SANDAKAN: Strong mutual history forms the foundation of Australia-Malaysia defence ties, which were cemented on the battlefields of the World War Two, the Malayan Emergency and the Confrontation, Australian High Commisioner to Malaysia Miles Kupa said.
“We have also served together, more recently, in far-flung places such Lebanon and East Timor under the United Nations flag.
“This strong mutual history forms the bedrock of Australia’s and New Zealand’s defence relationships with Malaysia,” he said at the Sandakan Anzac Day Dawn Service at Sandakan Memorial Park here today.
Kupa said Anzac Day was not just a commemoration of the victories or defeats of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces at war.
“We come to remember that individuals, ordinary men and women, Australians, Malaysians, British, New Zealand (people) and many more, were prepared to make personal sacrifices, for the freedom and quality of life that we enjoy today.
“In particular, we must also acknowledge the bravery and selflessness, and the suffering, of the local Sandakan population during the occupation of Sabah in World War II,” he added.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman in his speech which was read by Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah said Sabah felt honoured to protect the Sandakan Memorial Park, to help those who visit to understand what happened there, and to let the place “teach us all the importance of remembrance.”
In the beauty and serenity of the Park, he said, it was difficult to imagine the horrors and the tragedies that occurred there.
“But the park, with its contemplative surrounds, serves as a humble reminder of the high price of freedom and is a fitting tribute to the men who now lie in peace.
“We gather at this Park to commemorate the courage of those men, to honour their strength and endurance, and to preserve the memory of their sacrifice,” he said. — BERNAMA