KUALA LUMPUR: The Defence Ministry is studying alternative ways of helping to lighten the burden of the cost of living for veterans of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).
Director-general of MAF’s Department of Veteran Affairs Major Gen Datuk Dzulkarnain Ahmad said the matter will be tabled at the National Veterans Council (MVK) which is expected to meet on Feb 28.
Among those expected to attend the meeting are Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu as MVK chairman and Armed Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin who is also president of MAF Veterans Association.
He said this in a statement issued here today when commenting on a report by news portal Free Malaysia Today, titled “Pensioners Upset Over Not Receiving RM1,200 Aid Like During BN’s Time”.
Dzulkarnain said the Bantuan Bakti Negara (BBN) was an annual aid scheme introduced in 2016, with provided to MAF veterans, and was increased to RM1,200 in 2017.
He said the Finance Ministry did not allocate funds for BBN payments in 2016 and 2017, while the BBN allocations of RM53 million were from the sale of MAF camp lands, originally meant to upgrade the existing camps.
As a result, the upgrading of the MAF camps was postponed and in 2018 and 2019, priority was given to postponed upgrading programmes, he said.
It is understood that more than 40,000 armed forces retirees without pensions throughout the country received the BBN.
Yesterday, the news portal reported that retirees without pensions were upset there would no longer be BBN aid of RM1,200 a year which was previously paid by the end of the year. — Bernama