Some 97% or 8,730, of the 9,000 Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) veterans who receive the monthly Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) aid of RM300 are without pension, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Defence Minister Mohamad Hasan said efforts to trace those involved were being carried out by the Department of Veteran Affairs (JHEV) of the ATM, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, to ensure that their welfare is taken care of.
"The problem is that they did not register with JHEV, that’s why we encourage them to do so and have also asked that ATM veteran associations locate and register those who have not yet registered for us to help.
"So far, more than 200,000 ATM veterans have registered. Most of those who have yet to register are in Sabah and Sarawak," he said during the questions for oral answer session.
He was responding to a question from Muhammad Islahuddin Abas (PN-Mersing) on the implementation of the BSH scheme for non-pensionable ATM veterans, especially those in the B40 category.
Mohamad said discussions would be held with stakeholders, including ATM veteran associations, to find a win-win formula for the adjustment of their pensions.
In the meantime, he said the majority of ATM veterans without pensions, especially the young, preferred to find a job with a fixed income rather than venture into business or entrepreneurship.
He said while ATM had provided a digital business platform called MyVeteranMall in addition to courses to prepare those who are interested in venturing into the field, it had not received an encouraging response.
"We identified that capital was one of the constraints, despite the fact that it is actually provided by several government agencies such as Tekun Nasional. If they register, we can find an agency that can provide start-up funding and increase business capital.
"So far, only 512 veterans have registered with the application," he said in response to a supplementary question from Mohd Isam Mohd Isa (BN-Tampin) on why the MyVeteranMall application was not well received by ATM veterans.