Veterans from Australia New Zealand to visit Sarawak
Veterans from Australia New Zealand to visit Sarawak

Veterans from Australia, New Zealand to visit Sarawak

KUCHING: A group of veterans from Australia and New Zealand will hold a commemoration service at the Sarawak Heroes Memorial Park here to mark the 57th anniversary of the end of the Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia.

Paul Rosenzweig, president of the South Australia and Northern Territory Branch of the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association Australia (SA Branch NMBVAA), said the service next Monday (Aug 28) was a significant part of the veterans’ visit to Sarawak this year.

He said it would be attended by 30 Australian veterans and 28 from New Zealand as well as members of the Sarawak Veterans’ Association.

During the Confrontation from 1962 to 1966, Australian and New Zealand units fought in Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia as part of a larger Commonwealth force under overall British command.

“The Confrontation was brought to an end with the signing of the Malaysia-Indonesia Peace Agreement or Jakarta Accord at Istana Merdeka in Jakarta on Aug 11, 1966 – 57 years ago this month,” Rosenzweig told a press conference here on Thursday (Aug 24).

He said 71 Australian servicemen lost their lives on operational service during the Malayan Emergency and Confrontation, including 11 who died in defence of Sarawak during the Confrontation.

“In their commemorative events, the Australia and New Zealand contingents of veterans and families honour all those who served and remember those who lost their lives,” he said.

Rosenzweig said the veterans and their families would also visit the Batu Lintang Memorial here to commemorate the liberation of the Batu Lintang prisoner of war camp in 1945.

They will later travel to Bau district to hand over financial donations and books to three schools adopted by the SA Branch NMBVAA in areas where Australian troops served during Confrontation.

The schools were SK Serabak, SK Suba Buan and SK Stass.

“In this way the branch remembers the support of the Sarawak people in 1965-1966 and supports the upcoming generations,” Rosenzweig said.

This will be followed by a visit to Kampung Gumbang, the site of an Australian military position known as Bukit Knuckle in 1965.

Sarawak Tourism Federation president Audry Wan Ullok said the Australian and New Zealand reunion visit was an important event for Sarawakians to recognise the heroes who fought for Sarawak and to cherish and remember the state’s history.

She said it also served to celebrate and value the state’s freedom, cultivate patriotism among Sarawakians, motivate the younger generation to learn more about history and develop tourism products and post-war tours.

Sila Baca Juga

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