To Do Away With The Political Baggage

Sultan Yem & Ayah & Anak

It has been an interesting week indeed.  The long awaited dissolution of the Parliament has happened.  The announcement by the Elections Commission that the polling day will fall on a Wednesday has gotten people excited over nothing.  This would be the sixth general elections that is held on a work day since Independence.  That is six out of 14.  And half of that were done during Mahathir’s time.

Many cry foul saying that it would be almost impossible for them to make the trip back to wherever they came from just to vote, and then go back to where they actually reside. Justice, they say, without even thinking about the injustice they do to their kampung folks who have to endure five excruciating years of having a representative who may be worse than the last guy.

If you don’t want the hassle of having to travel back to vote, register as a voter where you actually live.

Having said that, what was more interesting was the recent Facebook post by His Royal Highness The Tengku Mahkota of Johor that called upon the people of Johor NOT to vote for a party or coalition that would allow Mahathir to win.  That got people riled up.  Prior to this, when the Tengku Mahkota Johor, or TMJ as he is fondly known as, speak out against the ruling government, even those who do not believe in the Rulers Institution would comment “Daulat Tuanku” in a reply.  The very same people now attack HRH.

I am not fond of the royalty speaking out in such manner because I believe that even though their Highnesses may be opinionated, they should remain to be seen neutral.  However, the famously-written lines by Walter Bagehot comes to mind:

…that the monarch has three rights: the right to be consulted, to encourage, and to warn”.

This is noted by Mark R Gillen of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria (Gillen 1994:7). In the words of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, former Lord President, it is:

“a mistake to think that the role of a King, like that of a President, is confined to what is laid down by the Constitution, His role far exceeds those constitutional provisions” (Azlan Shah 1986:89)

Therefore, it is within the rights of the TMJ to warn the people of Johor on what he thinks could be dangerous to them, and to the unity of the people of the state.

If Barisan wishes to capitalise on this matter, I would say that the timing is a bit off as it was done far too early in the game.  You now see posts being shared on WhatsApp attacking not just the present Sultan, but also his late father, grandfather of the TMJ.  Mahathir, too, was quick to comment saying that the posting by the TMJ would only work in Pakatan’s favour.

Or so he thinks.

Mahathir’s tiff with the Johor Istana predates even Syed Saddiq’s existence.  Two years after becoming the Prime Minister, Mahathir sought the agreement of the late Sultan of Perak for the latter to become the Yang DiPertuan Agong, replacing the Sultan of Pahang whose tenure was ending the following year.  Running simultaneously was a campaign to put the late Sultan of Johor in a bad light, in order to gain the support of the masses for the Prime Minister’s effort.

The relationship between Mahathir and the late Sultan of Johor was so bad that it prompted some ranks within the military to plan a coup in August 1983.  The Chief of Army, General Tan Sri Dato’ Zain Hashim, an illustrious officer, retired at the young age of 52 in January 1984, and was replaced for just over a year by General Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Ghazali bin Haji Che Mat, who was in turn replaced when he was made the Chief of the Armed Forces, by Mahathir’s brother-in-law, General Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Mohamed Hashim bin Mohd Ali.  By then, the army was firmly under someone loyal to Mahathir.  Hashim later became the Chief of Armed Forces.

I know of some details of the planned coup, but was asked to keep them confidential.

No, this does not show that the Armed Forces should only be loyal to the Rulers; on the contrary it shows that the Armed Forces should also be loyal to the government of the Yang DiPertuan Agong simply because Cabinet Ministers, according to Article 39 of the Federal Constitution, represent the Yang DiPertuan Agong and are given executive powers to administer the country on His Majesty’s behalf.  Therefore, loyalty shall be given by the Armed Forces to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

The rest of what Mahathir did or tried to do to the Johor Royal Family are as posted by the TMJ.  His glaring lack of love for any royal family goes back to as early as the Second World War period where he began his fight against Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first premier and a member of the Kedah royal family.  In recent episodes,  Mahathir attacked Johor’s Forest City project by creating fear amongst the masses saying that there will be an influx of Chinese immigrants once the project is completed, and then attacked people of Bugis descendants that include not only Najib Razak, but also the Sultans of Johor and Selangor saying that “Bugis pirates should go back to their land“.

The Sultan of Johor criticised Mahathir for playing the race card, while the Sultan of Selangor rebuked Mahathir for the comments made about the Bugis people.

Mahathir remained unapologetic on both occasions.

He is an angry man and will burn the whole country with his anger,” said the Sultan of Selangor in a statement and said his sentiment was shared by all members of the Rulers institution.

When asked about the Sultan’s statement by members of the press, Mahathir replied, “Yes, I am a very angry man, you can see how angry I am. I will burn you, I am always burning things.”

Yes, Mahathir would burn anything down, as long as he gets his way.  He does not care if the country is razed to the ground.  All this is because Mahathir is a man who is running out of time.

Before stepping down 15 years ago, he wanted a Prime Minister who would do his bidding, and protect him  and his family from any probe or investigation, even after he is gone.  When Abdullah Ahmad Badawi refused, he dislodged the latter from the premiership.  In came Najib Razak who has his own ideas on how this country should be run, and made better.  Mahathir, not accustomed with partnering with dissenters, tried to remove Najib.  It was a multi-pronged attack, reinforcing the attacks that were already being done by the Opposition.

