‘How could RM207bil Death Railway fund vanish?’
- Susan Loone
- 3:50PM Jan 7, 2013
"How could RM207 billion meant to be distributed to ‘Death Railway’ workers disappear into thin air?"
Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy has added this toquestions being raised over the compensation said to have been put up by the Japanese government in the 1990s.
"Until now we have not been told what has happened to the money and how it has been distributed," he told a press conference in Penang today.
"The federal government needs to come clean on the issue and a royal commission should be set up to look into the matter. We need to have all the details … how could the money disappear into thin air, just like that?”
He said about 130,000 Malaysians are thought to have been victims of this "historical tragedy".
A large number had been sent over to work on the 415km railway – which was to link Thailand and Burma during the Japanese Occupation – but many did not return.
Constructed by Japan during World War II to support its forces in the Burma campaign, the building of the railway has claimed many lives, with many horror stories told and retold.
Ramasamy said he had researched and written about the issue in the nineties when he was in academia.
"I found many horror stories related to railway work. Many families suffered and (as for) those who (were married), some were abused by soldiers who were interested in (their wives)," he said.
Ramasamy said he will write to the Japanese embassy to query officials about the compensation.
A delegation will try and organise a meeting with the embassy to find out how the victims can be compensated properly, he added.