One thing that Malaysians hated the most is the VIP culture that often results in the double standard treatment of the public and those who are in power.
Recently, a video showing a group of Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) veterans standing under the hot sun went viral on social media with many criticising the event organiser being inconsiderate to the veterans.
The incident happened during the 100th-anniversary parade of veterans at Dataran Pahlawan Negara in Putrajaya recently, where the veterans were forced to ‘sunbathe’ while listening to a speech by an officer under a tent.
In a thread, a netizen said, “They get served what they eat while the rakyat only eat from packets. Is this sharing the cake? Is this Keluarga Malaysia?”
“If they can’t eat together in the air-conditioned hall, don’t let them eat from packets and on the grass. Give them a table.”
This tweet has since garnered over 9,500 retweets and 8,700 likes with many criticising the event organiser for not respecting the veterans who picked up guns and defending the country.
Cash is King, King is Rakyat?— Ben (@ShazwanZdainal) May 24, 2022
Mereka makan berhidang, rakyat berbungkus saja. Inikah kongsi kek bersama? Keluarga Malaysia?
Kalau tak dapat bersama makan di dewan aircond, janganlah hanya bagi makanan bungkus dan biarkan mereka duduk makan di rumput.
Sediakan meja utk mereka! pic.twitter.com/ya33WxcpA5
Defence forces chief express regret
Defence Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang also expressed regret over the incident and he said the event organiser should have been much more considerate.
“First of all, the march parade is perhaps unnecessary. Camaraderie is well-established among the army veterans. I’m confident the mutual respect is there. A symbolic parade would have suffice.” he said.
Affendi added that everyone should have dined together in the hall. However, he also said Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is a caring leader who would have very much preferred to mingle with the rank and file.
“I know the defence minister very well. He is very approachable and always look forward to interact with the veterans.” he added.
Caring for veterans’ wellbeing
Meanwhile, the senior defence minister said the government will announce good news for veterans of the ATM soon, but he cannot reveal the details on the matter yet.
“We in the ministry have been working hard for nine months, and we are just waiting for the time to announce the matter.” he said.
He also explained that the details cannot be announced as of yet because it involves ministries other than those related to the Ministry of Defense and this would depend on allocations.
He then assured that any matters, including the claims and wishes of the ATM veterans, that could be resolved, would be announced immediately.
“I myself have always put the welfare of ATM veterans as a priority from the beginning and as long as I am the Minister of Defense, believe me, my stance will never change.” he added.
Previously, ATM veterans, including Armed Forces Veteran Association (PVATM), fought for five key demands, which are pension adjustment, subsistence allowance to non-pensionable veterans, pardon board for veterans, and improved derivative pension to widows and Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) commemorative allowance.