government has defended the decision to name a patrol vessel after national
heroes Usman bin Haji Muhammad Ali and Harun bin Said, who were executed for
the 1965 MacDonald House bombing in Singapore, saying the duo deserved the
tribute for their service to the nation.
Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto brushed off
concerns on Thursday voiced by Singapore, which stated the ship’s naming “would
have an impact on the feelings of Singaporeans, especially the families of the
“There’s no need to change [the ship’s name],”
he told The Jakarta Post.
“The Indonesian government has its own rules,
procedures and assessment criteria for determining whether to honor a person as
a hero. This cannot involve any intervention from other countries.”
Navy has decided to name one of three UK-made offshore patrol vessels KRI
Usman-Harun 359, after the two national heroes.
Usman and Harun
were members of the Navy Commando Corps (KKO AL), now the the Marine Corps,
tasked to infiltrate Singapore during the Confrontation against the newly created
Sukarno opposed the formation of Malaysia, which Singapore was part of from
September 1963 to August 1965, as a puppet state of the British.
Both marines were
convicted and executed in Singapore in 1968. Their remains were taken back to
Indonesia and former president Soeharto awarded the two national hero status
with a state funeral at Kalibata National Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta.
Usman, whose real
name was Janatin, was promoted post humously to second sergeant while Harun,
whose real name was Tohir bin Mandar, was promoted post humously to second
The other two
ships are named KRI Bung Tomo 357, after Sutomo, the leader of resistance
against the Allied forces in Surabaya, East Java, in 1945; and KRI John Lie
Lie was a
Chinese-Indonesian who was actively smuggling weapons across the Malacca Strait
to assist the Indonesian independence struggle against the Dutch. Lie later
changed his name to Jahja Daniel Dharma and ended his career in the navy with a
rank of rear admiral.
warships are expected to enter service in June pending the commissioning
process in the UK.
On Wednesday, the
Singapore Ministry for Foreign Affairs released a statement saying that Foreign
Minister K Shanmugam had spoken to Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa
“to register Singapore’s concerns over the naming of the navy ship”.
Indonesian marines were found guilty of the bombing which killed three people
and injured 33 others. Singapore had considered this difficult chapter in the
bilateral relationship closed in May 1973 when then-prime minister Lee Kuan Yew
visited and scattered flowers on the graves of the two marines,” the statement