KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVATM) is hoping that there will be an increase in the subsistence allowance for its B40 veterans, and pension adjustments in Budget 2023.
Besides that, the association has also requested that the issue of Pingat Jasa Malaysia recipients’ allowance be given consideration, said its president Datuk Sharuddin Omar.
He said the tabling of Budget 2023 on Oct 7 was highly anticipated by veterans across the country because the three requests concerned their welfare.
“We want this Budget to benefit all veterans,” he told Bernama.
Sharuddin said that PVATM previously had fought for five things, out of which two of them, namely the improvement of derivative pension and the establishment of an advisory panel to consider the application of former soldiers to be recognised as MAF veterans, were met.
On the pension adjustment for soldiers who retired before 2013, former Nuri helicopter pilot Mejar (Rtd) Dr Nor Ibrahim Sulaiman said the government should consider this in the Budget because it affected the daily life of retirees.
“For example, I retired in 1992 after serving for 25 years.
“The maximum basic salary for the rank of Mejar at that time was RM2,584.
“This means that the pension, which was 50% of the basic salary, was RM1,292, he said.
“Until 2013, the government gave a 2% adjustment every year. Only after 26 years of retirement, I get to enjoy a pension of RM2,682. This means I belong to the B40 category,” he said.
He hoped the government would give consideration to the veterans’ request.
A former soldier who once served in the first peacekeeping mission under the United Nations in Congo, Ariffin Taib hoped that the welfare of military retirees, especially from the health aspect, is not overlooked.
“The facilities and services at the MAF hospital for military personnel and retirees are very good.
“However, in terms of pharmaceuticals, there are medicines that are needed after receiving treatment in the hospital that are difficult to obtain and costly too.
“In my case, after receiving treatment at a government hospital, there are drugs or supplements that need to be bought outside, the price of which is not cheap,” he said.
Ariffin hoped the government would consider introducing initiatives to ensure that their medication could be obtained cheaply and easily, since not all veterans have the means to get them.
Meanwhile, defence analyst Dr Azmi Hassan said better skill training allocations needed to be provided for military personnel who were about to retire so that they could explore other career opportunities, especially in fields related to high technology.
He said that veterans needed to be equipped with the latest skills, especially in the technical field, to meet the development of technology and future needs of the industry.