Patriot is thankful to the government for providing a one-time Bantuan Khas Kewangan (special financial aid) of RM300 to all veterans including those with no pension.
The finance minister announced this when he tabled Budget 2021 in Parliament. Much must be done to ensure those really in need of such aid receive the money, especially among the rank and file.
Although RM300 is not a big amount, it is better than nothing. Since 2019, all pension and non-pension veterans should have received a total of RM1,250.
The breakdown is as follows:
- Bonus 2019 – RM250
- Pingat Jasa Malaysia – RM500
- Prihatin – RM500
Veterans unaware of such payments should check with the Veterans’ Affairs Department (JHEV).
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It is doubtful that all veterans, including those non-pensioners, received the RM1,250 payout. JHEV might not have the records, including the bank account details of all veterans, especially those of the non-pensioners. There is an urgent need for JHEV to immediately update their records.
Patriot is concerned about those veterans who are elderly and have lost touch with their comrades. They might not be aware of this special financial aid of RM300. A large number of them live in rural and remote areas. Many do not have telephone contact numbers. In any case, attempts must be made to reach out to them. Even if the RM300 reaches them late, the gesture of recognition is more important – that they had once served and were prepared to die for the country.
Patriot humbly requests all veterans’ associations to work closely with JHEV in this matter. They should reach out to all their members for the purpose of updating the records.
Patriot would also like the Ministry of Defence and the government to seriously consider the plight of veterans who retired before 2004. There is a huge disparity in pension scale between those who retired before and after 2004. This matter has been brought up several times to higher authorities without any positive outcome. We implore Mindef and the government to seriously consider this matter.
Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd) is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)