Stern action to be taken on members involved in unrecognised rallies, says veteran association president

PUTRAJAYA: Stern action will be taken against members of the Veterans Association of Malaysian Armed Forces (PVATM) who are involved in organising rallies that were not recognised by the leadership, said PVATM president Datuk Sharuddin Omar.

He said recently there were a handful of veterans who had reportedly formed groups to fight for veterans' welfare issues which they thought needed to be resolved by the government immediately but the struggle was different from each other.

"PVATM would like to stress that it is not involved with any group of veterans who fight for the welfare of veterans in the streets in an unbecoming manner.

"The concept of PVATM's struggle is very clear from past until now in fighting for any issue of veterans' welfare, that is, we will always take a sensible approach and negotiation to jointly find a 'win-win' solution," he told reporters after the Army Veterans Anniversary parade of the 100th Malaysian Armed Forces at Dataran Pahlawan Negara, here, on Saturday (May 21).

Sharuddin said this when asked to comment on the issue of a peaceful rally in the capital scheduled for June 6 and was expected to be attended by about 5,000 Armed Forces veterans to express dissatisfaction with the government for allegedly not looking after the welfare of retired, non-pensionable and retrenched soldiers.

He added that the five issues that PVATM fought for in appreciating their struggles and sacrifices were the adjustment of ATM veterans' pensions, subsistence allowances for non-pensionable veterans, the Pardon Board for ex-servicemen, improving derivative pensions for military widows and Pingat Jasa Malaysia commemorative allowance.

Sharuddin said the leadership and members of PVATM were mature and full of common sense in upholding the issues of veterans based on being firm in raising their issues, sensible in approach and open-minded as well as tolerant in dealing with decisions and constraints.

"PVATM has never acted or sponsored any group of veterans who made claims on veteran issues through reckless and unreasonable actions," he said.

PVATM is the oldest non-governmental organisation in Malaysia established on May 20, 1922, under the name Ex Services Association of Malaya by former British soldiers in Malaya after the first world war.

The association became an affiliate member of the British Empire Services League on May 22, 1922. PVATM now has 173,000 registered members nationwide.

The parade in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Armed Forces Veterans on Saturday involved 14 contingents representing 14 states with 600 participants. - Bernama

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