He then made a pact with Muhyiddin and Shafie.  He knew that he could not rely on Zahid Hamidi as he was the one who arrested Zahid under the ISA.  Hishammuddin’s loyalty to his cousin is unquestionable.  He undermined the UMNO leadership hoping that Najib would be ousted, and he would plant Muhyiddin on the throne, and his family would be safe again.

Unfortunately, that plan failed miserably.  Najib regained his footing and charged back.  Both Muhyiddin and Shafie lost their jobs and subsequently left UMNO.  Mahathir and his family were now vulnerable to probes and investigations.

And that is why he is adamant on becoming the next Prime Minister – so that he could guarantee a successor who would continue to protect his family.

Why else would a “principled man” break all his principles and work hand-in-hand with his enemies whom, in his knowledge, are bent on destroying the culture and tradition of the Malay people, perhaps the Rulers institution too?

Certain former top brass would remember a particular golf game where the late Sultan Iskandar said to them that we should not have a Presidential system (in Malaysia) and (must) do away with the “political baggage”.

We wonder what the late Sultan meant, but I don’t think I have problems identifying whom he meant by that.

But one thing for sure, Mahathir would rather apologise to Ambiga for using the K-word than to apologise to their Majesties.

See where he puts the Malay Rulers compared to Ambiga.

DAP Benefitted From Military Camps

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 23.48.38

Recently Kluang Member of Parliament Liew Chin Tong slammed Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein for denying that an army camp was being built in Paloh, a state seat in the latter’s constituency of Sembrong.  Liew Chin Tong implied that the army camp is being built for political purposes.

“This proves that Barisan Nasional (BN) is using these army camps to increase voters in constituencies that it won with thin majorities in the 13th general election,” Liew told a press conference last week.

He said the inclusion of the army personnel in Paloh would increase the electorate by over 1,000 voters.

“In Paloh, DAP lost only by a few hundred votes and these new voters will result in another BN win,” he added.

The fact is that while members of the Malaysian Armed Forces swears its allegiance to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, His Majesty’s Government (the Government-of-the-Day), and the Country, each member of the Malaysian Armed Forces are free to vote for whom they are politically-inclined to support.  Therefore, having a military camp/base does not guarantee you any solid support for votes.  I had written at length on this issue of allegiance in a recent blog post.

Perhaps it would be good for Liew Chin Tong to admit that he won Kluang against the Barisan Nasional in 2013 because of the presence of a huge army camp, namely Kem Mahkota, that houses the 61st Royal Artillery Regiment as well as the 881st Regiment, Malaysian Army Aviation.

Come to think of it, out of the 89 Parliamentary seats won by the then-Pakatan Rakyat during the 13th General Elections four years ago, at least 18 parliamentary constituencies have major military camps/bases in them.  That is 20 percent of the total of parliamentary consituencies held by the Pakatan candidates. Here is the list that I have compiled:

Senarai Kem Tentera Bawah PH 2013

Let us take for example the Lumut Naval Base which is under PKR.  That base alone had 14,231 registered voters while PKR’s Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid won 40,308 votes.  Why didn’t Barisan Nasional win there?

Perhaps Liew Chin Tong should also inform all Malaysians that out of the 18 constituencies with major military camps/bases that was won by the Pakatan back in 2013, eight seats were won by the DAP. That is 44 percent!  Despite being the other “Malay” party within the Pakatan, PKR managed only seven seats or 38 percent. PAS could only get three then but one of those seats, Shah Alam, is now firmly under Khalid Samad of Amanah after he betrayed his oath to remain in PAS if nominated as a candidate and would divorce his wife if he jumps ship.  Shah Alam is the home of a major Royal Malaysian Air Force base – Subang.

Pakatan and its supporters should just stop politicising the Malaysian Armed Forces.  As towns and cities are developed, old camps and bases are no longer strategic nor conducive to be inhabited.  How could Pakatan, advertising that it is all for rights and stuff, allow military personnel to live and work in deplorable and antiquated conditions?  And as development creep into their surrounding areas, military bases are no longer of any strategic value.  I have addressed this issue in a posting of mine and so has my friend Danny Liew in his recent posting.

So, wouldn’t DAP now like to offer a piece of land in constituencies held by it for Hishammuddin to build military bases or camps?

The Pick And Choose Patriot

Hishammuddin Hussein delivering his speech at the recent UMNO General Assembly

It is bad enough that there is a large number of non-Malays who do not have good command of the Malay language despite it being the National Language, and despite this nation’s being in existence for 60 years, but nothing can be worse than Malays who do not understand the language themselves.

Left-leaning media have been slamming the speech by UMNO Vice-President Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the Defence Minister, on the so-called deployment to Jerusalem in response to President Trump’s recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.

This began with the criticism by a group of political ex-soldiers calling themselves the National Patriots Association (NPA).  Its President, Brig-Gen Arshad Raji (Retired), said that Jerusalem is not a military issue to begin with.

The international conflict in Jerusalem is a political issue. It is best left to diplomacy to sort out this historical mess. If diplomacy fails, the next course of action can be international condemnation.  Blindly making a declaration to commit our troops is unwise,” he said.

I would like to know who authorised Hishammuddin to prepare the army to be deployed in the Middle-East? Was there a special session of parliament on this matter for the matter to be debated?” asked DAP’s P Ramasamy.

