KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — The Defence Ministry is always committed to looking after the welfare of army veterans, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today.

He said as an example, an internal study at the ministerial level to enable the implementation of an allowance for Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) recipients was completed recently.

Hishammuddin said the ministry had also forwarded to the Finance Ministry a proposal to approve an increase in the Bantuan Sara Hidup financial aid to non-pensionable army veterans under B40 from RM300 a month to RM400.

The ministry hoped that the matter would be given consideration from the Finance Ministry, he said in a statement here today.

He said the proposal to increase the ATM veteran allowance was made taking into account the increase in the cost of living and the need to cover daily expenses.

"This means that among the requests submitted by ATM veterans, we have already settled two, and another two are still being studied at the ministerial level. It will not stop here.

“The ministry is always working hard taking care of the welfare of our army veterans the best that we can. New developments and the outcome of our efforts will be announced from time to time,” he said.

Last July, Hishammuddin announced two improvements thereby fulfilling two of the five main wishes of army veterans, namely improvements involving derivative pension and an advisory panel to consider applications from ex-servicemen to be recognised as ATM Veterans. Both are now implemented.

However, he said the requests by army veterans do not only involve planning at the ministerial level but also matters of finance and public administration that require the consideration of the Finance Ministry and the Public Service Department (PSD).

“I will continue to communicate with the Finance Ministry and the Director-General of the PSD from time to time to ensure that all our hopes are achieved,” he said.

Hishammuddin also reminded veterans who have not registered with the ministry’s Veteran Affairs Department (JHEV) to do so immediately so that they can benefit from all initiatives and assistance provided. — Bernama