Never Ending Brotherhood? Seeking Peace Solutions of Indonesia — Malaysia Confrontation, 1963-1966

Linda Sunarti


ABSTRACT: Confrontation events, that occurred in 1963-1966, between Indonesia against Malaysia, were a unique event. This is because the conflict at that time differs from the prevalence of conflict or war between states in general. The focus of this study is to examine the relationship between Indonesia-Malaysia during the confrontation era, 1963-1966. The main focus is the process of resolving the confrontation. This research is a qualitative study by using historical methods and structurist approaches. The resolved of conflict between the two countries was interesting, because the conflict also involved forces outside, such as Britain and the USA (United States of America), can be resolved in a short time rather than through formal meetings, but can be resolved amicably, preceded by a number of secret meetings of both parties involved directly, without going through the mediator. The results concluded that there are two factors that pushed the end of confrontation, namely: separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia in August 1965 and the 30 September 1965 movement in Indonesia. Both of these events can be said to be intertwined and become the main factor of change in the attitude of the two countries related confrontation. In addition, conflict resolution can occur due to the emergence of actors in both countries with a view to the equation could change things, which have been inhibiting and destabilizing both countries and the region as well. Another important thing is secret meetings established early in the settlement process confrontation by utilizing a network of friends and fraternity.

KEY WORDS: Brotherhood; Confrontation; Indonesia and Malaysia; British and USA; Peace Solutions.

About the Author: Dr. Linda Sunarti is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of History, Faculty of Humanities UI (University of Indonesia), UI Campus Depok, West Java, Indonesia. For academic interests, the author is able to be contacted via e-mail at:

How to cite this article? Sunarti, Linda. (2017). “Never Ending Brotherhood? Seeking Peace Solutions of Indonesia — Malaysia Confrontation, 1963-1966” in TAWARIKH: International Journal for Historical Studies, Vol.8(2) April, pp.229-242. Bandung, Indonesia: Minda Masagi Press and UIN SGD Bandung, ISSN 2085-0980.

Chronicle of the article: Accepted (August 17, 2016); Revised (December 27, 2016); and Published (April 28, 2017).


Brotherhood; Confrontation; Indonesia and Malaysia; British and USA; Peace Solutions

Full Text:



Adams, Cindy. (1965). Soekarno: An Autobiography as Told to Cindy Adams. New York: Bobbs Merril, Inc.

Agung, Ide Anak Agung Gde. (1973). Twenty Years Indonesian Foreign Policy, 1945-1965. Paris: Mouton.

Ahmad, Abdullah. (1987). Tengku Abdul Rahman dan Dasar Luar Malaysia, 1963-1970. Kuala Lumpur: Berita Harian Publishing Sdn Bhd.

Arto, Soegih. (1989). Sanul Daca: Pengalaman Pribadi Letjen TNI (Purn) Soegih Arto. Jakarta: PT Merdeka Sarana.

Berding, A.H. (1966). The Making of Foreign Policy. Washington D.C., United States of America: Free Press.

Bhataacharjee, G.P. (1976). Southeast Asian Politics: Malaysia & Indonesia. Calcuta: Minerva.

Bijl, Nick van der. (2007). Confrontation: The War with Indonesia, 1962-1966. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Military Press.

Brackman, A. (1966). Southeast Asia’s Second Front: The Power Struggle in the Malay Archipelago. New York: Frederick A. Praeger.

Bunnel, Frederick P. (1966). “Guided Democracy Foreign Policy, 1960-1965: President Soekarno Moves from Non-Alignment to Confrontation” in Indonesia. New York: Modern Indonesian Project, Cornell University, October.

Cantori, Louis J. & Steven L. Spiegel. (1970). “The International Relations of Regions” in Polity, Vol.2, No.4 [Summer].

Chee, Stephen. (1974). “Malaysia’s Changing Foreign Policy” in Yong Cheong Mun [ed]. Trends in Malaya. Singapore: ISEAS [Institute of South East Asian Studies].

Chong, Jinn Winn. (2012). “Mine, Yours or Ours? The Indonesia-Malaysia Disputes over Hared Cultural Heritage” in Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Vol.27, No.1 [April].

Chopra, Pran. (1974/1975). “Malaysia’s Strategy for Survival” in Pacific Affairs, Vol.47, No.4 [Winter], pp.437-458.

Clausewitz, Carl von. (1940). On War. New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., Ltd., Translation.

Cohen, Eliot A. (1994). “A History of Warfare” in Foreign Affairs, 73(2).

Comber, Leon. (1983). 13 May 1969: A Historical Survey of Sino-Malay Relation. Kuala Lumpur: Heinemann Asia.

Cribb, Robert. (1992). Historical Dictionary of Indonesia. Metuchen and London: The Scarecow Press, Inc.

