The Indonesian Confrontation
The Federation of Malaysia proposed by The Malayan Federation Prime Minister Abdul Rahman was to compose of Malaya, Singapore, and the northern Borneo colonies of Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei. These bordered Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), the president of which was Sukarno, who dreamed of bringing the British colonies along with Malaya and Singapore into a Greater Indonesia. By force if necessary. The only person who opposed the Malaysian idea apart from Sukarno was the Sultan of Brunei who hesitated. Here, in Brunei, Sukarno saw his chance and the North Kalimantan National Army rose in revolt on 8th December 1962, the Sultan requested British help and the British Government quickly sent British and Gurkha troops from their bases in Singapore by air and sea. On 16th December, the British Far Eastern Command issued a statement saying that all major centers in Brunei had been cleared of the rebels. On 19th December, Major-General Walter Walker, who had established a considerable reputation as an expert in jungle warfare during the Malayan Emergency, was appointed Commander British Forces Borneo Territories. The last of the rebels in Brunei were eliminated in May of the following year.
With the last spasms of the Brunei revolt dying, Jakarta radio broadcast a series of inflammatory statements designed to increase tension in Borneo. On 20th January 1963, The Indonesian Foreign Minister, Doctor Sabandrio, announced a policy of confrontation towards Malaya 'because at present they represent themselves as accomplices of neo-colonist and neo-imperialist forces pursuing a policy hostile towards Indonesia'. The war of words dragged on interspersed with various attempts at reaching a political understanding, though how genuine these attempts were on the part of Indonesia is open to doubt as groups of Indonesian 'volunteers' had begun in April to infiltrate across the border into Sarawak and Sabah, where they engaged in raids, sabotage and attempted subversion.
On 27th July President Sukarno stated that 'to crush Malaysia we must launch a confrontation in all fields. We cannot talk sweetly to the imperialists.' On 16th August a Gurkha Rifles units clashed with what a British Army Spokesman at the time called 'a group of about fifty Indonesian-based terrorists'. On 16th September 1963, the Federation of Malaysia formally came into being with only Brunei opting out. Indonesia promptly broke off diplomatic relations with Malaysia. Two days later the British Embassy was burned by a mob of 10,000 in Jakarta. The pieces were in place for Britain's next jungle war.