Ha. ... siapa sudah curi ni?
The BN government has been told to explain the whereabouts of some RM207 billion paid by the government of Japan as compensation to some 30,000 Malaysians once recruited as forced labour during the Japanese occupation of Malaya.
According to Bukit Gantang member of parliament Mohamad Nizar Jamaludin, the money had been delivered to the Malaysian government a decade ago but neither the surviving victims nor their families had received any payment.
Nizar said that the sum had already been paid by Japan to Malaysia as early as 2004 because Bank Negara Malaysia had in that year issued a banker's cheque for the sum of RM107 billion and another RM100 billion in the form of Maybank shares, registered on December 13, 2004.
“30,000 Malayan citizens were involved in the construction of the railway," Nizar said, referring to the 'Death Railway', a 400-kilometre railway project by the Japanese occupation to connect Burma and Thailand.
Citing a letter sent by an association representing Death Railway victims and their kins to prime minister Najib Razak dated July 27 last year, Nizar revealed that the Prime Minister's Department had followed it up with the Human Resouces ministry in August 2011.
Speaking at the parliament, Nizar (left) also claimed that all parties including the Attorney General had agreed that the money should be disbursed to the intended recipients.
"If the matter was tabled and approved by the cabinet, why should the money be kept by the Treasury for so long?" asked Nizar.
The former Perak Menteri Besar added that the father of Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, the current Chief Judge of Malaya, was one of the recipients, being a former forced labourer during the Japanese occupation of 1942-1945.
"He now lives in Ipoh and can relate the hardship experienced by the 30,000 citizens," Nizar added.
Nizar reminded the BN government that by further delaying the release of the money to the victims, it was betraying the people's trust, adding that the governments of Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, whose citizens were also part of the Death Railway, had already distributed the compensation money to the victims.