Crouch, Harold. (1978). The Army and Politics in Indonesia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Dennis, Peter & Jeffrey Grey. (1996). Emergency and Confrontation: Australian Military Operations in Malaya and Borneo, 1950-1966. St. Leonards: Allen and Unwin.

Derkach, Nadia. (1965). “The Soviet Policy towards Indonesia in the West, Irian, and the Malaysian Disputes” in Asian Survey, Vol.5, No.11 [November].

Desai, Sar D.R. (1981). Southeast Asia: Past and Present. New Delhi: Vikas Publication House.

Dessouki, A., Ali E. Hillal & Baghat Korany. (1991). “A Literature Survey and a Framework for Analysis” in The Foreign Policies of Arab States. Bouleder: Westview Press.

Easter, David. (2004). Britain and the Confrontation with Indonesia, 1960-1966. London: I.B. Tauris.

Farram, Steven. (2014). “Ganyang! Indonesia Popular Songs from the Confrontation Era, 1963-1966” in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde, Vol.170, No.1.

French, David. (2011). The British Way in Counter-Insurgency, 1945-1967. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Gordon, Bernard K. (1966). The Dimensions of Conflict in Southeast Asia. Englewood Cliff, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Gregorian, Raffi. (1991). “CLARET Operations and Confrontation, 1964-1966”. Available online at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: February 10, 2017].

Guat, Hoon Khaw. (1976). Malaysian Policies in Southeast Asia, 1957-1970. Singapore: National Printing.

Gullick, J.M. (1967). Malaysia and its Neighbours. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Hanrahan, G.H. (1971). The Communist Struggle in Malaya. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press.

Hart, Natasha Hamilton. (2009). “Indonesia and Singapore: Structure, Politics, and Interest” in Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol.31, No.2. Singapore: ISEAS [Institute of South East Asian Studies].

Hatta, Mohammad. (1965). “One Indonesian View of the Malaysia Issue” in Asian Survey, Vol.5, No.3 [March].

Hillal, Ali E. & Baghat Korany. (1991). “A Literature Survey and a Framework for Analysis” in The Foreign Policies of Arab States. Bouleder: Westview Press.

Hindley, Donald. (1964). “Indonesia’s Confrontation with Malaysia: A Search for Motives” in Asian Survey, Vol.4, No.6 [Jun].

Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (2004). The Evolution of Institutional Economics: Agency, structure, and Darwinism in American Institutionalism. London and New York: Routledge. Available online also at: file:///C:/Users/acer/Downloads/The-Evolution-of-Institutional-Economics-Agency-Structure [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: February 10, 2017].

Holsti, K.J. (1996). The State, War, and the State of War. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Howard, M. (2002). Clausewitz: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Iriye, Akira. (1988). “The Internationalization of History”. Available online at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: February 10, 2017].

Irvine, R. (1982). “The Formative Years of ASEAN, 1967-1975” in Alison Broinovosky [ed]. Understanding ASEAN. London: The Macmillan Press, Ltd.

James, Harold & Denis Sheil Small. (1971). The Undeclared War: The Story of the Indonesian Confrontation, 1962-1966. Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield.

Jensen, Lyod. (1982). Explaining Foreign Policy. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Jok, Jok Madut. (2015). “Negotiating an End to the Current Civil War in South Sudan: What Lessons Can Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement Offer?. Available online at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: February 10, 2017].

Jones, Howard P. (1971). Indonesia: The Possible Dream. New York: Random House.

Jones, Matthew. (2002). Conflict and Confrontation in Southeast Asia, 1961-1965: Britain, the United States, Indonesia, and the Creation of Malaysia. Cambridge, UK [United Kingdom]: Cambridge University Press.

Kahin, George McT. (1964). “Malaysia and Indonesia” in Pacific Affairs, Vol.37, No.3 [Autumn].

Kahin, George McT. (1972). Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Kahin, Goerge McT. & Audrey R. Kahin. (1995). Subversion as Foreign Policy: The secret Eisenhower an Dulles debacle in Indonesia. New York: The New Press.

Kartodirdjo, Sartono. (1992). Pendekatan Ilmu-ilmu Sosial dalam Metodologi Sejarah. Jakarta: PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama.

Katsumata, H. (2003). “Reconstruction of Diplomatic Norms in Southeast Asia: The Case for Strict Adherence to the ‘ASEAN way’” in Contemporary Southeast Asia.

Keegan, John. (1993). A History of Warfare. USA [United States of America]: Random House.

Kompas [newspaper]. Djakarta: 3 Djuni 1966.

Kroef, Justus M. Van der. (1963). “Indonesia, Malaya, and the Borneo Crisis” in Asian Survey, April.

Kroef, Justus M. Van der. (1970). “Indonesian Communism Since the 1965 Coup” in Pacific Affairs, 43(1), pp.34-60.

