KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — A Defence Ministry department cautioned Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) Veterans Association president Capt (Rtd) Datuk Shahruddin Omar that his announced plan to form a political party for retired military personnel could jeopardise his group’s official standing.
In a statement today, the MAF Veterans Affairs Department (JHEV) said that the formation of the new party named Parti Kemakmuran Negara would violate the Veterans Act 2012 (Act 740).
“The JHEV would like to emphasise that based on the Schedule to Section 14, Veterans Act 2012 (Act 740), any veterans association registered under the JHEV shall carry out its association activities without discrimination on gender, race, religion, origin, language, political affiliation or other differing views held by its members. Thus, any veterans association involved in political activities/ activities either directly or indirectly is in violation of Act 740.
“Appropriate action until the cancellation or suspension of the registration of the association can be taken by the Registrar (of Societies) under Section 18, Act 740,” the statement read.
The JHEV said that in the press conference called “Veterans’ March to Parliament” last week, the reason for the party’s formation was attributed to the government’s alleged failures in addressing the issues faced by the people, especially those affecting army veterans, which the agency denied.
“In this regard, JHEV as the government agency responsible for supervising and managing all affairs of the Armed Forces (MAF) veterans, is of the view that the statement is wrong and does not reflect the current reality, because the government through the Ministry of Defence always strives to fight for the fate of MAF veterans,” it said, adding that the very existence of the agency is proof of the government’s commitment to acknowledge the deeds and sacrifices of the said group.
The JHEV listed a string of initiatives and aid given to military veterans, including aid for entrance into public universities and polytechnics, an upgrade to the allowance for physically disabled veterans, as well as acknowledgement as veterans towards ex-armed forces personnel who were sacked due to wrongdoings.
“In this regard, the statement by Captain Datuk Shahruddin Omar (Retired), President of the MAF Veterans Association stating that the government has failed in fighting for the welfare the of MAF veterans is unfounded and is the view of a group of MAF veterans who have a purely political agenda,” the statement read.
Last week, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that a group of ATM veterans planned to set up Parti Kemakmuran Negara (Kemakmuran) which is now reportedly awaiting approval for the RoS.
Its president Shahruddin was quoted saying that the multiracial party aims to uphold the rights of the rakyat, which includes good governance and fighting corruption.
National news agency Bernama reported him saying that the party’s members will also contest 50 parliamentary and state seats in the 15th general election (GE15), as independent contenders.
He reportedly said that their involvement in politics was personal and voluntary and did not involve existing veterans’ associations and clubs so as to comply with the Veterans Act.