KUALA LUMPUR: The government has announced a one-off RM500 cash incentive payment for armed forces veterans ahead of the fasting month and Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.
Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said under the Bantuan Harapan Negara 2019 (BHN 2019), a total of RM79.68mil has been allocated for the initiative.
It is set to replace Bantuan Bakti Negara 2017 and Sumbangan Veteran Pencen 2017, which are initiatives introduced under the previous government.
He added that these are among the ongoing efforts to recognise the contribution, loyalty and sacrifice of the armed forces veterans to the country.
"Although we face financial challenges, we will still try to find a way to look after the welfare of our veterans," he said in his closing speech on the motion of thanks on the Royal Address in Parliament on Monday (April 1).
Mohamad said that the initiative is expected to benefit some 159,368 armed forces veterans regardless if they receive their pensions or not.
"Those who are eligible will receive a one-off RM500 cash each. This will benefit more individuals compared with only 43,000 veterans without pension under the Bantuan Bakti Negara 2017," he said.
Mohamad added that the Department of Veteran Affairs had been tasked with distributing the aid while the applications will officially begin on April 19.
"The payment will be made on May 27 and hopefully, this small gesture will ease the burden of armed forces veterans during the fasting and Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations," he added.