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Wednesday January 10, 2007

Death Railway list for redress


newsdesk@thestar.com.my 

SEREMBAN: His father, a survivor of the infamous Death Railway, died last year, but S. Sasidaran is keeping alive his mission to register other survivors and their next of kin for compensation purposes from the Japanese government. 

“He was disappointed that he was never compensated,” said Sasidaran, 67, of his father K.N. Sellappah, who died at the age of 92.  

Sasidaran, who is the West Coast and Negri Sembilan chairman of the Association for Forced Labour to Siam-Burma Death Railway, is again appealing to survivors or their next of kin from the west coast of peninsular Malaysia to register.  

Bitter record: Sasidaran showing the book he has written entitled Siam-Burma Death Railway (1942-1945) in Seremban.
“We are negotiating for compensation. A proposal has already been submitted. Although registration was closed last year, many did not make it,” he added.  

“I have received many calls from many who did not realise there was something like this. So, we are going to start re-registration.” 

Sellappah was among the labourers taken away to work on the Death Railway, a 415km track between Thailand and Myanmar (then Burma), during World War II. Construction began on Sept 16, 1942, by about 250,000 labourers and prisoners of war. At the end of the war, more than 116,000 had died from diseases and starvation.  

Registration will be held from Jan 13 to Jan 28 at 787, Taman Yoon Lian, Jalan Rasah, Seremban. For details, call Sasidaran at 06-762 8251 or 019-351 2380.  

Killer railway

 

Approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died building the railway line. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died, chiefly forced labour brought from the then Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar) by the Japanese forces. Work on the 424km line began in October 1942. Two labour forces, based in Siam and Burma, worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre to complete it by December 1943. 

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