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The battle was fought as a result of a Malaysian decision to attack eastern Kalimantan, and gain control from the Sulu Sea, which they had just gained control off after defeating Filipino naval forces. However, thanks to a disciplined and well-prepared Indonesian navy, as well as a battle-exhausted Malaysian navy, the Indonesians crushed and repulsed the attack.
The Indonesians hijacked a Malaysian vessel, and used it to launch a discguised-attack against Malaysian naval patrol in the Sulu Sea, thus setting the stage for the Battle of the Sulu Archipelago in which the Indonesians helped Filipino soldiers and militants alike defeat Malaysia.