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Mini museum dedicated to Iban trackers and Sarawak Rangers to be built


vanes@thestar.com.my

A MINI museum dedicated to the Iban trackers and Sarawak Rangers will be built at a proposed heroes memorial in Kota Sentosa near Kuching.

Lt Col Robert Rizal Abdullah, who initiated plans to bring back the remains of 21 Iban trackers and Sarawak Rangers killed in peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, said the museum would remind visitors of the sacrifices of these brave soldiers during the Communist insurgency.

He said a 5ha plot had been earmarked to accommodate the memorial near the old airport road leading to Kota Sentosa township. However, the project is awaiting final approval from the State government.

“We hope to build a mini remembrance museum so that those visiting and paying their respects at the memorial ground for fallen heroes can understand what these soldiers had gone through during the war,” he told StarMetro recently.

He said the memorial ground, near the Army’s Medical Battalion Unit, would be the final resting place for the 21 Iban trackers and Sarawak Rangers.

Of the 21 fallen heroes, he said, nine of them, who were supposedly buried at Terendak Military Cemetery, would be brought home only “in name” as their remains could not be located.

“When the nine were killed in battle, they were buried in-situ without grave markings, so we cannot locate them. Furthermore, they were buried very deep in the jungle,” he explained. He said their names would be inscribed on a memorial wall.

Robert said with the recent backing of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the mission to bring back these fallen heroes was 60% completed and his committee was now getting the families of the 21 men to sign a formal consent for the move.

He pointed out that the Foreign Affairs Ministry would be initiating talks with Singapore to claim the remains of two of the men currently buried at Kranji Military Cemetery.

The others are buried in several states in peninsular Malaysia, namely Batu Gajah Christian cemetery in Perak, Cheras Road cemetery in Kuala Lumpur, Kamunting Road Christian cemetery in Perak, and the Christian cemetery at Jalan Sultanah in Alor Setar.

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