Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marking 70th anniversary of end of WWII in Sarawak

KUCHING: A host of programmes has been lined up in the state beginning next week to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The calendar of events will begin on Wednesday in Bario with the commemoration of the 1945 landing of Commonwealth forces to mark the beginning of the Borneo liberation from Japanese occupation. Seventy years ago on March 25 at 8.30am, British and Australian commandos led by Major Tom Harrison parachute-landed in the paddy fields of Bario.

Jack Tredrea, the last remaining commando of that mission, will attend the event and soft launch his book entitled ‘Borneo Reflection’.

Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) Heritage Development Committee chairman Lim Kian Hock said the event will be hosted by Rurum Kelabit Sarawak.

Veterans from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) will make a four-day visit to Borneo this year to participate in the ‘Anzac Pan Borneo Commemoration Tour’ by Australian Borneo Exhibition covering Sarawak, Labuan and Sabah (Sandakan). The programme will start on April 12 with a twilight dedication service to be held at the Heroes’ Grave at Jalan Taman Budaya here.

“In 1943, as the Pacific war campaign led by the Americans advanced against the Japanese, the Allied forces planned a counter-insurgency to establish a Borneo Interior Force in Sarawak, Brunei, North Borneo (Sabah) and the Northern Dutch Borneo (Kalimantan) to support the advances of the Australian 9 Division.

“Operation Semut was launched with Borneo Highlands as strategic launching sites. The Borneo operation, spearheaded by Australian Forces, took the surrender of the Japanese across Borneo with Labuan on Sept 10, 1945, followed by Sarawak (Sept 11) and Sandakan (Sept 13).

“STF, in support of the Tourism Ministry, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Tourism Malaysia, organised these events in furtherance of this historical heritage and moments to promote awareness and better understanding of the atrocity and suffering towards attaining the essence of peace,” Lim said during the soft launch of the 70th Anniversary WWII Commemoration events at Batu Lintang Teachers’ Training Institute (IPG) campus here yesterday.

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