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Riau governor wants statue plan scrapped

Riau Islands Governor Muhammad Sani told the Batam chapter of the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) to scrap its plan to build a statue in honour of former marines Osman Mohamed Ali and Harun Said to prevent further friction with Singapore.

"With the current situation, please reconsider (the plan) and do not add more problems," Mr Sani was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency yesterday.

Mr Sani said that Batam Kadin should not add fuel to the fire and should bear in mind that Batam is a stone's throw away from Singapore.

Currently, the Batam Free Trade Zone Management Agency (BPK- FTZ) is still reviewing the building permit for the Osman-Harun statue.

BPK-FTZ spokesman and One Roof Integrated Services director Dwi Djoko Wiwoho previously said that there were several factors to consider regarding the permit for the statue: aesthetics, maintaining good relations and Batam's location.

The marines were convicted and hanged in Singapore in 1968 for bombing MacDonald House in 1965.