In remembrance of the heroes of Sarawak

Members of the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) during the ceremony in Adelaide

Members of the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) during the ceremony in Adelaide

KUCHING: In remembrance of the heroes of Sarawak, a second ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the Ceasefire and Declaration of the end of the Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia (1962-1966) was held at the West Torrens War Memorial Gardens in Adelaide on Sept 17.

Hosted by the National Malaya-Borneo Veterans Association of Australia (NMBVAA) South Australia & Northern Territory Branch, the event also marked the 56th anniversary of the end of the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960).

The first ceremony was held at World War II Heroes Grave near Taman Budaya here on Aug 29 and during that the unveiling of the MBVA Memorial Plaque took place.

Members of the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) continued their tradition for six years now of participating in both ceremonies through providing a catafalque party and banner supporters.

During the ceremony, the Australian, Malaysian and Sarawakian flags were raised in the presence of the attending South Australia governor Hieu Van Le.

NMBVAA president Brian Selby also gave a speech detailing accounts of the confrontation and operations that took place, as well as a brief update on soldiers who were awarded medals during this confrontation.

During his speech at the plaque unveiling at Taman Budaya, Selby called the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation the ‘forgotten wars’, and he reiterated his statement during the second ceremony in Adelaide.

“You will find scant reference to these undeclared wars in our military history chronicles.

“Public knowledge of these 16 years is non-existent. Whenever references are published or discussed in some forum about post WWII Australian military engagements, these are rarely, if ever, included,” he said.

He mentioned in brief the 45 years it took to return the remains of the last two Australian MIA’s from Sarawak, and thanked the Iban tribesmen who had kept their remains safe from unfriendly persons until they were able to return home.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik stated during the first ceremony, “We will always remember the selfless devotion and sacrifices of the Commonwealth Armed Forces members, with many from Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand giving strong military support for the return of peace in Sarawak.”

Ik stressed on the importance of remembering those who gave their lives for the peace that remains strong in Sarawak today.

“Thank you. I wish you all a long and happy life. We will not forget you,” Selby added.

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