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Media Release: AAA-AMBC Sabah Tour 2016


Members of the Australian-Asian Association (VIC) and the Australia Malaysia Business Council (VIC) will visit Sabah, Malaysia from 11 - 20 August 2016. This friendship tour offers delegates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to know Sabah and its peoples at an intimate level.

The tour starts in Sandakan, Sabah, a town of significance in the history of Australia. The fall of Singapore in 1942 during WW2 led to a number of Australian servicemen from ‘B’ Force being sent to the Japanese POW camp in Sandakan. By August 1945, approximately 1800 Australian and 640 British servicemen had perished during the atrocious ‘death marches” from Sandakan to Ranau.

Joining Deputy Australian High Commissioner Angela MacDonald, the tour delegates will attend the Memorial Service to commemorate the end of WW2 on 15 August 2016 at the invitation of the President of the Sandakan Municipal Council.

Tour delegates will also have the opportunity to explore Sabah's natural beauty, and visit the world famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. A very special day in Tambunan - the heartland of the Kadazan-Dusun people - will enable delegates to experience the rich culture and warm hospitality of Sabah’s main indigenous people group.

Also planned in Kota Kinabalu on 19 August is an official AMBC visit to the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority and a dinner with the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu and several former Colombo Plan students hosted by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan. The Rotary Club of Melbourne shares a history with AAA in their support and hosting of Colombo Plan students from South East Asia during the 1960s.

Tour organisers, Stella Wong of AAA, and Nathanael Kitingan of AMBC, both of whom have roots in Sabah, spoke about the upcoming tour. “I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to promote closer ties between the people of Australia and Sabah - the two places which are closest to my heart”, said Stella. “The Australian Asian Association (whose President for over 30 years was the legendary Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop) was founded in 1956 by the then Minister for External Affairs, The Hon. Lord Casey, to promote friendship, understanding and goodwill between the people of Australia and Asia. On our 60th anniversary this year, AAA is very happy to mark the occasion with this special tour.”

“Given Australia and Sabah’s long historical and cultural ties, the tour will be a great chance to also strengthen business, investment and people-to-people links. Sabah has much to offer the world and this is an exciting way to showcase it,” Nathanael added.


Stella Wong
Vice President
Australian-Asian Association (VIC)
Mobile: +61 404 169 839

Nathanael Kitingan
Executive Board Member
Australia Malaysia Business Council (VIC)
Mobile: + 61 448 004 648