Did Najib missed Sarawak Rangers?

Ex-Iban trackers and former Sarawak Rangers who had served the country during the Malayan Emergency from 1948 until 1960, hope the government would also include them in the one-off RM3,000 payment announced in Budget 2012.

Sarawak Veteran Rangers Association pro-tem president Kol (Rtd) Rizal Abdullah said the ex-Iban trackers and ex-Sarawak Rangers were not entitled for any pension.

As such, they would certainly benefit most from the one-off payment, he said.

“I hope the government did not miss them out. Quite a number of them are still alive today. If you combined the ex-Iban trackers and ex-Sarawak Rangers, the (total) number runs into the hundreds.

“They mention Border Scout but no mention (was made) on ex-Iban Trackers and ex-Sarawak Rangers,” he told Bernama here today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when tabling the Budget 2012, announced the government would provide a RM3,000 one-off payment to ex-servicemen, as well as widows and widowers, totalling almost 62,000 people.

He said the special payment would also be extended to over 48,000 ex-members of special constable and auxiliary police who served in protecting the country during the Emergency era.

They comprised home guards, special constables, extra police constables, auxiliary police, women auxiliary police, women special constables and jungle scouts.

Rizal said he was unsure if the one-off payment of RM3,000 included ex-Iban trackers and ex-Sarawak Rangers who had also served during the Emergency, adding that he hoped the government would look into it.

He said, most of the Iban trackers and rangers had served the British as a para-military outfit, with the first batch serving from 1940-1952, followed by the second (1953-1960), under the reformed Sarawak Rangers (Malayan Unit) and the third, the Sarawak Rangers (Far East Land Forces) from 1960-1963.

However, only the Sarawak Rangers (Far East Unit) survivors received some pension, together with those who later opted, either to join the Malaysian Rangers, Police or Border Scouts and these people have no problems as they were under full pension.

But those who had served earlier from 1940-1952 and 1953 until 1960 were not entitled for any pension as they were considered para-military and not full soldiers.

“Many of them, upon completion of their service or contract, returned to their respective villages. In recognition of their service to the country, the Federal Government has given them allowance of RM100 per month,” he said.

Previously, there were numerous calls to the Government for an immediate review of the said allowance, at least to be on par with the national poverty index of RM700.

Therefore, Rizal said it was only appropriate for the government to look into this to include them as part of the ex-servicemen to enjoy the RM3,000 one-off payment.  — BERNAMA

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