KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 — The Defence Ministry (Mindef) is restructuring the National Veterans’ Council so that it is more realistic and focused, especially in facing the current needs and issues of Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) veterans.
Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the restructuring also considered the needs of all tertiary stakeholders such as other ministries and state governments in the council so that decisions made could have proper impact and effect for MAF veterans.
Efforts to assist veterans not only took place at the ministry level but was implemented holistically with the close support of other ministries such as the Health Ministry and the Housing and Local Government Ministry.
“In the aspect of veterans’ housing for instance, I am working closely with the Housing and Local Government Minister (Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican) to see how housing plans can consider more veterans as target groups,” he said at a media conference after a National Veterans’ Council meeting at Wisma Pertahanan here today.
On veterans’ demands to improve allowances for Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) award recipients, increase in living costs assistance for B40 veterans and pension adjustments, Hishammuddin said the matter has been brought to the Finance Ministry and the Public Service Department (PSD) for approval.
He said the matter involved a significant financial implication and required the consideration of other ministries and agencies.
“As a step forward and to strengthen efforts, I also suggest inviting the Finance Minister and the PSD director-general as permanent National Veterans’ Council members as a way to provide room for them to understand in detail the issues, needs and planning of my ministry relating to veterans,” he said.
At the council meeting, Hishammuddin also introduced Maj Gen Zambery@Jefry Darus as the new Veterans’ Affairs Department director-general effective today. — Bernama