SRI AMAN: Warriors Day should be made into an official national event and observed throughout the country.
Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan said as this would help promote the spirit of patriotism, especially among the younger generation, he supported the proposal by the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association (PV-ATM) — formerly known as the Malaysian Ex-Services Association (PBTM).
According to him, Warriors Day falls on July 31 every year but the event has yet to be officially recognised by the government.
“In this respect I strongly support the proposal to make Warriors Day an annual national event because I believe this is the best avenue to make our people appreciate the contributions and sacrifices of our national heroes in defending our nation into what it is today,” he said in a speech read by Peter Howell Jilan — a political secretary to the Chief Minister — at the opening of PV-ATM Sarawak’s 57th annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday.
“No one can deny that without the sacrifices and contributions from our veterans, we will not be able to enjoy peace and harmony that we have today,” said Mawan.
Howell later announced an allocation of RM10,000 from Mawan’s minor rural project fund to assist PV-ATM with its activities.
Meanwhile, state PV-ATM chairman Spencer Birai said although there are many ex-services associations and clubs, only PV-ATM had the mandate to represent them in government matters.
“During our workshop in Kuala Lumpur previously, all associations and clubs had unanimously agreed that any matter that they wanted to bring to the attention of the government, must go through PV-ATM,” he said.
On another issue, Spencer reminded all PV-ATM branches wishing to raise Warriors Day funds, to obtain a permit from the association’s headquarters.
“Collecting donations or raising funds from the public without this permit is illegal,” he said, adding that the authorisation for the association to raise Warriors Day funds in Peninsular Malaysia and the state were totally different.
“For us in Sarawak, our permit was approved by the state government, which is valid from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2014,” he said.
At the same event, Veterans Affairs Department (JHEV) Sarawak director Lt Col Monday Juhid presented Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) to 19 ex-servicemen from various PV-ATM branches.