Indonesia’s armed forces chief says “no apology” for warship’s name

General Moeldoko, the head of Indonesia’s Armed Forces, has clarified that he had not apologised for the naming of a warship after two Indonesian marines who had been involved in the 1965 MacDonald House bombing in Singapore.

In an earlier interview with Singapore news broadcaster Channel News Asia that aired on Tuesday night, Moeldoko seemed to have apologised for the naming of the warship.

However, speaking to Indonesian media on Thursday, the military chief said he had only been expressing his regret that the naming of the warship was a final decision and would not be changed.

“Saying sorry that the naming of the Usman Harun is our final decision, does not mean saying sorry. If things are twisted, that’s normal for reporters,” he was quoted by local media, adding, “There was no apology. What I meant was: ‘Sorry, the naming of the Usman Harun is our final decision’.”

During the interview with Channel News Asia, Moeldoko had said, “Once again I apologise. We have no ill-intent whatsoever to stir emotions. Not at all. Second, relations between the two countries are on the mend. There’ve been communications among leaders. Singapore’s Chief of Defence and I have spoken."

Local newspaper TODAY reported that Moeldoko had posted a link to the Channle News Asia interview on his Facebook page, after the interview was aired. However, netizens had a mixed reaction to the interview, with some Indonesians questioned why he had apologised. The post has since been removed from his Facebook page.

In February, the Indonesian navy named a new warship, KRI Usman Harun, after the two marined who had bombed MacDonald House, Usman Mohamed Ali and Harun Said.

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