You can see how this issue is being played in Israel.  The Jerusalem Post reported it as:

The issue made headlines on The Jerusalem Post

Whereas, in relatively sober Malaysian media it reads as:

The not-so-kosher Malay Mail Online sought clarification on the matter with the Deputy Defence Minister

However, if one were to listen to the speech made by Hishammuddin, nowhere in the speech did he mention about committing the troops to defend Jerusalem.  All he said was if the need arises, if the King as The Commander-in-Chief decrees it, then the Malaysian Armed Forces is always ready to contribute in any manner.  You can listen to the part where this is mentioned from 18:19 to 19:47 of the following video:

The issue also sparked a debate between myself and a fellow defence blogger Danny Liew versus two of his Facebook followers who criticised the speech saying that our troops are not ready nor trained for desert warfare.

The truth is, our troops have had its fair share of desert operations that started off with the UNIIMOG mission of 1988-1991 to monitor the ceasefire between Iran and Iraq after a lengthy war.  This was followed by UNTAG in Namibia (1989-1990), a country named after the vast Namib Desert that makes up the most of its countryside. We still maintain our presence in the Western Sahara as part of MINURSO and we have been there since 1991.  We were deployed to monitor the Kuwait/Iraq border as part of UNIKOM, after the first Gulf War and were there from 1992 to 2003.  Don’t also forget that we were in Somalia from 1993 to 1994 as part of UNISOM, and this was where we saw full combat rescuing US troops from their disastrous unilateral operation at the Bakaara Market.  We have been deployed in South Lebanon as part of UNIFIL since 2007. And we are part of Exercise North Thunder in Saudi Arabia as part of the International Military Alliance To Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), a coalition that was formed to combat Da’esh.  You may read more about that HERE.

The NPA picks and chooses its quarrels, and the quarrels are mainly with the government despite Arshad Raji having said that they are apolitical.  But the apolitical nature of the NPA is the same as that of BERSIH.  It never attacks the Opposition.

The NPA is silent about DAP’s P Ramasamy who supported the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, a separatist movement in Indonesia whose aim used to be to liberate Aceh from Indonesia, and also supported the internationally-recognised terrorist organisation Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) otherwise known as the Tamil Tigers.

The NPA also claims to be loyal to the Rulers Institution and the Country.  Yet, they only provided deafening silence when U-Turn Mahathir and DAP’s running dog Zaid Ibrahim were rude towards the Sultan of Johor and Sultan of Selangor.  So, what are they patriotic about? Supporting a DAP-led coalition to form the next government?

The NPA is nothing more than just Mahathir lackeys

Maybe their pension is not enough to support them.

Defence: Pentingnya Mempertahankan Kedaulatan Negara

Operasi Daulat Mac 2013

Pada hari Selasa bersamaan 12 Februari 2013, sekumpulan 100 orang bersenjata yang diketuai oleh Haji Musa, orang kanan Mohammad Ismail A Kiram, anak keempat kepada Muhammad Fuad A Kiram, seorang yang mengangkat dirinya sendiri sebagai Sultan Sulu, telah mendarat di Kampung Tanduo, Tanjung Labian, di daerah Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Menurut laporan asal, mereka berkumpul di sebuah rumah milik Ahmad Malandi, yang juga dikenali sebagai ‘Mat Bom‘ bukan hanya kerana beliau sering menggunakan bom buatan sendiri untuk menangkap ikan, tetapi juga kerana pernah menyerang sebuah pejabat FELDA di FELDA Sahabat  dalam tahun 1990an dengan menggunakan bom ikan gara-gara tidak berpuas hati dengan pertikaian tanah pusaka dengan FELDA.

Saya pernah menulis bagaimana kumpulan pertama yang terdiri dari lima orang yang memakai jubah diiringi 27 orang memakai separa-celoreng telah medarat terlebih dahulu, diikuti sekitar 70 orang kemudiannya.  Kesemua mereka bersenjatakan M-14 dan AR-15.

Pasukan keselamatan membuat tembakan di sebalik perlindungan semasa Op Daulat

Pasukan keselamatan telah mula bertindak dengan Polis DiRaja Malaysia menggerakkan dua kompeni dari Pasukan Gerakan Am, dan disokong oleh pegawai dan anggota Tentera Darat Malaysia dari 5 Briged Infantri.  Rundingan dijalankan pihak PDRM untuk memujuk mereka meletakkan senjata dan menyerah diri kepada pihak polis.  Malangnya, pada 1 Mac 2013 para pengganas Sulu ini bertindak bertempur dengan pasukan Komando 69 PDRM di Kampung Tanduo, diikuti dengan serang hendap terhadap pegawai dan anggota Cawangan Khas PDRM di Kampung Simunul di Semporna keesokan harinya.  Pada 5 Mac 2013, peringkat ofensif oleh Angkatan Tentera Malaysia dan PDRM telah dilancarkan untuk menghapuskan para pengganas tersebut.

Salah seorang pengganas Sulu yang mampus ditembak oleh pasukan keselamatan Malaysia

Peristiwa berdarah tersebut telah berlalu lebih empat tahun yang lalu dan ramai yang sudah melupakan peristiwa tersebut.  Malah sejak berakhirnya peristiwa tersebut, ada juga pihak-pihak yang berbaik-baik dengan musuh negara yang nyata dengan memberi mereka pengiktirafan politik di negara mereka.  Alasan yang diberikan ialah peristiwa di Kampung Tanduo adalah ‘kisah lama.’ Begitulah celakanya sikap mereka yang durjana ini.

