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A view at the Sandakan Memorial Park, Sabah. Pix by Poliana Ronnie Sidom

SANDAKAN: Visitors to the Sandakan Memorial Park here want war-era items at the prisoner of war camp (POW) be preserved properly to prevent structural damage.

The items are a boiler and alternator, which were part of the power generator plant for the POW, as well as a trench digger believed to have been used by the Japanese to construct an airfield.

Azlan Saif Hasbullah, 35, said he went to the park almost every afternoon for two years to exercise and has always observed the artefacts.

“The items are now in a rusty condition. It will become worse if they continue to be exposed to the sun and rain.

A view at the Sandakan Memorial Park, Sabah. Pix by Poliana Ronnie Sidom

“If there is a roof, it can help reduce the risk of damage. The authorities need to preserve these war-era items,” he said.

Situated near Taman Rimba at Batu 7, the Sandakan Memorial Park is gazetted as a monument site by the state government to commemorate war prisoners, who suffered and died during the death marches.

The Sandakan death marches were a series of forced marches from Sandakan to Ranau, which resulted in the deaths of 2,345 Australian and British soldiers. The Park is also to commemorate the locals, who were killed for assisting the prisoners.

Another visitor Mirnawati Wili, 46, said preservation of the war remains needed to be done as the Sandakan Memorial Park was one of the well-known tourist destinations in the district.

Although visitors’ arrival to the park was not high, she said there would always be tourists, especially Australians, visiting the site every day to learn more about the history.

“These war-era items are proof that the area has historical value. Therefore, initiatives must be made to ensure the artefacts remain in good condition” she said.

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