I wish to refer to an article by Adrian David titled ‘Denied her pension by the rule book’ published in NST (page 20) dated December 15, 2008.
Most retired military officers today would have known the late Brig Gen Victor Nelson Stevenson who joined the Army in 1952, and served the nation with unquestionable loyalty for almost 32 years. He saw the Malayan Emergency, Confrontation and the return of the Communist insurgency threat from 1969, until their eventual surrender in the late 80’s. To most who have known and served him, Gen Stevenson portrays a fatherly figure and a gentleman, and it is hard for anyone to dislike him.
Gen Stevenson is not alone serving the Army. He comes from a family where the uniform service is a preferred vocation, and this preferred vocation among the younger family members seems to continue till this day. I am indeed honoured to have known Gen Stevenson, and to have served together with his younger brother, Brig Gen Datuk Dr. William Stevenson at the Army Combat Training Centre, Ulu Tiram, Johore in the 80’s.
The article by Adrian David, brings to light the ‘misfortune’ that befalls the widow of Gen Stevenson, Janet Shaxson who not out of her own free will, was denied her late husband’s pension, for reasons that she had left the country for England, for a period exceeding 180 days, thus losing the eligibility to continue receiving the pension.
Janet Shaxson’s failure to return to Malaysia has its reason i.e. that she was bedridden with cancer and finally succumbed to her illness in November this year. Her case is well known to the office of the Malaysian High Commission in England, and with a medical report to prove.
For the Armed Forces Veteran’s Affairs Department (AFVAD) to disregard the truth, and to ignore the humanitarian aspects of the case, puts the department to absolute shame; something that ought not to be forgiven. There has to be some flexibility in the rules and procedures governing the Janet Shaxson’s case. Throwing the books and closing the case, is certainly not the answer.
If at all AFVAD sees no reason to respect Janet Shaxson’s entitlement to the pension, the least that AFVAD could do is to respect the services rendered by the late Gen Stevenson to his nation. And being an ex serviceman myself, I am extremely concern and fearful that a similar fate will befall my family and many others.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION
Posted at 12.30pm on Dec 15, 2008