KOTA KINABALU, 13 August 2021: Sabah Tourism Board will once again pay tribute to fallen British and Australian prisoners of wars (POWs) in remembering the Sandakan-Ranau Death Marches through a ‘live’ engagement session via the @SabahMalaysianBorneo Facebook platform this Sunday, 15 August at 9:00am.
This is the second year the event is conducted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic and current restriction to travel. Last year, a hybrid memorial event onsite was performed with a live telecast via Sabah Tourism’s social media page has brought the event closer to the victims’ families abroad.
Almost all 2500 Australian and British POWs that were held in the camp did not survive in the grueling ordeal. Most suffered from malnutrition, tropical diseases, brutal treatment and the torturous jungle terrain from Sandakan to Ranau. Only six Australians managed to escape with assistance from villagers.
Sandakan Day Memorial service is held every year on August 15, to remember and honour the sacrifice of our locals and the soldiers who came to liberate our nations during the World War 2. To keep their heroic deeds alive, Sabah Tourism will hold a sharing session online with four invited guest speakers. They are:
- His Excellency Mr. Charles Hay MVO
British High Commissioner to Malaysia
- Dr Ian Hodges
Historian, Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Australia)
- Dr Arthur Y.C. Chung
Deputy Head, Forest Research Centre, Sabah Forestry Department
- Madam Catherin Chua AM
Retired Government Officer, Sandakan Municipal Council
“It is unfortunate that we cannot be physically there onsite to commemorate this event but lest we forget, we continue to appreciate their sacrifices through this intimate and interactive session on Sunday” said Noredah Othman, Chief Executive Officer of Sabah Tourism Board.
“I am pleased to welcome His Excellency Mr. Charles Hay, British High Commissioner to Malaysia and Dr Ian Hodges from the Department of Veterans Affairs Australia to join us. This further signifies our close relationship with these two governments in preserving this important history.” She added.
In the past, the special event has attracted many visitors, especially from Australia.