“Kisah di Kampung Tanduo adalah kisah lama,” kata Ahli Parlimen DAP, Teresa Kok

Sungguh malang nasib balu dan ibubapa 10 orang para pegawai dan anggota PDRM dan ATM yang terkorban di Lahad Datu mempertahankan kedaulatan negara.  Pengorbanan anak mereka, suami mereka, bapa kepada anak-anak mereka, diperlekehkan oleh mereka yang tidak berhati perut, hanya kerana kepentingan politik sempit mereka.

Salah seorang perajurit negara yang terkorban di Lahad Datu

Baru-baru ini dilangsungkan perbarisan penganugerahan “Battle Honour Daulat Februari 2013” di Kota Kinabalu.  Selain untuk menganugerahkan unit-unit ATM yang terlibat dalam Op Daulat dengan “Battle Honour,” ianya juga adalah untuk memberitahu kepada rakyat Malaysia, terutamanya di Sabah, bahawa kerajaan tidak memandang ringan tugas mempertahankan kedaulatan negara, dan juga memperingatkan semua bahaya pencerobohan yang dilakukan sama ada untuk peperangan konvensional mahupun peperangan asimetri.

Perbarisan penganugerahan “Battle Honour Daulat Februari 2013” di Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu pada 11 Ogos 2017

Lewat ini kita sering dapati sesetengah pihak yang tidak bertanggung jawab menyerang integriti serta moral pasukan keselamatan dengan menghina dan merendah-rendahkan kebolehan serta aset yang dimiliki pasukan keselamatan.  Mungkin mereka merasakan bahawa di dalam mana-mana peperangan, mereka tidak akan merasa sebarang kesusahan.

Kita ketahui terdapat anggota ATM dan PDRM yang tercedera dalam pertempuran semasa Op Daulat dilangsungkan tetapi tidak ramai yang mengetahui mahupun dapat menilai pengorbanan yang dilakukan oleh pasukan keselamatan kita untuk mempertahankan kedaulatan.  Ini bukannya cerita ‘Combat‘ mahupun ‘Rambo‘ di mana heronya akan mendapat luka-luka kecil tatkala bertempur, tetapi ada yang tidak sempurna anggota dan fungsi tubuh badan setelah terkena tembakan.

Berikut adalah di antara paparan yang mungkin tidak pernah dilihat oleh rakyat Malaysia sebelum ini, tetapi saya rasakan amat perlu ditunjuk supaya kita faham erti pengorbanan pasukan keselamatan kita.

Seorang anggota keselamatan Malaysia yang tercedera ditembak diberi rawatan oleh petugas Kor Kesihatan DiRaja
Seorang anggota pasukan keselamatan kita yang ditembak di dada diberi rawatan oleh petugas Kor Kesihatan DiRaja setelah peluru tersebut menembusi tubuh beliau

Sekiranya anda merasakan hanya para anggota keselamatan kita yang merasa pahit maung pertempuran, anda tersilap. Realitinya amat berbeza sekali.

Apabila hospital medan didirikan oleh Kor Kesihatan DiRaja di kawasan operasi, orang awam yang terdiri dari para penduduk di situ yang telah tercedera ditembak secara rambang oleh pengganas Sulu berduyun-duyun datang untuk mendapatkan rawatan kecemasan.  Di antara mereka termasuk kanak-kanak dan bayi yang menjadi mangsa keganasan pengganas Sulu.  Mereka langsung tidak berperi kemanusiaan terhadap para penduduk timur Sabah sedangkan mereka kata Sabah adalah hak mereka.

Seorang mangsa tembakan rambang pengganas Sulu mendapatkan rawatan setelah Kor Kesihatan DiRaja membuka hospital medan
Seorang kanak-kanak juga menjadi mangsa kekejaman peluru pengganas Sulu
Bayi yang tidak berdosa ini juga tidak terlepas dari keganasan para pengikut Kiram. Bayi ini telah kehilangan banyak darah semasa dibawa ke hospital medan ATM. Status bayi ini tidak diketahui sama ada selamat ataupun tidak

Rentetan daripada insiden di Lahad Datu inilah kerajaan mewujudkan ESSCOM untuk memantapkan kawalan keselamatan di timur Sabah.  Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein berkata inisiatif terbaharu kerajaan ialah dengan menempatkan 7,000 anggota Tentera Darat  dengan perlaksanaan Op Daratan, Op Balasah, Op Khas dan Op Pasir bagi mempertahankan daratan Sabah.  Satu kompeni infantri Tentera Darat juga telah ditempatkan di kawasan Cenderawasih, Lahad Datu untuk memastikan kawasan pantai Lahad Datu terkawal sepenuhnya.

Tambah beliau lagi, inisiatif Trilateral Maritime Patrol (TMP) telah dilancarkan oleh Malaysia bagi memastikan mana-mana anggota militan termasuk Da’esh tidak menjadikan Laut Sulu sebagai laluan tikus untuk menceroboh masuk ke negara ini manakala inisiatif Trilateral Air Patrol (TAP) akan dilaksanakan dalam masa terdekat.