Kroef, Justus M. Van der. (1986). “Normalizing Relations with China: Indonesian’s Policies and Perceptions” in Asian Survey, Vol.26, No.28 [August].

Kuntowijoyo. (2005). Metodologi Sejarah. Yogyakarta: Tiara Wacana.

Lau, Albert [ed]. (2012). Southeast Asia and Cold War. New York and London: Routledge.

Legge, J.D. (1972). Soekarno: A Political Biography. New York: Preager Publisher.

Leifer, Michael. (1974). The Foreign Relations of New States. Victoria: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.

Leifer, Michael. (1983). Indonesian Foreign Policy. London: The Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Leuzinger, Kelsey. (2014). “Japanese, Korean, and Chinese: What’s the Difference?”. Available online at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: February 10, 2017].

Lindell, Jordan. (2009). “Clausewitz: War, Peace, and Politics” in E-International Relations Students. Available online also at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: February 10, 2017].

Liow, J.C. (2004). The Politics of Indonesia Malaysia Relations: One Kin Two Nations. New York: Routledge Curzon.

Liow, J.C. (2005). “Tunku Abdul Rahman and Malaya’s Relations with Indonesia, 1957-1960” in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol.36.

Llewelyn, James. (2005). “Japan’s Diplomatic Response to Indonesia’s Policy of Confronting Malaysia (Konfrontasi), 1963-1966” in Kobe University Law Review, 39, pp.39-68. Available online also at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: January 17, 2017].

Llyod, Christopher. (1993). Structure of History. Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell.

Mackie, J.A.C. (1974). Konfrontasi: The Indonesia — Malaysia Dispute, 1963-1966. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.

Madjid, Zurina [ed]. (1995). Masyarakat Melayu. Pulau Pinang: USM [Universiti Sains Malaysia] Press.

Mahmud, Nik Anuar Nik. (2000). Konfrontasi Malaysia — Indonesia. Bangi: Penerbit UKM [Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia].

Malik, Adam. (1978). Mengabdi Republik, Jilid 2. Jakarta: Penerbit Gunung Agung.

Matusumoto, Saho. (1999). “Diplomatic History/International Relations” in Kelly Boyd [ed]. The Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, Volume 1. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, pp.314-316

Means, P. Gordon. (1963). “Malaysia: A New Federation in Southeast Asia” in Pacific Affairs, Vol.36.

Mezerick, A.G. (2000). “Malaysia-Indonesia Conflict” in International Review Service, Vol.11, No.6.

Ming, Jean Tan. (2011). “Singapore's Role in Indonesia's Confrontation of Malaysia and the Impact of Confrontation on Singapore-Indonesia Relations”. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis. Singapore: NUS [National University of Singapore].

MoFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Malaysia. (1971). “Neutralization of Southeast Asia” in Foreign Affairs Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, October.

Muas, Tuty Enoch. (2015). “Restoring Trusts without Losing Face: An Episode in the History of China — Indonesia Relationship” in TAWARIKH: International Journal for Historical Studies, Vol.6(2) April, pp.223-236. Bandung, Indonesia: Minda Masagi Press and UNHAS Makassar, ISSN 2085-0980.

Mukmin, Hidayat. (1991). TNI dalam Politik Luar Negeri RI: Studi Kasus Penyelesaian Konfrontasi Indonesia — Malaysia. Jakarta: Pustaka Sinar Harapan.

Nicolson, Harold. (1969). Diplomacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nordin, Mazlan. (2008). “The End of Confrontation” in Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, Vol.21. Available online also at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: January 17, 2017].

Ongkili, J.P. (1985). Nation Building in Malaysia, 1946-1974. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.

Ott, Marvin. (1967). “Malaysia: The Search for Solidarity and Security” in Asian Survey, Vol.8, No.2.

Ott, Marvin. (1971). The Sources and Content of Malaysian Foreign Policy towards Indonesia and the Philippines, 1957-1965. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International.

Ott, Marvin. (1972). “Foreign Policy Formulation in Malaysia” in Asian Survey, Vol.12, No.3 [March], pp.225-241.

Parmer, J. Norman. (1967). “Malaysia: Changing a Little to Keep Pace” in Asian Survey, Vol.7, No.2 [February].

Poulgrain, G. (1998). The Genesis of Confrontation: Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, 1945-1965. London: C. Hurst & Co.

Raymond, Boon. (2010). “Bugis in Early Malaysia”. Available online at: [accessed in Depok, Indonesia: February 10, 2017].

Ricklefs, M.C., Bruce Lockhart & Albert La. (2010). Sejarah Asia Tenggara: Dari Masa Prasejarah sampai Kontemporer. Jakarta: Komunitas Bambu, Translation.

Rolf, William R. (2000). Nasionalisme Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: Penerbit UM [Universiti Malaya], Translation.

