Tuesday, October 15

Armed forces vets reject tycoon’s apology over insult, lodge police report

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Mohd Melintang (standing, fifth left) and other armed forces veterans voice their rejection of Koon’s apology after lodging a police report against the tycoon yesterday.

KUCHING: Armed forces veterans in the state yesterday rejected the apology from business tycoon Koon Yew Yin over his recent remarks which were deemed insulting to the Malaysian Armed Forces.

Ranger Corps Veterans Association president Lt-Col (Rtd) Mohd Melintang Abdullah said Koon’s remarks were not only an insult to the armed forces, but also the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces in the country.

“We are not accepting the apology from Mr Koon; instead we want the relevant authority to investigate and bring him to justice…and because of that, today (yesterday), I am representing nine associations of the armed forces veterans to lodge a police report,” he told reporters after lodging the report at the Sungai Maong police station here.

About 50 armed forces veterans from various veterans associations joined Mohd Melintang in lodging the report.

In a blog posting on Monday titled ‘My proposal for the reduction and improvement of our civil service?’, Koon claimed the country’s security forces did ‘nothing except eating and sleeping’ and suggested the government downsize its numbers and second some of them to work in state-owned plantations to rebuild the economy.

The founder of IJM Corporation and Gamuda Berhad issued another statement Wednesday, arguing that he was entitled to criticise the government and call for the armed forces to be downsized and for soldiers to work in plantations, as he was a ‘taxpayer’.

He also maintained that the six suggestions he outlined in his blog post for the civil service to be scaled back to save money were ‘good’.

Hours later however, following tremendous backlash from various quarters across the country, Koon issued a public apology but maintained his view that soldiers assist in developing the nation’s economy.

“I should have said that the military is needed to defend us in times of war, but in times of peace they should do other jobs to increase our economy,” he reportedly told Utusan Online via WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, Mohd Melintang said an educated person like Koon should not have come up with such a statement, which hurt the feelings of serving armed forces personnel as well as those who had retired.

“Why only now (after the backlash) that you (Koon) apologise, after making such remarks (for reasons) best known to yourself?”

Mohd Melintang said the people, including Koon, should appreciate the efforts of the armed forces in protecting and safeguarding the security of the nation.