Jangan kita lupa siapa musuh kita.  Jangan kita bersekongkol dengan mereka yang bersahabat dengan musuh yang tidak senang dengan kemerdekaan dan kesenangan yang kita kecapi.  Jangan kita termakan hasutan politik kebencian (politics of hate) yang diamalkan oleh sesetengah pihak yang sanggup berbaik-baik dengan musuh untuk mendapat pengiktirafan mereka.

Musuh dalam selimut: Nurul Izzah bersama dengan Jacel Kiram, anak “Sultan” Kiram yang sehingga kini menganggap Sabah sebahagian dari “kerajaan” Sulu

Jangan kita lupa pengorbanan pasukan keselamatan kita. Jangan jadikan pemergian mereka, dan juga pemergian para penduduk yang menjadi mangsa kekejaman pengganas Sulu sebagai pemergian yang sia-sia.  Berikanlah sokongan tidak berbelah bahagi kepada pasukan keselamatan kita, terutamanya Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, kerana musuh tidak membeza-bezakan di antara tentera dan rakyat Malaysia.

Kita semua adalah musuh mereka.

Berilah sokongan tidak berbelah bahagi kepada Angkatan Tentera Malaysia

Defence: Pengetahuan Bersuara; Kebijaksanaan Mendengar

Dua hari lepas, kerajaan telah mengumumkan skim-skim bantuan untuk para Veteran ATM (VATM) termasuk Skim Anuiti Veteran (SAVe), Bantuan Bakti Negara (BBN), penambahan kuota jemaah Haji Veteran, penambahbaikan bantuan kewangan untuk Veteran Kelainan Upaya sama ada semasa bertugas mahupun selepas meninggalkan perkhidmatan, serta peruntukan istimewa untuk Tabung Pahlawan sebanyak RM5 juta.

Enam inisiatif Veteran ATM yang telah diusahakan oleh kerajaan

Kemudahan yang diumukan ini akan dinikmati oleh seramai 288,952 orang VATM berdaftar setakat bulan Mei 2017, yang mana 118,371 atau 41 peratus adalah VATM berpencen manakala 170,581 atau 51 peratus adalah mereka yang tidak berpencen.  Malah, ianya merupakan suatu bonus terutamanya buat para VATM yang tidak menerima pencen bulanan sepertimana yang dinikmati oleh rakan-rakan mereka yang memilih untuk meneruskan perkhidmatan hingga layak pencen.

Kesemua inisiatif di atas kecuali yang berhubung dengan Tabung Pahlawan adalah dibiayai oleh Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), manakala Tabung Pahlawan membiayai inisiatifnya berdasarkan kutipan derma dari orang ramai, kerajaan dan pihak korporat.

Inisiatif-inisiatif tersebut adalah hasil keperihatinan pihak kerajaan terhadap para VATM, terutamanya VATM tidak berpencen yang paling ramai menghadapi kesempitan hidup.

Jika kita amati, golongan VATM yang tidak berpencen ini tidak menikmati bantuan sebanyak mana yang dinikmati rakan-rakan mereka yang berpencen.  Lihat sahaja kepada laman web Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran:

VATM yang berpencen sekurang-kurangnya menikmati faedah pencen setiap bulan dan juga menikmati kenaikan pencen setiap kali kenaikan diberikan.  Bagi VATM yang tidak berpencen, Bantuan Bakti Negara (dan SAVe bagi bakal VATM tidak berpencen) pengumuman kerajaan mengenai inisiatif-inisiatif ini amat bermakna, terutama sekali bagi VATM yang tergolong dalam kumpulan B40.

Namun, ada yang cuba menghasut kemarahan VATM sejurus selepas pengumuman tersebut dibuat dengan membandingkan RM200 yang diterima oleh para nelayan secara bulanan dengan purata RM100 yang diterima oleh VATM tidak berpencen melalui BBN.  Soalan saya kepada mereka ialah, adakah mereka yang menghasut ini mempunyai bot kecil untuk menangkap ikan di laman rumah mereka kerana RM200 bulanan kepada para nelayan itu adalah bantuan untuk menampung kos minyak enjin bot?

Sekiranya para nelayan yang menerima RM200 sebulan tersebut ada menerima skim-skim bantuan seperti yang saya senaraikan di bawah, maka bolehlah para VATM tidak berpencen tunjukkan kemarahan mereka:

  • Rawatan Perubatan Pesakit Luar/Dalam Yang Ditanggung oleh Kerajaan di Klinik dan Hospital termasuk di Institut Jantung Negara Sdn Bhd untuk VATM, isteri dan anak-anak di bawah umur 18 tahun atau 21 tahun jika masih belajar;
  • Skim Bantuan Sara Hidup bulanan bagi meringankan beban tanggungan sara hidup Veteran ATM dan tanggungan mereka yang daif, uzur, hilang upaya dan menghidap penyakit kronik berdasarkan kelayakan mengikut kiraan Pendapatan Garis Kemiskinan (PGK) yang ditetapkan;
  • Skim Bantuan Persekolahan dan Kolej Vokasional Kebangsaan adalah bertujuan bagi membiayai anak-anak Veteran ATM yang kurang mampu untuk meneruskan pelajaran mereka di peringkat rendah dan menengah berasaskan kelayakan mengikut kiraan PGK yang ditetapkan;
  • Bantuan Kemasukan ke IPTA dan Politeknik membantu meringankan beban kewangan ketika pendaftaran kemasukan ke Universiti Awam/Politeknik bagi anak-anak Veteran ATM sebagai memberi galakan dan motivasi untuk meneruskan pengajian di peringkat lebih tinggi;
  • Bantuan Peralatan Pesakit bertujuan memberi bantuan kewangan sekaligus kepada Veteran ATM, isteri dan tanggungan untuk membeli peralatan bantuan sokonganseperti kerusi roda, tongkat, katil, tilam dan sebagainya;
  • Bantuan Bencana Alam bertujuan memberi bantuan kewangan sekaligus untuk meringankan beban dan kesusahan yang dialami oleh Veteran ATM akibat bencana alam seperti ribut, kebakaran dan sebagainya.

