MELAKA, Malaysia It may be a sombre event, but one that will be steeped in tradition as the remains of 28 New Zealand servicemen are given honours at a special ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) before they are repatriated home on Aug 20.
The Defence Ministry in a statement today said the ceremony to be held at KLIA’s Bunga Raya Complex will see the official handing over of the soldiers’ skeletal remains (Op Te Auraki) from the Malaysian government to the New Zealand government.
An earlier ceremony was held yesterday to commemorate the delivery of the remains of 16 of the 28 servicemen to the Wardieburn Camp in Kuala Lumpur by members of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) from the Terendak Camp in Melaka.
Present at the ceremony were 10th Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Datuk Tengku Muhammad Fauzi Tengku Ibrahim, Commander of the Third Artillery Division Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Abu Bakar and a representative from New Zealand armed forces, Captain Carl Nixon.
The statement said the ceremony was held as a symbolic tribute from the ATM to members of the New Zealand army buried in the Commonwealth War Grave (CWG) Terendak, Melaka from 1964 until 1969.
Some of the servicemen had been engaged then to help Malaysia fight various threats.
The statement said that excavation works, forensic analysis, reconciliation process and the identification board were among the methods used at the Terendak Camp, led by Major General Dr Mohd Ilham Haron.
It involved 112 ATM personnel, 110 personnel from government agencies and local universities together with 29 officers from New Zealand.
Maj Gen Dr Mohd Ilham said the ceremony marked the completion of its exercise involving the remains of the New Zealand troops, conducted from July 3 to July 26.
Coffins with remains of the 28 soldiers will be placed temporarily at the Wardieburn Hall, Wardieburn Camp, Kuala Lumpur before they are repatriated to New Zealand.
Source: NAM News Network