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Tunku 'opposed an attack on Indonesia'

By Bernama, The Straits Times,
Sunday 28 January 2001

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, rejected a plan which would have enabled Malaysia to wage war against Indonesia during the Confrontation with Indonesia in the early 1960s.

A former left-leaning Utusan Melayu editor-in-chief, Mr Said Zahari, claimed in his book Meniti Lautan Gelora or Crossing The Choppy Sea, that the British plan was to explode its own warship in the Straits of Malacca and blame Indonesia for the incident.

Consequently, 'Tunku Abdul Rahman would declare war on Indonesia'.

According to Mr Said, the Tunku had asked his political secretary, Mr Yap Chin Kwee, to register his rejection of the British plan because his quarrel was with Indonesian President Sukarno, and not the people of Indonesia who were his 'brothers'.

At that time, Malaysia had already severed diplomatic relations with Indonesia and was appealing for assistance from Britain, Australia and New Zealand under the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Agreement.

Mr Said claimed that he was informed by Mr Yap that the British had shown a memorandum containing their plans to the Tunku on board a British warship, which was anchored in the South China Sea during the difficult Confrontation period.

A senior officer from the warship had told the Tunku: 'We can destroy the entire strength of the Indonesian defence within a short space of time,' while showing him pictures of the Indonesian army, navy and air bases.

The Malaysian leader then directed the political secretary to note down that he totally rejected the British plan.

'Tunku Abdul Rahman certainly did not want to see the Indonesian people and country destroyed by the Western power whether because of Malaysia, the Confrontation or without Confrontation,' Mr Yap said, according to Mr Said.

After listening to the Tunku's strong stand, the British kept quiet and never mentioned the plan again.