Indonesia's Defence Ministry confirmed on Sunday the chain of dominoes started tumbling when Second Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing cancelled a scheduled meeting with their Deputy Defence Minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin. Slighted, Sjafrie decided to give the air show a miss.

In a demonstration of unity, Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) commander General Moeldoko, Army Chief Budiman and Air Force Chief Ida Bagus Putu Dunia also decided not to attend, although they were not uninvited. "If my men cannot go, and the commander of the TNI goes, it's not good. So no TNI officer will attend the Singapore Airshow," General Moeldoko made clear his stand in the Indonesian parliament. The Indonesian Air Force's Jupiter Aerobatic team will still take to the skies, "But we are ready to withdraw if we are not given time to do so."

General Moeldoko has also cancelled a lecture he was supposed to deliver at a Singapore university. Putting his military foot down firmly, Moeldoko said their navy would not rename the ship, "It's up to them to raise the issue but when it comes to sovereignty, there's no way."

Chan Chun Sing had spent two years in Jakarta as Singapore's Army Attache, but if he made any friends at all, none of them raised their hands in support ("keechiu"). Not too long ago he plagiarised Winston Churchill's speech to wage war on our citizenry. Now he takes cowardly cover in a mountain of weasel words, "I suggest we interact boldly, dialogue openly, network assiduously and train together professionally." Right, like the best way to open a dialogue is to cancel a scheduled meeting.

Anonymous said...

For sure, KRI Usman-Harun should not be welcomed at our port. Neither should our ships train along with it.

At the same time, we have to also ponder hard *why* the Singapore government chose to protest at this moment in time. Given the information presented in the comments and elsewhere, it's clear the plan to name the ship Usman-Harun wasn't inked last week, last month, but way long ago. It's hard to believe that the RSN, MINDEF, or the Singapore government has completely no idea that it's happening. Especially when the authorities have trumpeted their intelligence-gathering prowess.

Perhaps we as a people, should be a little less gullible. Ponder harder: Why does the Singapore government choose *now* to signal protest and take steps such as pulling out of talks and un-invite Indonesian officials? What does the government benefit or not benefit from such moves? What are the events that follow that could profit from them? Total Defence Day? How about budget debates? Drumming up nationalism in a measured way to deflect or mute attention on something else?

We have observed the Chinese government and many other governments (e.g., Japan) pulling this stunt on their people to shift attention away from issues they don't want their peoples to scrutinize too much.

Politicians are politicians, whatever color, stars, or stripes they come in. It's their job to persuade us; it's our duty as citizens to scrutinize their messages, actions, and intent. Singaporeans are citizens first and soldiers, second.

We can be committed to Singapore's defense (not the military, that's a subtle but significant difference, especially if you buy the concept of total defense), but that doesn't mean we should suspend our critical and independent thinking in the process.