VATM berpencen mendapat lebih banyak faedah dari yang disebutkan di atas.  Kita boleh bayangkan betapa banyak yang dibelanjakan setiap bulan oleh kerajaan untuk menjaga kebajikan 288,952 orang VATM berdaftar.  Apakah nilai RM200 yang diperolehi 140,949 orang nelayan lebih besar?

Ini belum lagi termasuk Program Membaikulih Rumah Veteran 1Malaysia, Pembinaan Rumah Mampu Milik, Pembinaan Poliklinik Angkatan Tentera, Program Recognition Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) yang juga dilaksanakan di bawah Teras Kebajikan di bawah Lima Teras Hala Tuju Kementerian Pertahanan.

Pada 19 Mei baru-baru ini VATM yang mengalami kecederaan semasa Insurgensi telah menerima Bayaran Insentif Khas Insurgensi.  Sebanyak RM55 juta telah diperuntukkan untuk inisiatif ini dan 2,939 orang VATM atau waris mereka telah mula dibayar insentif ini.

Semasa mengumumkan enam inisiatif baru dua hari lepas, Perdana Menteri ada menyebut bahawa akan ada pengumuman-pengumuman lain berkenan inisiatif untuk membantu para VATM dalam masa terdekat.  Mungkin ramai tidak mendengar dengan teliti apa yang disebutkan oleh Perdana Menteri sehingga termakan hasutan dengan mudah mungkin kerana ingin mendengar apa yang diharapkan – termasuk kenaikan pencen.

Pada pendapat saya, sekiranya pencen dinaikkan, ia melibatkan satu perbelanjaan yang amat besar.  Bukan sahaja VATM berpencen yang harus diberi kenaikan pencen, malah sebarang pelarasan melibakan juga kakitangan awam, polis dan lain-lain anggota jabatan-jabatan lain yang telahpun berpencen.  Tanpa menaikkan kadar pencen, jumlah kakitangan kerajaan, tentera, polis dan lain-lain yang baru pencen memerlukan kenaikan jumlah yang perlu dibayar kepada para pesara baru ini dan saya menganggarkan kos penambahan tersebut adalah sebanyak RM3 billion setahun.

Inilah seperti saya nyatakan di atas sebabnya inisiatif-inisiatif di atas dibiayai oleh LTAT dan tidak melibatkan perbelajaan besar oleh pihak kerajaan.  Ini dapat dilakukan kerana kerajaan percaya pihak pengurusan LTAT bijak mengurus segala aktivitinya hingga dapat menjana pendapatan yang menguntungkan bukan sahaja anggota ATM yang masih bertugas, malah juga yang telah bersara.

Dan inisiatif-inisiatif ini, sepertimana dalam ucapan Menteri Pertahanan, akan diteruskan dan ditambahbaik dari masa ke semasa selagi kerajaan ini memegang tampuk pentadbiran.

Sepatutnya sebagai VATM kita merasa bangga dan berterima kasih kerana mereka di kalangan kita yang amat memerlukan bantuan melalui inisiatif-inisiatif tersebut mendapat perhatian kerajaan, sekalipun kita tidak layak menerima bantuan tersebut kerana kita berpendapatan lebih dari mereka.

Mungkin persatuan-persatuan veteran pasukan keselamatan lain juga rasa mereka memerlukan perhatian yang sama, maka bolehlah mereka ajukan kepada organisasi mereka yang seumpama LTAT untuk membiayai inisiatif-inisiatif yang boleh mereka fikirkan tanpa melibatkan kewangan kerajaan.

Kepada para Veteran ATM, jangan mudah terpengaruh dengan hasutan. 10 masalah tidak boleh diselesaikan sekaligus. Ianya perlu diselesaikan satu persatu.  Biar pengetahuan kita yang bersuara, bukan pembohongan; dan biar kebijaksanaan kita mendengar, bukan kebencian.

Defence: Nasib Veteran Angkatan Tentera Yang Tidak Berpencen Dibela Kerajaan

Najib berkata kerajaan Barisan Nasional yang ada sekarang akan terus mencari jalan untuk membela nasib para veteran ATM – gambar hiasan oleh Roy Azis Abd Aziz, pemberita Muin,Amizul,Khairul,Syakir (Utusan,Kosmo)
Veteran Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (VATM) yang sebelum ini memilih untuk menamatkan perkhidmatan mereka sebelum layak menerima pencen kerana telah sampai tarikh tamat tempoh perkhidmatan dan tidak lagi mahu menyambung perkhidmatan sehingga mencapai umur layak pencen.

Mereka bukanlah diberhentikan kerana melanggar undang-undang, tetapi telah mencapai tempoh minima yang diperlu mereka berkhidmat sebagai seorang tentera.  Mereka diberi wang yang telah mereka carum dalam Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, yang mana kerajaan juga mencarum sebahagian dari simpaan mereka ini yang akan digunakan untuk menyara kehidupan setelah meninggalkan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM).

