Last month, I posted an article regarding a disabled soldier who seek support and care from the Armed Forces. I had mentioned in the article that I will be writing to the Chief of Army to inform him of the soldier’s plight, with the view that something could be done to assist the soldier. I had also copied the letter to the President of Ex Serviceman Association. The text of my letter is as under:
1. Foremost, I wish to take this opportunity during the auspicious month of syawal to wish you and the family Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and may Allah s.w.t grants you prosperity and good health.
2. The purpose of this letter is to inform you of a case of a disabled retired soldier whom I visited during my voluntary work with the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, in distributing food staffs to the poor and deprived residents at Pandan Perdana. Distribution of food is routinely done by the society, especially during the month of Ramadan.
3. I now wish to relate to you the story as told to me by LCpl Maarof bin Ahmad (139929), the disabled retired soldier, who seek proper care and attention from the Army, following his discharge in 1992 due to his permanent disablement, caused while he was in service.
4. LCpl Maarof bin Ahmad had undergone recruit training at Pusat Latihan Askar Wataniah, Ipoh in 1976, and upon completion of training, he was absorbed into the regular Royal Military Police, but retaining his Askar Wataniah status. He was first posted to 1st Company Provost based at Imphal Camp, Kuala Lumpur. His last posting prior to being discharged was at Markas Staf Stesen, Batu Cantonment, Kuala Lumpur.
5. In 1991, while on duty, he slipped and fell in the washroom. He was conscious after the fall, but felt a severe pain and numbness in his back. He was taken to the clinic in the camp, and was given three days medical leave. Upon completion of leave, he was referred to Kinrara Military Hospital where he was placed under observation and treatment for 5 months. He was thereafter referred to General Hospital Kuala Lumpur (GHKL) for a further 12 months, before being finally discharged, disabled and without any hope of a total recovery. Throughout the period he was in hospital totaling 17 months in all, he did not received his salary, supposedly on grounds that he was a non mobilized Askar Wataniah soldier, or for some other unknown reasons.
6. Being disabled and confined to the wheel chair, he was finally discharged from military service in 1992, without knowing whether he was to receive any form of monetary compensation for his 16 years of active military service (1976 – 1992). Neither has anyone from the Armed Forces Record and Pension office, made any attempt to contact him, to explain and resolve his financial predicament. And each time he called the AF Record and Pension office, the reasons they gave was firstly, that he was a non mobilized soldier; secondly, his documents cannot be traced; and thirdly, that his injury was not attributable to service.
7. Last year (2007), and after a wait of 16 years, he received from Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran a payment of RM 21,000, being his unpaid salary and allowances. He is also paid a maintenance allowance of RM 99.71 sen, monthly (not a pension) that will cease upon his death.
8. From the information that I had gathered above, I sense a failure and neglect on the part of those responsible to seriously look into the predicament of the above said soldier. Hence, there appears to be more questions than answers to the plight of this soldier, as under:
a. Why has it taken more than a decade to resolve the soldiers financial predicament?
b. Why has there been no attempt by anyone to visit the soldier, and to explain what all is being taken to solve his problems?
c. Knowing that the soldier is disabled and confined to the wheel chair, why has he been left out from receiving any contribution (monetary or otherwise) during Armed Forces Day celebrations.
d. Is the Armed Forces convinced that the monthly financial allowance of RM 99.71 sen that the soldier receives is appropriate? He has six children, of which only one is working as a factory worker. His wife is also a factory worker who has to bear almost all the costs of maintaining the house. Therefore, is the amount that he receives is grossly unfair and unjust.
e. Where has the Armed Forces welfare organization gone wrong, for not knowing the existence of this disabled and chair ridden soldier?
f. Is it because of his status as a non mobilized soldier, that he deserves to be treated like a discarded tin can?
9. For your information, the soldier is a life member of Persatuan Bekas Tentera Malaysia (PBTM) bearing membership number 2407. He had approached the association for assistance, but it was all in vain. This is quite usual of PBTM that is morally bankrupt to assist, let alone care for ex-servicemen. An article about his plight appeared in NST, August 1, 2008 and Harian Metro, August 4, 2008
10. Having met the soldier, I think he deserves better care and treatment from the Armed Forces. I know that it is not the desire of the Armed Forces to neglect this soldier with a 16 years service record, for so long. But having known about his case now, it is unjust that he remains in virtual neglect, unnoticed by the Armed Forces.
11. I do hope that you in your capacity as the Chief of Army will seriously look at the plight of this soldier, and to do the needful. Should you want to get in touch with the soldier, he can be contacted at his hand phone number 017 6235113. His lives in a low cost flat at Pandan Perdana, whose address is house number A 205, Jalan 3/2, Pandan Perdana Flats.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION