Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Much more can be done for ex servicemen, other than them having to be taxi drivers and security guards". This is a quote from an ex solder of mine who is now taxi driver, and that has been pricking me ever since.

I am fully aware of the existence of the Veteran Affairs Department, the Ex Servicemen Association which I deemed a 'politically aligned' association, LTAT and PERHEBAT; each having its own function and responsibility that is related to the Armed Forces and ex servicemen included.

I am told that each year, a total of no less than 3000 soldiers (including officers) leave the military service, for one reason or the other. This is a large figure by any standards, and what they do after leaving the service, is not very well known. Some do make it in the second vocation, but the majority do not.

We do know that among those that leave, there are those that has acquired some expertise that has the potential for business outside. What I am referring at are those soldiers that have the technical expertise; for instance vehicle mechanics, technicians, welders, electricians, bricklayers, carpenters, weapon technicians and a host of other expertise. These soldiers are experts in their vocation, and what differentiates them from their civilian counterparts, is that they are imbued with discipline.

What I am proposing is that the various organizations mentioned in paragraph 2. above, should get together and to think of how to harness the expertise and experience of the soldiers, and to turn it into a profitable business venture, that will benefit the soldiers, the organizations and the nation.

As a start, we can look at building a business venture that is related to vehicle maintenance; somewhat parallel to Spanco. This business is large and ever growing, with some government contracts awarded to the company. Similarly, we can also look at building a business related to agriculture, and my thought is in the cattle and goat rearing business on a commercial basis. Surely, states will be willing to help by leasing out suitable areas for such businesses.

With regards to funds, LTAT should take the lead, and to be seen as contributing directly to the development of business opportunities for ex servicemen. The businesses developed must be fashioned professionally, managed by people, (preferably officers and soldiers) with the right acumen for business.

I am not a businessman, but I see the enormous potential in soldiers if their expertise is properly harnessed. The bottom line to this proposal (which need to studied in depth) is to help ex soldiers to lead a better life, and to continue contributing their services to the nation; not as soldiers but as civilians.


maurice said...

The present system of preparing ex-servicemen for civilian life need to be relooked into.The various vocation courses provided by PERHEBAT I think are adequate but the ex-servicemen by and large, when they are out on the streets, are left to their own devices to find jobs or to srutggle in their business ventures.Many take the easy way out by becoming taxi drivers, security guards etc.

LTAT should take the lead as it has the financial resources to help ex-servicemen to be succesful in their business ventures.Korea has a good example where ex-servicemen are doing well in business when properly organised and led under an umbrella organization.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Maurice,

You said it right. There are various successful model around the world that can be adopted. However, being what we are, 'the easy way out' is the best.

You are right too when you suggested LTAT to lead. But you and I know, convincing them will not be easy.

Anyway, thanks for the comments.

maurice said...


The pleasure is mine.

It is a really a political decision.Perhaps Dato Sri Najib could ask Admiral Tan Sri Anwar (Rtd), Chairman of LTAT to look into it.

We could see FELDA is now in the limelight with its various inovative programmes for its members since FELDA become part of Dato Sri Najib's portfolio.I am sure he could easily convince LTAT to do the same for the benefit of our ex-servicemen.

Anonymous said...

Dato Arshad,

You have a very brilliant idea and we exservicemen needs people like u to continue leading us.Why not u gang up all the exGenerals plus the exRSM to sit in a council and look into the plight of the Persatuan Bekas Tentera Malaysia.

Get the existing committee members of PBTM to resign enblock together with the President (who only serve a few years in the ARMY). A memorandum to this effect to be sent to the Prime Minister and YDP Agong .I consider PBTM is the right platform to rectify the plight of the exservicemen in term of recognition,business opportunities,status and etc.

I was made to understang that the PBTM Bahagian Wilayah Persekutuan lead by Brig Gen (R) Dato Fahami Hussin has obtained a court injunction against PBTM Pusat for running the association like a political party. Not suprising because the existing Constitution of PBTM contain clauses applicable to Political Parties only. Therefore the Jawantankuasa Tertinggi taught PBTM belong to their father and they were free to do whatever thing they like .It is not surprising to see some of them will be held for contempt of court of this injuction if they persistently ignore the court order and continues their foolish act.

If u and some of our distinguished Generals and WOs volunteers to rectify the existing rot in the PBTM then we could together with the help of PBTM Wilayah Persekutuan revamp this exserviceman association to build back our pride and honour to its rightful status.

Please give a serious taught to this proposal and get in touch with PBTM Wilayah to plan a move blessed by Allah so that you deserve your glorious past be inherited to your next generation.Thanks Dato God blessed u.