Walaupun ramai yang berjaya tetapi ramai juga kecundang dalam kehidupan setelah keluar dari perkhidmatan ATM.

Kerajaan sememangnya ada membantu nasib VATM dengan bantuan-bantuan yang diperlukan seperti menanggung kos perubatan para VATM. Ramai yang tidak tahu bahawa kos perubatan mereka di klinik-klinik serta hospital-hospital kerajaan, isteri mereka serta anak yang masih ditanggung yang lahir semasa mereka masih di dalam perkhidmatan adalah ditanggung sepenuhnya oleh kerajaan.

VATM juga masih menikmati kemudahan pembelian dari kedai-kedai PERNAMA yang mana kebanyakan barangan dikecualikan dari cukai eksais, cukai kastam dan cukai jualan yang dapat membantu mengurangkan kos sara hidup, walaupun sudah lama menamatkan perkhidmatan.

Begitu juga dengan latihan-latihan serta kursus-kursus kemahiran yang diadakan secara percuma di PERHEBAT bagi membantu para veteran mendapat ilmu dalam bidang-bidang khusus di mana orang awam perlu membayar sekitar empat angka untuk mendapat sijil yang sama.

Malah khairat kematian dan bantuan sara hidup bagi balu dan anak-anak veteran ATM yang telah meninggal dunia yang memenuhi kriteria juga diberikan oleh kerajaan dan setakat ini lebih 5,000 keluarga telah menerima kemudahan ini.

Kemudahan ini dinikmati oleh seramai 288,952 orang VATM berdaftar setakat bulan Mei 2017, yang mana 118,371 atau 41 peratus adalah VATM berpencen manakala 170,581 atau 51 peratus adalah mereka yang tidak berpencen.

Paling kurang sejak empat tahun yang lalu setelah memperkenalkan Skim Veteran Tidak Berpencen 1 Malaysia (SVT1M), kerajaan cuba merangka satu lagi inisiatif yang baru untuk membantu nasib VATM yang tidak berpencen.  Hasilnya, hari ini Perdana Menteri Dato’ Sri Najib Razak telah mengumumkan dua inisiatif baru – satu untuk pegawai dan anggota ATM yang akan menamatkan perkhidmatan tanpa berpencen, dan inisiatif yang satu lagi adalah untuk para VATM tanpa pencen.

Untuk mereka yang bakal menamatkan perkhidmatan tanpa berpencen, syarat-syarat kelayakan Skim Anuiti Veteran (SAVe) akan diumumkan oleh Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran (JHEV) kepada anda.

Untuk para VATM yang tidak berpencen, anda boleh melihat syarat-syarat kelayakan serta soalan-soalan lazim mengenai skim Bantuan Bakti Negara di sini – Bantuan Bakti Negara (BBN).

Bagi para VATM dari kalangan anggota tetap dan bekas anggota Wataniah yang dikerah  sepenuh masa yang mana mereka berkhidmat kurang daripada 10 Tahun serta tidak menerima Pencen Perkhidmatan yang terpaksa diberhentikan awal daripada perkhidmatan akibat mengalami kecederaan dan kecacatan kekal sewaktu menjalankan tugas, sebelum ini mereka hanya menerima Skim Pencen Hilang Upaya sebanyak RM65 sahaja. Jumlah perolehan adalah berdasarkan kepada peratus kecederaan/hilang upaya yang dialami, pangkat dan gaji serta tempoh perkhidmatan ketika insiden berlaku.

Untuk golongan ini, Najib Razak mengumumkan penambahbaikan bagi Skim Pencen Hilang Upaya dan para VATM golongan ini akan mendapat kenaikan kadar pencen bermula antara 300% sehingga 800% untuk pembayaran pencen mereka. Ia melibatkan nilai minima dari RM500 sehinggalah nilai maksimum berjumlah RM2000.

Bagi VATM yang hilang upaya selepas menamatkan perkhidmatan pula, Insentif Veteran Kelainan Upaya yang diusahakan oleh Tabung Pahlawan PV ATM, Insentif yang selama ini berjumlah RM500 setahun dinaikkan kepada RM1,000 setahun yang mana pembayarannya akan dibuat dalam dua peringat setahun.

Lebih ramai juga VATM yang akan dapat peluang menunaikan ibadah Haji setelah Najib Razak mengumumkan kenaikan kuota jemaah Haji bagi VATM dari 100 orang sebelum ini kepada 400 orang setiap musim.

Selain itu, Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein mengumumkan bahawa selain bantuan-bantuan yang disalurkan melalui Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran ATM (JHEV) satu Call Centre juga akan diwujudkan di JHEV sebagai pemudahcara bagi para veteran serta keluarga untuk menghubungi JHEV untuk mengutarakan masalah yang mereka hadapi.

Najib Razak juga telah melancarkan Kempen Tabung Pahlawan 2017.  Sebanyak RM1.85 juta telah disumbang oleh pihak korporat termasuk Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, Weststar Sdn Bhd, Affin Bank, Boustead Plantations Berhad, Boustead Petroleum Marketing Sdn Bhd, Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd,  Tenaga Nasional Berhad dan Pharmaniaga Berhad.

