By Christopher Lidom
KUCHING, Aug 28: Malaysian, Australian, and New Zealand military veterans gathered today at the Heroes Memorial Park at Jalan Budaya to honour their fallen comrades.
The Australian and New Zealand contingents (ANZAC) were also joined by their family members and other Commonwealth military and police colleagues, including a small Gurkha contingent from Brunei.
Speaking in his welcoming address at the ceremony, National Malaya & Borneo Veterans Association Australia Inc (NMBVAA) president Major (Ret’d) Paul Rosenzweig OAM said it is important to note that 50 Australians who have fallen from the Malayan wars remain buried overseas.
“Thirty-seven of them in Malaysia and 13 in Singapore. We are grateful to these two nations for caring for our fallen Anzacs,” he said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Pam Chong Dunn, said that the New Zealand contingent is also in Kuching to commemorate 57 years of the ceasefire declaration that marked the end of ‘Konfrontasi’ on August 11, 1966.
According to Pam, New Zealanders have served in Malaya and Malaysia alongside its partners continuously since the 1940s, and its Special Operations Executive members also served in Borneo during World War 2.
“In peacetime, New Zealand continues to serve in Malaysia as part of the Five Power Defense Arrangements, one of the five pillars of Malaysia’s Defense Policy today and a key element of New Zealand’s Defense Engagement Strategy in Southeast Asia.
“Here, at the Sarawak Heroes Memorial Park, we are continually reminded of the efforts of the Commonwealth Forces, fighting alongside Malaysians to preserve Malaysian sovereignty despite the efforts of others to undermine it,” she added.
The ceremony started with an opening prayer by the previous Dean of St Thomas’ Cathedral, Diocese of Kuching, Dean Emeritus Michael Buma Galami, followed by the singing of a hymn and the Ode of Remembrance.
Later, after the blessing of the tributes, former federal minister Tan Sri Leo Moggie, together with former Sarawak deputy secretary Datu Ose Murang, also paid their respects by placing the commemorative tribute at the Wall of Remembrance.
This was followed by other distinguished guests placing tributes at respective plaques along the Wall of Honor.
Before the ceremony ended, the Malaysia, Australian, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and Sarawak anthems were played, including an Ode to a Wondering Warrior song and a standing up for the marching off the colours. — DayakDaily