MacDonald House blast: 3 dead, 33 injured, but bombers treated as heroes in Indonesia

THE MacDonald House bombing was the worst attack in Singapore by Indonesian saboteurs during Konfrontasi, the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation that took place from 1963 to 1966.

Indonesia's 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.

Jakarta's armed opposition led it to launch several low-level conflicts across Malaysia and Singapore during that period. In Singapore, Indonesian saboteurs set off a total of 37 bombs, the worst of which happened in Orchard Road, where MacDonald House was located.

The incident is making the headlines again because Indonesia has named a navy ship after the two men responsible for the attack.

The bombing occurred at 3.07pm on March 10, 1965, when an 11kg package of nitroglycerine planted on the mezzanine floor was set off. The explosion was so powerful that all the windows in buildings within a 100m radius were shattered.

Three people died and 33 people were injured. Mother of six Elizabeth Suzie Choo Kway Hoi - 36 and a private secretary to the manager of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank - and Juliet Goh Hwee Kuang, 23 and an only child, were killed in the blast. Victim Mohammed Yasin Kesit, 45, remained in a coma and died later in hospital, leaving a widow and eight children.

Two Indonesian marines, Osman Mohamed Ali, 25, and Harun Said, 21, were charged on March 16 over the bombing and hanged in Changi jail on Oct 17,

1968. They were conferred the status of national heroes and given a ceremonial funeral at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta.

Indonesia's aggressive policy of confrontation was formally abandoned in August 1966, though it had ended earlier in October 1965 when Sukarno was overthrown.

ONG SOR FERN