Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Brunei Town

Dawn service marks ANZAC Day

James Kon

Australian High Commissioner-Designate to Brunei Darussalam Luke Arnold highlighted yesterday the strong friendship that Australians, New Zealanders and Bruneians have shared with Japan for many decades.

“Even though we fought against each other here 77 years ago, we are now the best of friends and steadfast partners for a free, open and peaceful Indo-Pacific region,” he said during a dawn service to commemorate ANZAC Day at the Brunei-Australia Memorial at Muara Beach to honour the service of Australians and New Zealanders in wars, conflicts, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof was in attendance, joined by members of the Diplomatic Corps, military officials and Australians and New Zealanders in the Sultanate.

The envoy also remarked on how the spirit of ANZAC Day resonates strongly with Australians, New Zealanders and others because in a world where personal self-interest can be rampant, ANZAC Day draws attention to the importance of service to others.

He also noted that in 1945, Australian soldiers arrived on Muara Beach as part of a military operation that contributed to the liberation of Borneo, including Brunei.

ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof and Australian High Commissioner-Designate to Brunei Darussalam Luke Arnold in a group photo; and the minister places a wreath on the memorial site. PHOTOS: JAMES KON

Members of the diplomatic corps and invited guests at the event

Meanwhile, Ambassador-Designate of Japan to Brunei Darussalam Maeda Toru said, “Here on Muara Beach and some other places in Brunei 77 years ago, Japanese and Australian soldiers fought against each other during the Second World War. On this ANZAC Day I’d like to pay my deep respect to all those who lost their lives in the battles. Their causes may have been different. Nevertheless, their devotions to their own countries were equally sincere.”

He added, “We, Japanese, remember the sufferings of the people in this region caused by our actions during the war. With this sense of remorse, Japan has consistently made utmost efforts to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region since the end of the war, and will continue to do so.”

Despite the past, he said, “Japan and Australia have now become closest friends. Our friendship is firmly based on shared fundamental values and common strategic goals. We work together closely for a free and open, and thereby, peaceful and prosperous, Indo-Pacific region, joining hands with other friends and allies including Brunei and ASEAN. It is my hope that ANZAC Day in Brunei would continue to be a day to remember all those who sacrificed their lives in wars, and could also be a day to appreciate every effort that has been made for reconciliation and partnership for peace.”

The Australian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam also extended its appreciation for the provision of a catafalque party from the Second Battalion of the Royal Gurkha Rifles, and ceremonial support from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Gurkha Reserve Unit.