Yesterday March 10, 2011, I attended the official launching of the Veteran’s Ward at the Tengku Mizan Armed Forces Hospital by the Defence Minister YB Dato Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Gathered at the launching ceremony were about 150 veterans of all ranks; the most senior among them were former CDF Gen Tan Sri Ghazali Seth and Gen Tans Sri Abd Rahman Hamid. I would have liked to see more senior veterans attend the occasion.
In the speech by the Defence Minister, he said that the idea to establish the Veteran’s Ward was mooted by Lt Kol Dato Kam Yoon Seng, a retired Royal Signals Corps officer who first made the proposal to the Veteran Affairs Department back in 2009. The proposal was immediately brought to the attention of the Defence Minister who approved it without much hesitation.
I have known Lt Kol Dato Kam from our days serving together at HQ 6 Brigade, Sg. Petani during the formative period back in 1969. And this idea having to come from him does not surprise me at all because Lt Kol Dato Kam is well known for his concern and wellbeing of his officers and men during his time in service. As a young Captain then, I have learnt one excellent trait from Lt Kol Dato Kam i.e. the art of being humble and patience.
Besides the Veteran’s Ward, the Defence Minister also proposed that a special pharmacy dispensing counter be establish for the veterans to minimize the waiting time for the collection of medicine. The long waiting time has been the general complaint among Veterans and this proposal is certainly welcomed by the Veterans.
It is inspiring to note that veterans are now being remembered and honoured with a special ward at the hospital, should they at any point in time require the medical services of the Armed Forces. A similar facility is also being planned at the two other Armed Forces Hospitals i.e. at Terendak and Lumut.
What is most comforting is that the wards are all located at the ground floor and this allows easy and shorter access to would be patients to the wards, as well as to ease visiting family members. For this, I congratulate the hospital administrators for having such consideration and thought.
I observed that most veterans that were at the launching ceremony are in their 60’s; and at this age physical fitness in them have long pass. Some may be the ‘gang-ho’ commandoes once before, but at that age one cannot pretend that they are ‘gang-go’ anymore.
In his final remark, the Defence Minister appealed to all veterans to utilize the medical facilities and services available at the hospital, as this is the government way of showering gratitude and appreciation to the veterans for their service and loyalty to the nation.
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