Turut hadir dalam majlis tersebut termasuk Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Sri Mohd Johari bin Baharum, pucuk pemerintahan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, dan Pengerusi Persatuan Veteran Angkatan Tentera, Senator Laksamana Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor (Bersara).  Turut hadir adalah lebih kurang 20,000 orang Veteran ATM iaitu lebih dari 15,000 orang Veteran ATM tidak berpencen yang dijemput.



Defence: Appreciate The Men and Women Protecting The Nation

One of the things introduced by the Najib Razak administration is for Ministers to go down to the ground and meet with the frontliners, learn about the problems that they face as well as consider the proposals from them on how things can be done better.  The days of “I’m a Minister therefore I know better” or “You are new therefore you know nothing” are over.

Sun Tzu quoted in Chapter 10 of the ‘Art of War‘:

Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

Taking queue from both his boss and Sun Tzu, Minister of Defence Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein rushed off to Kuantan after the conclusion of the recent National Security Council meeting to rendezvous with the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu which was conducting a patrol in the South China Sea.  Despite the very limited time that he has, he made it a point to meet the frontliners to see how they are getting on while keeping the nation safe and secure during the fasting month.

Hishammuddin looking at the KD Lekiu before landing (taken from the Minister’s Twitter)

Hishamuddin, who was accompanied by the Chief of the Armed Forces  General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, and the Chief of Navy Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin RMN, landed on board the KD Lekiu at 5.30pm and was met by the Commanding Officer of the KD Lekiu, Captain Mohd Fadzli Kamal Mohd Mohaldin RMN who then gave the Minister a short safety briefing.

Hishammuddin saying goodbye to the crew of the EC725

When the Ec725 helicopter took off and flew by the starboard side of the KD Lekiu, Hishammuddin said, “That helicopter crew is excellent, and for it to be able to land on this ship shows great cooperation between the Air Force and the Navy.  That is how the services, the Army included, depend on each other for support.”

True enough. It was the first time that the KD Lekiu had accepted the EC725 on its flight deck.

On board the Minister spent his time talking to the officers and men, asking them how do they find spending Ramadhan and Aidil Fitri away from home.  There are times that the KD Lekiu, like many other man-o-wars in the navy, have to spend up to three months at sea away from home, regardless of the festive seasons.

This scene is repeated throughout the Minister’s visit – officers and crew asking for a photo op with the Minister and the latter is always obliging

Through the Royal Malaysian Navy’s “Rakan Maritim” (RAKAM) program where the maritime community especially the commercial fishermen work hand-in-hand with the Navy to provide information especially on crime at sea,  the fishing community has been providing such support especially through the “Initiatif Bertanya Khabar” (IBK) conducted by the individual naval vessels that are on patrol.  A fishing trawler that was hailed came alongside.

The Minister is seen helping a trawler crew come on board

Encik Ramli bin Isa and Fauzi bin Omar had been out at sea for four days with another crew member.  The moment they realised that it was the Minister himself whom had helped them up, their face lit up.  The Minister, General Raja Mohamed Affandi and Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman asked them how they were and if they find that the waters are safe from foreign elements.

I later asked the two fishermen of the Navy’s initiative.  They are very happy with it and find it reassuring that the Navy has been actively making its presence felt.  On meeting the Minister, they were very surprised that a Minister would want to even ask how they are.

I know he must be really busy but for him to make time to ask me how I am is like having a dream come true,” said Encik Ramli.

Hishammuddin later gave some food to the fishermen for them to break fast with.

Hishammuddin later had a talk with some of the crew which was also attended by the Commanding Officer and the Chief of Navy.  There, the Minister related to the men the government’s plans for the Navy, and how the Ministry is working hard to facilitate the Navy’s 15-to-5 transformation program.

DS Hishammuddin and TS Ahmad Kamarulzaman spend a few moments with the men of the KD Lekiu

Tan Sri Kamarulzaman is happy with the progress of the 15-to-5 transformation program where the Royal Malaysian Navy will limit its fleet types to just five instead of the current fifteen.  The program will see the RMN operating only Littoral Mission Ships, Littoral Combat Ships, New Generaion Patrol Vessels, Multirole Support Ships, and Submarines.

RMN’s 15-to-5 transformation program (courtesy of Senang Diri)

As we waited for maghrib prayers, Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin said to me, “I’m amazed by these navy people.  They stay months at sea guarding our waters.

I guess we’ll just have to make the public understand about what they do out here,” I replied.

The Minister frowned and replied with a sigh, “That is another matter. It is so difficult to get the public to understand wht these people do here, the hardship they have to go through. Imagine if these people are not here to do their duty. Mosul, Aleppo can happen here.”

It is so damned hard to get the support of the people, especially from the non-Malays, let alone to get them to join.  But when something happens, they would be the first to condemn, especially so in the case of the fatal crash that killed two of our RMAF pilots.

The usual comments made especially by the non-Malays about the Malaysian Armed Forces

How the realisation that without the Malaysian Armed Forces this country would be in ruins escapes them puzzles me.  It is because of these men and women that they are able to wake up in the morning and make money, and then go home to sleep peacefully.

Perhaps it is time for the National Service to be what it is – a two-year active duty upon attaining the age of 18, followed by a 10-year stint as reservists.  That would probably make them have a better understanding of the Armed Forces and love the country as something more than just a place to make money in.

In the meantime, the men of the KD Lekiu will continue to be vigilant so we can all wake up shamelessly in total ignorance of their existence.