Anzac Day services have been held across Malaysia, one of Australia’s most important defence partners in the region.
Australian and New Zealand Defence personnel came together for a Dawn Service at Malaysia’s national monument, Tugu Negara, in Kuala Lumpur attended by around 200 people, including the High Commissioners of Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Bangladesh as well as the Ambassadors from Turkey and the United States as well as senior military representatives from Malaysia.
The catafalque party was made up of Rifle Company Butterworth of the Australian 2/30th Training Group and sailors from HMNZS Te Kaha.
Commander Douglas Griffiths, the Assistant Defence Advisor in Malaysia, said the 2017 service had particular significance.
“This year marks 25 years since the Malaysia Australia Joint Defence Program was signed,” he said.
“This is the cornerstone of the defence partnership between the two countries, providing a framework for bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries across a range of strategic, operational, professional and non-military areas.”
Dawns services were held in Sandakan and at Penang where Australia maintains a military presence at Royal Malaysian Air Force Station Butterworth.
It is 102 years since members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps came ashore at Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War. The Gallipoli campaign cost the lives of more than 8,000 Australian soldiers with both sides suffering great losses and hardships.
It was also the first military action fought by Australia and New Zealand as nations.
Commander Griffiths said since those battles in Europe, Australia and Malaysia have forged strong and enduring defence links.
“The two countries have a long history of military co-operation pre-dating Malaysian independence when Australia helped in the region’s defence during the Second World War.
“Australia was also involved in the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s fighting a communist insurgency – at the time, this was longest continuous military commitment in Australian history, lasting 13 years,” he said.
The relationship between the two countries is an important one and continues to develop.