GOODIES FOR ARMED FORCES VETERANS
IN recognition of their selfless contribution, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday unveiled six initiatives to improve the livelihood and wellbeing of armed forces veterans.
BANTUAN BAKTI NEGARA (BBN)
Veterans who do not qualify for pension will receive RM1,200 annually. Some 66,000 veterans are expected to benefit from this scheme
VETERANS ANNUITY SCHEME (SAVe)
Contributions made under SAVe will provide veterans with monthly returns
Tailored for those with less than 10 years of service under their belts. The pension will start from a minimum payout of RM500 to a maximum of RM2,000
POST-RETIREMENT DIFFERENTIAL ABILITY SCHEME
Those who qualify will get RM500 annually from Tabung Pahlawan.
Govt will top up another RM500. The monies will be disbursed twice a year
INCREASE OF HAJ QUOTA FOR VETERANS
The haj quota for army veterans will be increased from 100 to 400, starting this year
RM5 MILLION BOOST FOR WARRIORS’ FUND
The Tabung Pahlawan campaign raised RM46.5 million last year. RM5 million will be added to the funds raised this year
THERE was all round good news for Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) veterans yesterday after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced six new schemes to improve their welfare.
This included an annual assistance of RM1,200 for non-pensionable veterans and an annuity scheme.
Najib, who shared the good news with more than 15,000 MAF veterans at the MAF Veterans’ Assembly in conjunction with the launch of the Warriors’ Fund 2017, announced the Bantuan Bakti Negara (BBN) aid scheme, which would become the initial aid from the government specifically for non-pensionable MAF veterans.
Najib said the BBN scheme was an extension of the scheme for MAF veterans, namely the 1Malaysia Non-Pensionable Veterans Scheme, which was introduced in 2013.
“The introduction of the BNN scheme is a new mechanism for the government to assist the lowincome and non-pensionable MAF veterans without burdening the existing government financial sources,” he said to loud applause from the audience.
Present were Najib’s wife, Datin
Seri Rosmah Mansor, who is Patron of the Warriors’ Fund Campaign, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudddin Hussein, Armed Forces Chief General Tan Sri Raja Affendi Raja Mohamed Noor and MAF Veterans Association president Senator Admiral Tan Sri Anwar Mohd Nor.
Najib said the criteria to receive the aid would be based on the same criteria for recipients of the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), targeting those in the bottom 40 per cent household income group.
“This means that the recipients are those who qualify for
BR1M,” he said, adding that RM1,200 would be given to 66,000 non-pensionable MAF veterans based on the list of BR1M recipients.
As for veterans without pension who are not BR1M recipients, they will get RM600, provided they are aged 60 and above.
It is estimated that more than 10,959 veterans without pension, aged 60 and above, will benefit from the BBN initiative.
Najib, who is a former defence minister, also announced the Veterans’ Annuity Scheme (SAVe) for existing armed forces personnel.
The scheme, which is an upgrade of the MAF Services Scheme, will benefit personnel who choose to retire early.
They will receive monthly payments despite not being eligible for pension.
The prime minister said the contribution to the SAVe scheme would be in the savings account and would give monthly benefits to the veterans, and could also be handed over to eligible next of kin upon the death of the veteran.
“The BBN scheme and SAVe are meant to look after the welfare of the armed forces
personnel who opted not to continue their service until they meet the minimum requirement to receive pension,” he said.
Najib also announced an upgrade to the Disability Pension for veterans and full-time Wataniah (Territorial Army Regiment) soldiers, as in those who had served for under 10 years and not eligible for pension. This encompasses those who retired early due to line-of-duty disability.
He noted that the payout quantum was based on the extent of injury, rank and length of service when the disability occurred.
“As a result, some veterans under this scheme could only get as little as RM65.
“In view of the current economic situation, it is high time to adjust the pension amount.
“The pension will be increased from 300 to 800 per cent, starting from a minimum payout of RM500 to a maximum of RM2,000,” he said much to cheers of the veterans.
Najib also announced another new incentive, the Post-Retirement Differential Ability Scheme which will pay RM500 annually to qualified recipients.
“It is hoped that the improvement in the payment of the disability pension scheme for MAF veterans, whose services are terminated within less than 10 years of service due to permanent injury, can ease their burden and give significant meaning to their lives,” said Najib.
Najib also announced the Warriors Fund For Disabled Veterans of the MAF Veterans Association with an additional allocation of RM500 by using government allocation to raise the overall incentive to RM1,000, compared with RM500 previously for MAF veterans who were disabled after retirement.
He said the incentive would be paid to the recipients twice a year to ease their cost of living.
The funding will come from Tabung Pahlawan, while the government will also chip in a further RM500 to bring the total to RM1,000.
The monies will be disbursed twice a year.
The icing on the cake is the increase of haj quotas for veterans, from 100 to 400 starting this year.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak greeting Malaysian Armed Forces veterans at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre in Seri Kembangan yesterday. On his right is Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.