KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — MCA was among parties that strongly protested against a proposal to make the location where three Japanese soldiers were buried during World War II a tourist attraction spot, a party leader said today.
Tan Chee Hiong, its deputy youth chief, alleged Pakatan Harapan’s claim that a controversial monument it said was raised to commemorate the soldiers in Kedah had existed during Barisan Nasional rule was a lie.
“MCA Youth calls on PH supporters not to twist facts by saying the monument was already built during BN rule,” Tan said in a statement.
The monument was built by the Japanese before the end of World War II and was rehabilitated recently to be preserved as historical artifact.
Tan said he was among those who opposed a proposal to turn the monument into a tourist attraction at the turn of the century.
He claimed during his tenure as the party’s Kedah Chinese youth bureau chief, the idea was proposed but rejected twice already.
“When the Kedah Historical Society found the gravestones they had suggested the place be made a tourism spot,” he said.
“But the proposal was rejected. So the monument was left as it is...we took the position not to destroy the monument, but we also won’t open the place to tourists,” he added.
Tan alleged the Kedah PH government had allowed the Japanese Consulate to turn the gravestones into a shrine despite protests from locals, especially the Chinese community.
Local Chinese were among the most brutalised victims of the Japanese occupation of Malaya.
State Youth and Sports, Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Entrepreneurship Development Committee chairman Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris was forced to apologise two days ago following public uproar.
However, Mohd Asmirul said the mistake was that the banner at the monument had described the dead soldiers as “heroes”.
He claimed the company that prepared the banner for the opening of the monument translated the information provided by the Consulate of Japan.
It is unclear if the monument was refurbished by the Japanese government, as Tan alleged.
MCA has since demanded the Kedah government tear the edifice down.
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