Are veteran's rights and welfare issues being compromised by the 'VIPs' within them?

26 May 2022 06:20pm
Farhash Wafa Salvador
Farhash Wafa Salvador

There has been some confusion over images of army veterans allegedly being left with packed meals under hot sun, while VVIPs dined full-service in an air-conditioned hall on May 24, the day the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans' Association (PVATM) held their 100-year anniversary celebrations.

This provides an opportune moment for us to reflect on the actual plight of our armed forces veterans.

While I do not want to be embroiled in the controversy over those images, I wish to remind the stakeholders involved of the long-standing plight of our armed forces veterans which are yet to be resolved, mainly pertaining to bread-and-butter issues of welfare.

What seems to be the majority voice of the veterans, those calling for their welfare issues to be resolved with allocations in tune with current economic conditions, continue to fall on deaf ears, forcing several quarters among the veterans' themselves to go to the extent of organising rallies for their voices to be heard.

Not only has the Defence Ministry not resolved these issues comprehensively, the Armed Forces Veteran Association (PVATM) has not been seen to champion the cause of getting the government to address them.

Several days prior to the May 24 celebration, PVATM president Datuk Sharuddin Omar issued a statement disassociating PVATM from rallies organised by six veterans' groups fighting for their welfare issues to be resolved.

Such rallies should not happen if Sharuddin and his association were at the forefront, fighting for those issues to be resolved.

I hope PVATM do not become disengaged from the plight of the armed forces veterans as their welfare issues have been dragging on for far too long.

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I doubt that resolving the veterans' issues would require an allocation substantial enough to compromise the Defence Ministry's annual budget.

Thus it is a matter of getting the veterans their deserved slice of the Keluarga Malaysia cake.

My heart goes out to the thousands of army veterans who have risked and sacrificed life and limb for our beloved nation.

The Keluarga Malaysia cake or its very definition, must not be lost in translation with regards to them.

Farhash Wafa Salvador is the former Perak PKR chief. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar Daily.