KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Kedah state executive councillor in charge of tourism Mohd Asmirul Anuar Aris today oversaw the removal of a signboard at a Japanese war monument which had described its soldiers involved in the invasion of Malaya as “heroes”.

“I instructed and personally removed the signboard to quickly rectify the matter so that it does not become an issue,” Malaysiakini reported him saying, explaining that the word “heroes” will be amended to “soldiers” on the replaced signboard.

Asmirul told the news portal that the monument had existed since under the former Barisan Nasional (BN) administration and restoration works were on behalf of the Japanese consulate, as it was previously dirty and covered in shrubs.

A description board in three languages — Bahasa Malaysia, English, and Japanese — was set up as part of the restoration project, describing the soldiers commemorated by the monument as “heroes”.

The sign explains the memorial commemorating the act of Commander Platoon Lieutenant Hajima Asahi and two others, who died in an attempt to secure what was then known as the Alor Setar bridge on December 13, 1941.

The unveiling event last week was organised by the Consulate-General of Japan in Penang’s office, the Kedah chapter of the Malaysian Historical Society (PSMCK) and the Kedah State Museum.

Asmirul said the Japanese consulate will be informed of the changes made to the signboard and that an anti-war message will also be placed later at the site.

“We will put up an anti-war board. It will serve as a lesson for the future generation to stand against war and racial sentiments that could lead to war and disharmony,” the Kubang Rotan state assemblyman was quoted by the portal.