KOTA KINABALU, Sept 18 — The Defence Ministry is proposing to give a monthly allowance of RM300 or RM350 to Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) recipients in recognition of their sacrifices in defending the country during the emergency, said its minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the proposal would be tabled to the Cabinet.

“Previously, they had received a one-off payment of RM500. So, (now) we want to give a fixed contribution to PJM recipients. This is in recognition of their major deed in fighting the communists during the emergency,” he added.

He told a press conference this after presenting Sabah-level PJM awards to 350 recipients here today.

Ismail Sabri denied that the allowance proposal was a form of goodies for the 16th Sabah state election, saying today’s award presentation had been planned long ago.

“This is the second PJM award ceremony, after the one in Johor last month. It has nothing to do with the Sabah polls. Even without the state election, we would have proceeded with this event,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri warned certain quarters against trying to scare the people of Sabah by falsely giving the impression that the security forces were incapable of protecting the country’s sovereignty.

“Yesterday, I saw a video which seemed to imply that we are not ready (to defend the country). I would like to stress that the readiness of our forces at all levels is being constantly strengthened. This includes increasing border control posts, military assets and army camps, including in Sabah.

“Trust us, we are capable of protecting Sabah if there are external threats. In fact, we will defend the sovereignty of Sabah, and we will not compromise,” he added. ― Bernama