Minister Pledges RM10,000For Balai Ringin PVATM Branch

SERIAN: Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot has agreed to allocate RM10,000 in government grant for the Balai Ringin branch of the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVATM).

This was announced by Riot’s political secretary Major (rtd) Datuk Peter Runin, who represented the minister at the branch’s annual general meeting (AGM) at Serian Community Hall last weekend.

Riot, who is Serian MP, could not attend the function due to commitments in Putrajaya.

Peter, in his remarks, reminded all army veterans of their duty to maintain public peace and order; that they must continue to uphold their oath as the nation’s peacekeepers even in retirement.

He said one of the ways for them to contribute to peace would be to not get involved in the negative politics of the opposition.

Remember � you are not just veterans; you are patriots who once put your lives on the line to secure peace and security of the state and country.

Even in your retirement, you can still help � by not joining those out to topple the government, he said.

On another matter, Peter acknowledged that out of about 360,000 army personnel who retired, some did not receive any pension.

He said in February this year, the government agreed to set aside RM9 million for the Defence Ministry to help retired soldiers seek training and be certified through the Recognition of Prior Experiential Leaning (RFEL) programme, aimed at increasing their employability.

According to Peter, many soldiers are taught to do a lot of work like building roads and bridges, repairing vehicles and heavy machinery as well as doing electrical works, while they are still in service.

Many have become experts in these fields, but have no certificate to show for it.

We want to give these veterans formal training so that they obtain the relevant certificates, he said, adding that retired soldiers deserved more than just being security guards.

Peter said another programme with which the government hoped to help veterans was one targeted at army wives, who might be highly educated but had to stay home because they had to follow their husbands.

We want to see how to get these army wives, some of whom are diploma holders, to contribute to their household economy by operating from home, he elaborated.

Peter also advised PVATM members to conduct more membership recruitment exercises to gather the veterans who had yet to join the association.

Don’t pick and choose. Don’t leave out those whom you didn’t like � for whatever reasons � while you were still soldiers.

Remember � as soldiers and former soldiers, your strength lies in your comradeship and brotherhood. Continue to ignite that (spirit of) brotherhood, he advised.

Earlier, Balai Ringin PVATM chairman former Warrant Officer II Lawa Ganyui said his chapter would concentrate its efforts on helping ageing and sick veterans, especially those without pension.

Also under our radar are the widows (of veterans) who have no pension to fall back on, he said.

Source: Borneo Post Online