MCA Youth members stage sit-in at site of controversial WWII monument in Kedah

ALOR SETAR: MCA Youth chief Nicole Wong joined 25 Youth leaders and members from several states in staging a peaceful sit-in to protest the monument built to commemorate three fallen Japanese soldiers here.

Wong was accompanied by Kedah MCA Youth chief Tan Chee Hiong, Alor Setar MCA Youth chief Phee Kuan Joo and committee members from other states.

The protest took place in front of the granite monument located on a plot of land near the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board's Kedah branch office at Jalan Raja here at about 4.30pm Thursday (April 25).

A protest was staged by the MCA Youth here on March 25.

"Today, it is exactly a month since we first came here to show our anger over the monument.

We want the monument to be destroyed but nothing has been done.

"We are preparing a letter addressed to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and will ask for the state government's stand on the issue," Wong said, adding that the matter should be taken seriously.

She also said the protesters would not be leaving, even if it rained, to show they were serious about getting their voices heard.

Three Japanese soldiers were killed at the site when they tried to blow up Alor Setar Bridge to cut off Allied forces during World War II.

A giant plaque, that has since been taken down after an outcry from the Chinese community, said the monument was built to remember the heroic acts of three Japanese soldiers - Lt Hajime Asai, Cpl Kaneko Juga and Cpl Nakayama.

On Feb 15, 1942, General Tomoyuki Yamashita awarded certificates of appreciation to the fallen military personnel of the 11th Infantry Regiment for their fighting spirit in conquering the bridge.

Kedah History Society, the state Museum’s Board and the Consulate-General of Japan in Penang, had jointly rebuilt the monument and invited state Tourism committee chairman Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris to cut the ribbon to unveil it on March 21, 2019.

Following the outcry over the monument, Mohd Asmirul had said: "A translation error was made on the plaque, which made the Japanese soldiers look like heroes."

He said the error occurred when a Japanese officer tried to communicate with the local contractor commissioned to make the signboard.

“They were like chicken and duck, trying to communicate with each other. That was the issue. It was an error in translation,” he said.

Mohd Asmirul apologised to Malaysians on behalf of the state government and the Kedah History Society for the error, stressing that the monument was only about the three Japanese soldiers and not their "heroic" act.

Prior to the new monument, there used to be square rocks at the site, covered in overgrowth, which locals called kubur Jepun (Japanese graves).

It is learnt that about 10 years ago, the remains of the three soldiers were exhumed and repatriated to Japan.


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