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The Jesselton Uprising that was launched by the resistance movement known
as the Kinabalu Guerrillas against the Japanese Army on 9 October 1943 was
a momentous event that took place in the state of Sabah, Malaysia during the
Japanese occupation. The uprising left a lasting legacy in the memories of the
people of Sabah. It also influenced subsequent events in the state, as well as the
manner in which the past is recognised and remembered in Sabah and the
country. The revolt was one of the few anti-Japanese movements in Southeast
Asia led entirely by civilians in an occupied territory.The multi-ethnic nature of
the uprising is probably its most important legacy and for this reason the
Kinabalu Guerrillas and the rebellion were remembered and commemorated
first by the returning British colonial administration, and sustained after
independence. The Petagas War Memorial with the annual remembrance
ceremony on 21 January is the only war memorial in Malaysia that has been
continuously commemorated to honour the sacrifice of the resistance
movement since the war.

Danny Wong Tze Ken
is a Professor of History at the University of Malaya

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