Hisham: In­cen­tives not an elec­tion ploy

New Straits Times - - News / Story Of The Day -

KUALA LUMPUR: The in­cen­tives an­nounced for Malaysian Armed Forces vet­er­ans yes­ter­day should not be seen as an elec­tion ploy, said De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein.

He said the gov­ern­ment had al­ways looked af­ter the wel­fare of vet­er­ans, and had ini­ti­ated many pro­grammes and schemes in the past.

He said the six in­cen­tives an­nounced by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak had been dis­cussed for more than a year.

“The in­cen­tives are not elec­tion goodies to win votes or sup­port, as some par­ties may claim. Such ac­cu­sa­tions are not new as the gen­eral elec­tion nears.

“We have looked af­ter the wel­fare of vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies in the past in recog­ni­tion of their sac­ri­fice and ser­vice to the coun­try.

“We are now con­tin­u­ing our ef­forts to in­clude those who are in need of help, such as those in the B40 low-in­come group.

“This is to ease their bur­den and cost of liv­ing in the face of eco­nomic un­cer­tain­ties,” he said af­ter the Malaysian Armed Forces Vet­er­ans Assem­bly near here yes­ter­day.

He said the in­cen­tives were an­nounced de­spite the chal­leng­ing times and the fact that the gov­ern­ment had to fo­cus on other is­sues, such as emerg­ing threats.

“This is not easy. It may be easy for peo­ple to point fingers and ac­cuse the gov­ern­ment, but I’m thank­ful for the an­nounce­ment as it shows the prime min­is­ter cares about the peo­ple.”

He said the in­cen­tives an­nounced yes­ter­day would be im­ple­mented in Oc­to­ber, ad­ding that the in­cen­tives were part of the gov­ern­ment’s agenda to up­lift the so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus of vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies.

“It’s im­pos­si­ble to meet ev­ery­one’s needs in one go. More in­cen­tives and pro­grammes will be an­nounced. This will be car­ried out in stages. It is a con­tin­u­ous ef­fort.

“But most im­por­tantly, this shows the gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to armed forces per­son­nel and vet­er­ans.”

He said a call cen­tre had been set up un­der the Vet­eran Af­fairs Depart­ment, in ad­di­tion to the many gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives to help vet­er­ans.

Other ef­forts in­cluded as­sis­tance in hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, ca­reer, en­trepreneur­ship and special aids, such as the In­sur­gency Special In­cen­tive Pay­out, Cost of Liv­ing As­sis­tance Scheme and Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ters As­sis­tance Scheme.

BER­NAMA PIC

De­fence Min­is­ter

Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein be­ing greeted by armed forces vet­er­ans at the open­ing of the Malaysian Armed Forces Vet­er­ans Assem­bly in Seri Kem­ban­gan, Se­lan­gor, yes­ter­day.

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