Former journalist uncovers Melaka railway’s history

  • Nation
  • Friday, 31 Jul 2020

Muhammad Zaidee Daut

MELAKA: With painstaking coaxing, the Melaka railway here in Jalan Hang Tuah is giving up pieces of its history.

Among the fascinating facts uncovered by Muhammad Zaidee Daut, who is researching the history of the bygone Melaka railway, was that during World War II it was bombed.

He said the tracks and railway facilities were believed to have been detonated by the Japanese air force as the quarters of the Australian battalion of the Allied Forces were situated close to the station.

“The Melaka rail service was governed under the Malacca Government Railway and was one of the earliest railway services in the country, ” he said.

Muhammad Zaidee, who is a former journalist, said based on his research, a godown was then situated where the Star Media Group’s bureau office was located in Jalan Hang Tuah here.

He said the turntable, a device for turning locomotives, was located at the present Jalan Tun Ali as well as one more near the present Hang Tuah public hall.The then Malacca Railway Station was situated at what was previously known as Bona Vista Road (Jalan Hang Tuah), Muhammad Zaidee said.

Based on historical records, the 8th Australian Division was stationed in southern Malaya and was reinforced by British and Indian regiments troops during World War II.

Muhammad Zaidee said he started his research on the railroads sometime ago and even visited the site where the rail tracks ran through.

“There were several stations between the 32km rail line from Pulau Sebang to the historic city, ” he said.

Muhammad Zaidee has also started compiling accounts of survivors.

On July 26, The Star ran a report on the ruins of the Alor Gajah railway station in Jalan Keretapi in Pengkalan, Alor Gajah.

Laid by the British administration in 1905, the station holds many memories for residents nearby who until today are known as the “Melaka Railway Children”.

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