Armed forces veterans step up for comrades

(From left) Zaharin, Alizuren, Muhammad Shafiq, Amran, Athiappan, Balasubramaniam, Azmi and Fudarizi at the food aid handover at Masjid Nurul Yaqin in Petaling Jaya.

TRUE to the testament of their comradeship, a group of Malaysian armed forces veterans have banded together to help families of other veterans in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Using their WhatsApp chat group, 51 retired officers -– all of whom had been cadets from the batch SSC28 (Army and Air Force) along with those from Navy 16 –- initiated the call and pooled their resources for the effort.

In only a few days, through an ad-hoc working committee, the group comprising Royal Malaysian Army veteran Major (Rtd) Faharuddin Mohamad Rashid, Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) veterans Major General (Rtd) Datuk Zaharin Ahmad, Lt Col (Rtd) Fudarizi Johari, Major (Rtd) Azmi Abdul Rahman, Major (Rtd) K. Suppramaneam and Major (Rtd) Alizuren Abdullah, along with Royal Malaysian Navy veteran Commander (Rtd) Tang Jut Weng raised RM8,000 to purchase essential groceries for 100 families.

Azmi said the group’s objective was to assist the families of former military personnel, of various ranks, who were in need and help sustain them.

He said they also hoped that the gesture would inspire others in the community to assist those badly affected by the pandemic in any way they could.

The food aid was presented by the committee to beneficiaries Persatuan Veteran Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (PVTUDM) Kuala Lumpur dan Putrajaya, PVTUDM Selangor, Persatuan Veteran India Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (Perim) Kuala Lumpur and Perim Selangor at Masjid Nurul Yaqin in Petaling Jaya with strict adherence to the standard operating procedure.

“During these difficult times, veterans have to take care of each other as not all of them have pensions as it depends on their rank and years of service,” said Azmi.

PVTUDM Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya chairman RMAF Brig-Gen (Rtd) Muhammad Shafiq Jahudi said the food aid would be distributed to part of their 400-plus members.

“Many of them really need the help as they are earning less than RM3,000 per family, with some of them over the age of 70.

“They include the widows of veterans and their families, as well as those who lost their jobs during the pandemic,” he added.

Former RMAF warrant officer and Perim Selangor chairman Athiappan Narayanan said Perim would distribute the food among the families of disabled veterans.

“We have about 150 members in the B40 category whom we have supported in the past. But this time, we will focus on those with disabilities because they cannot move around easily.

“This is also a critical time for many other members who happen to be lorry drivers, e-hailing drivers or small business owners.

“We are in talks with the Veteran Affairs Department to come up with some way to ease their burden,” Athiappan added.

Also present to receive the food aid were RMAF Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Amran Rashid and former RMAF warrant officer K. Balasubramaniam.

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