Tomorrow we commemorate Malaya and Borneo Veterans’ Day and recognise the Australian military personnel who fought in the Malayan Emergency (1948-60) and the Indonesian Confrontation, or Konfrontasi (1962-66).
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said while these two post-Second World War conflicts might not be well-known in the Australian community, it is important we thank those who served in Malaya and on Borneo, and the families that supported them.
“In 1948, a state of emergency was declared in Malaya after the Malayan Communist Party launched an insurgency against British colonial rule,” Mr Chester said.
“Australia’s role in the Emergency started in 1950, and involved elements of all three services – Navy, Army and Air Force – to bring the insurgency to an end.
“While the Malayan government declared the Emergency over in 1960, Australian forces continued operations against communist forces in Malaya until 1963. Tragically, 39 Australians died during the Emergency.”
The Indonesian Confrontation, a small undeclared war, started in 1962 when an Indonesian-backed coup was launched against the pro-British Sultanate of Brunei.
“Australian involvement in the Confrontation started in 1964 and, in 1965, along with other Commonwealth troops, they conducted small-scale operations in the thickly forested terrain of Borneo – an experience that would inform the conduct of operations in Vietnam,” Mr Chester said.
“Although the situation had stabilised by the end of 1965, events within Indonesia led to an official end to the conflict in the following year when a treaty between Indonesia and Malaysia was signed. During the Confrontation more than 20 Australians died.
“On a day dedicated to remembering your service during these conflicts, Australia reflects on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and says thank you to all those who served.”