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7th Rangers: Veterans rally for pensions review, many in B40 category - 6th June 2022
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Veterans rally for pensions review, many in B40 category - 6th June 2022
Monday, June 06, 2022

Malaysiakini : Hundreds of armed forces veterans rallied in front of the National Monument in Kuala Lumpur this morning and called on the government to review the military pensions system.

They said under the scheme, most of the over 300,000 military retirees are living in poor conditions and are part of the B40 income group. Rally organising committee deputy chairperson Mior Rosli Mior Jaafar, who is a retired air force major, in his speech at the rally said the country’s leaders should not forget the veterans’ contributions to Malaysia.

“We had fought to defend this nation, but we are left to fend for ourselves (after retirement). Many of our members had lost their limbs (during service). We have over 300,000 veterans in this country, but three-quarters of them are in the B40.  “We voted for our wakil rakyat (people’s representatives) and they should be fighting for our welfare, instead of forgetting about us,” he said, to the cheer of some 1,500 rally participants.

The group, which called itself Suara Veteran, had several demands including for the government to increase the pension rate for pre-2013 pensioners and give pensions to those who served the armed forces less than 21 years. Under the current policy, only those who served for a minimum of 21 years in the military are entitled to get a monthly pension.

Speaking at a press conference later, Mior, a former commando who pioneered the air force's special forces unit Paskau, said the pension rate gap between those who retired before 2013 and those after was too big.

Rally organising committee deputy chairperson Mior Rosli Mior Jaafar

According to him, the government had reviewed the pay scale for armed forces members in 2013, where those still serving then got about a 60 percent hike in their monthly salary. However, pensioners then only got a 2 percent increase, Mior said. “So those who were in service then, when they retired in 2014, they get pension according to their salary, which is 60 percent more. The gap is so big.

“We are not jealous of them getting a bigger amount, but the law says that when those in service get a salary hike, pension rate must also follow suit to bridge the gap. “Now, (with the current scale) those who retired (before 2013) with the rank lieutenant colonel and below are considered as B40,” he added.

As an example, Mior said he retired with the rank of major in 1995 with a monthly pension of RM1,100. Today, he receives RM2,030 a month. “Our second demand is for the government to give pensions to those who did not get their pension. Like I said this morning, it is a system in the armed forces where officers and other enlisted personnel who served less than 21 years were not entitled to get a pension.

“And third, this is something that is very sad. In the military, we are a very disciplined organisation. Those who commit offences must be punished. “But, we were not given any opportunity to be pardoned. And now, in 2012, (the government) came up with the Veteran Act 2012 which says anyone who was dismissed due to disciplinary matters, they are not entitled to be considered veterans. “When this happens, it affects not only the person but also his wife and children who lose out on benefits,” he added.

According to Mior, there is a provision under the law that allows the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to pardon military officers and personnel who committed wrongdoings, but he had not heard of anyone getting a pardon ever since he joined the armed forces in 1974.

He also compared the government’s treatment of soldiers with that given to Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, a Malaysian convicted for drug trafficking in Singapore, for whom the prime minister and the Agong had written letters to the republic to ask for him to be spared the gallow.

“I am very disappointed. When I heard about this case, where a convicted drug offender was arrested and set to be hanged in Singapore, the government, the prime minister, and also the foreign minister wrote to the other country to ask for him to be pardoned.

“But we soldiers, none had ever been pardoned here.”

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 2:55 PM  
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