Roy, S.L. (1991). Diplomasi. Jakarta: Rajawali Press.

Said, Tribuana. (1984). Indonesia dalam Politik Global Amerika: Tinjauan atas Kebijakan dan Strategi Pembendungan Amerika Serikat dari Truman hingga Nixon. Medan: Penerbit Waspada.

Saravanamuttu, J. (1982). The Dilemma of Independence: Two Decades of Malaysian Foreign Policy, 1957-1977. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Saravanamuttu, J. (1990). “The Super Powers and Southeast Asia” in R. Allison & R. Williams [eds]. Superpowers Competition and Crisis Prevention in the Third World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Shafie, M. Ghazali. (1971). “The Neutralization of South East Asia” in Pacific Community. Vol.III, No.1 [October].

Shafie, M. Ghazali. (1982). “Confrontation: A Manisfestation of the Indonesian Problems” in Malaysia International Relations: Selected Speech of M. Ghazali Shafie. Kuala Lumpur: Creative Enterprise Sdn Bhd.

Simpson, Bradley. (2008). Economic with Guns: Authoritarian Development and USA — Indonesia Relations, 1960-1968. New York: The Free Press.

Singer, Marshall R. (1980). “The Foreign Policies of Small Developing States” in James N. Rosenau, Kenneth W. Thomson & Gavin Boyd [eds]. Worlds Politics: An Introduction. New York: The Free Press.

Sjamsuddin, Helius. (2007). Metodologi Sejarah. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Ombak.

Soeharto. (1991). Pikiran, Ucapan, dan Tindakan Saya sebagaimana Dikemukakan kepada G. Dwipayana dan Ramadhan K.H. Jakarta: Citra Lamtorogung.

Straits Time [newspaper]. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 10 June 1966.

Suara Malaysia [newspaper]. Kuala Lumpur: 18 August 1966.

Sunarti, Linda. (2013). “Menelusuri Akar Konflik Warisan Budaya antara Indonesia dengan Malaysia” in SOSIOHUMANIKA: Jurnal Pendidikan Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan, Vol.6, No.1 [Mei], pp.77-88. Bandung, Indonesia: Minda Masagi Press owned by ASPENSI, ISSN 1979-0112.

Sutter, John O. (1966). “Two Faces of Konfrontasi: Crush Malaysia and the Gestapu” in Asian Survey, Vol.6, No.10 [October].

Suwirta, Andi. (2010). “Dua Negara-Bangsa Melihat Masa Lalunya: Konfrontasi Indonesia — Malaysia (1963-1966) sebagaimana Dikisahkan dalam Buku-buku Teks Sejarahnya di Sekolah” in SOSIOHUMANIKA: Jurnal Pendidikan Sains Sosial dan Kemanusiaan, Vol.3, No.2 [November], pp.243-258. Bandung, Indonesia: Minda Masagi Press, UNIPA Surabaya, and UMS Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, ISSN 1979-0112.

Tate, D.J.M. (1977). The Making of Modern Southeast Asia. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.

Tilman, R.O. (1987). Southeast Asia and the Enemy Beyond: ASEAN Perceptions of External Treats. USA [United States of America]: West View Press, Inc.

Ury, William. (2000). The Third Side: Why We Fight and How We Can Stop. New York: Penguin Putnam.

Utusan Malaysia [newspaper]. Kuala Lumpur: 2 June 1966.

Vatikiotis, Michael R.J. (1996). Political Change in Southeast Asia: Trimming the Banyan Tree. London: Routledge.

Vlekke, B.H.M. (1967). Nusantara: Sejarah Indonesia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Translation.

Wahid, Zaenal Abidin Abdul. (2001). Sejarah Dasar Luar Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Kementrian Belia dan Sukan.

Wallensteen, Peter. (2002). Understanding Conflict Resolution: War, Peace, and the Global System. London: Routledge.

Wanandi, Jusuf. (2001). Reinventing ASEAN. Singapore: ISEAS [Institute of South East Asian Studies].

Wani, Hilal Ahmad, Andi Suwirta & Joseph Fayeye. (2013). “Conflict Resolution and Conflict Transformation: Some Reflections” in ATIKAN: Jurnal Kajian Pendidikan, Vol.3(1) Juni, pp.35-44. Bandung, Indonesia: Minda Masagi Press owned by ASPENSI in Bandung and FKIP UNSUR in Cianjur, West Java, ISSN 2088-1290.

Weinstein, Franklin B. (1969). Indonesia Abandon Confrontation: An Inquiry into the Functions of Indonesian Foreign Policy. Ithaca, New York: Cornell Southeast Asian Program, Cornell University Press.

Weinstein, Franklin B. (1976). Indonesian Foreign Policy and the Dillema of Dependence from Soekarno to Soeharto. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.