Asia Former Indonesian president who coined the term 'Red dot Singapore' is still...

Former Indonesian president who coined the term ‘Red dot Singapore’ is still in hospital

BJ Habibie, is currently at the Gatot Soebroto Army Central Hospital. He is suffering from heart and lung complications and is still under close supervision

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Former Indonesian President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie who is well-known among Singaporean politicians for his remarks on Singapore being ‘the red dot’, is still recuperating in hospital.

Better known as BJ Habibie, he was in intensive care at the Gatot Soebroto Army Central Hospital where he is still recuperating.

Many personalities in Indonesia are conveying messages of convalescence to the ex-President known in Indonesia for his role in the post-Suharto era.

During Habibie’s short reign as President, the term “little red dot” gained popularity in Singapore.

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Habibie’s comments, “It’s O.K. with me, but there are 211 million people [in Indonesia]. All the green [area] is Indonesia. And that red dot is Singapore,” will remain a historic remark.

It caused an outcry in Singapore as it was seen as a dismissal of the country, but Habibie denied that that was his intention.

The term was quickly adopted by both Singaporean politicians and ordinary citizens. Some say people used the term to showcase the nation’s success despite its limitations.

Whether it is related to Habibie’s statement or not, in 2015, Singapore celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence with the term “SG50” depicted inside a red dot.

In Indonesia and Malaysia at least, wishes of ‘get well soon’ were spreading for the man known as the first ‘reformist’ president of the country.

He was the third president of Indonesia but ruled only for barely a year and a half.

President Joko Widodo visited the former President to check on his condition. He is suffering from heart and lung complications and is still under close supervision, doctors say.

For those who do not know the role played by Habibie in the aftermath of the downfall of General Suharto, he is remembered for the liberalisation of Indonesia’s press and political party laws.

Under his rule, the country saw the first democratic elections in 1999, which resulted in the end of his presidency after he lost in a vote in the Parliament.

His presidency is the shortest in the history of Indonesia but was impactful. It is under his reign that East Timor, or Timor Leste, gained independence after he ordered a referendum on the province’s future. He considered giving East Timor special autonomy.

Airbus A-300B

But wishing to avoid the impression that Indonesia ruled East Timor as a colony, Habibie surprised many by ordering a referendum. He did not consult military leaders on this decision.

BJ Habibie, 83, joined the Hamburger Flugzeugbau (HF) aircraft industry and later the Messerschmitt Boelkow Blohm (MBB) aircraft manufacturer, where he became vice-president.

At Messerschmitt, (1974) he worked on the development of the Airbus A-300B aircraft. -/TISG

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