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SIBU, July 27: The Sarawak Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association will be appealing to the government to increase the funeral aid from RM3,000 to RM5,000.
Its president, Francis Yeo said the existing amount of RM3,000 is hardly sufficient for the widow or next-of-kin of the former servicemen who passed away to cover all of the funeral expenses.
“The cost of living has increased greatly. The RM3,000 is hardly enough to buy a burial plot and casket,” he said at a media conference here today in conjunction with the presentation of funeral aid.
Yeo said the association which has more than 3,000 members statewide, would be writing to the government to increase the bereavement aid for members.
The funeral aid is dispersed to ex-servicemen associations nationwide by the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Affairs Department (JHEV).
“Despite being an NGO, the association is not receiving any financial allocation from the government. So we are unable to assist the widow or next-of-kin of ex-servicemen,” he said.
The association had also written to local elected people’s representatives for funds, but it had not received any positive response from them.
“They told us that they are unable to give as the economy is bad and we can understand that. However we did receive a one-off allocation from the state government,” he said.
Yeo said every year during its Warriors’ Day celebration on July 31, they would go round the state, seeking donation from members of the public.
He said the money raised would be sent to the JHEV. The department would later allocate a certain sum for the association’s activities.
“Last year, we received good support from the public who were generous enough to contribute to us. However, this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we don’t know whether we can carry out the activity,” he said.
At the function, Yeo presented the funeral aid to eight representatives of former servicemen. Another two from Kuching who could not make it, will have the money credited to their account.-DayakDaily