Veterans around the world risk their lives for a better nation.
However, on 6 June, around 500 veterans gathered at Tugu Negara as a sign of protest. The peaceful assembly was for them to request welfare, equal rights and pay for the veterans.
More specifically, these are what they were asking for:
- Pension adjustment,
- Rights to be given to ex-army officers who are not recognised as a veteran,
- A pardon for ex-army officers who have been discharged under disciplinary issues.
The pension adjustment is needed as there is a big pension rate gap between officers who retired in 2013 (only given a 2% increase) and 2014 (given a 60% hike). Other than that, those who served less than 21 years in the army are not eligible for a monthly pension.
Retired Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) officer Major Mior Rosli said that he has been fighting for these 3 things for 8 years already.
“I don’t have any other choice and if I need to see the minister again, then it would be the same. Going here and there, turning round and round without a solution.”
The retiree also said that there are 330,000 military retirees who have been denied their rights and about 135,000 of them do not have pensions, as reported by Astro Awani.
According to Sinar Daily, he added that most of them were living in poor conditions and are in the B40 income group.
Meanwhile, another protester named Kamaruddin added, “We were at the frontlines fighting the communists but it seems that what we did is not appreciated.”
However, this group has made it clear that they are apolitical and that the assembly was not to threaten the Ministry of Defence, according to Utusan Malaysia.
“This protest is not to blackmail the Ministry of Defence but it has been 8 years since I started fighting using the right channels but it didn’t work.”
“These are the heroes of our nation and they have contributed much to the foundations of it, why are we not protecting their welfare?”
In a latest development by Free Malaysia Today, Dang Wangi district police chief Noor Dellhan Yahaya said that an investigation paper has been opened under Section 9 of the Peaceful Assembly Act which states that organisers should notify the relevant district police chiefs at least 10 days prior to an assembly.
Failure to do so will result in a fine of less than RM10,000.
Up till now, 6 people have given their statements to the police and the authorities are tracking others attendees to help with the investigations.
Do you think that veterans deserve much more? Let us know in the comments.