Defence Ministry: Of course, we're taking care of veterans

PETALING JAYA: The Defence Ministry has rubbished allegations that the Pakatan Harapan government has forsaken Armed Forces veterans.

The ministry said problems facing the veterans had existed from the time of the previous administration.

“The Pakatan government, through the Veteran Affairs Department (JHEV), still continues to provide facilities and assistance for the veterans.

“Among the aid provided are Skim Bantuan Sara Hidup, Skim Bantuan Persekolahan, assistance for those who has fallen ill, as well as assistance during natural disasters,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 17).

The government has also allocated to the JHEAV RM78.9mil last year, and this amount has been increased to RM98mil through Budget 2019, which was announced on Nov 2 (2018), the ministry added.

“The government has also approved a special aid amounting to RM500,000 for veterans association.

“The government is also planning to increase the involvement of public and private agencies in order to ensure the welfare of the veterans,” it said.

The ministry also showed their concern for the veterans through the re-activation of the National Veterans Council, which met for the first time on Dec 24.

“The council, which is chaired by the Defence Minister, has formulated a strategy on the best ways to ensure that the welfare of the veterans are always prioritised,” the ministry said.

On Wednesday (Jan 16), former Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein claimed that the plight of army veterans appeared to be ignored by the Pakatan government.

He said it had been nine months, but there had not been any plans from the Defence Ministry regarding the welfare of veterans.

“When I was defence minister, the agenda of our veterans was something close to my heart. Health, children’s education, housing ... if the federal government wants to get rid of policies from my time, then it must be replaced with something better.

“But I have not seen what they (Pakatan) are capable of doing. If this goes on, the veterans will become the victims,” he had said at a press conference after having breakfast with army veterans from Felda Sungai Koyan on Wednesday.