Until today, neither hide nor hair of the estimated RM207 billion Japanese compensation, for using over 30,000 Malayans as forced labour for the infamous Death Railway from Siam to Burma during World War II, has been seen by surviving victims or their heirs, claimed former Perak menteri besar Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin.
"We don't know if the money is still in the keeping of the government or has been disbursed to the victims.
"There were 30,000 that survived to come back to Malaysia, though some had died, they have heirs who formed the Association of former labourers and heirs of the Siam-Burma 1942-1946 railway construction," Nizar was quoted in a Harakahdaily report.
According to records, Nizar (right) detailed that out of the some 30,000 survivors, 60 percent are Malays, 20 percent Indians, 15 percent Chinese and five percent from other races.
If his calculation holds true, heestimated that each family stands to receive at least RM 3 million each.
Since their official registration on January 11, 2011, the association involved had applied several times to recover the monies from the Malaysian government, which had accepted the compensation from the Japanese government, but to no avail.
No explanation from gov't
Nizar said that until today, they do not know if the compensation is in the national treasury of Amanah Raya, as no explanation has been given by the government despite repeated applications by the NGO representing the Death Railway victims and their heirs.
This, he said is despite the Japanese embassy already confirming that the monies had been transferred to the Malaysian government long ago.
He claimed he has met with Japanese embassy officials and has sighted official documents which detailed the transfer.
During World War II, the Japanese occupation authority had conscripted Malayans as forced labour and used prisoners of war to build the infamous Death Railway, which it needed to bolster its supply route for its forces in Malaya and nearby Asian countries.
Tens of thousands of labourers suffered greatly in the process with many perishing in the effort.
Stories depicting the harrowing tale behind the construction of the infamous railway was immortalised in Landasan Maut, a local novel by Salleh De Ran and the Hollywood movie Bridge on the River Kwai.