New focus on second careers for veterans, says deputy minister

Deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong said options will be provided for those who take early retirement.

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong said there will be a focus on providing a “second career” for servicemen after they retire, instead of simply providing government pensions and welfare assistance.

However, present welfare schemes including pensions for veterans will be maintained, he added.

“Previously, we focus only on veteran welfare but the direction in the future is that, besides welfare, it is also important to provide opportunities for a second career so that as they learn through military service, their experiences can contribute to the national economy,” he told reporters at Parliament after the Dewan Rakyat approved the defence white paper.

He said, such options will be provided especially for military personnel who retire in their early 40s.

The white paper charts Malaysia’s defence plans for the next 10 years. It also includes plans for a Defence Investment Committee to be chaired by the prime minister, and a Defence Policy and Reform Committee to be chaired by the defence ministry’s chief secretary and the chief of the armed forces.

Liew said these committees would focus on investments made in the defence industry, which he said cannot be directed towards the defence ministry alone.

Efforts will be taken to include other agencies in expanding investments for the defence industry, which he said must not just sell products to the ministry, but should also think about selling their products to the public

Defence minister Mohamad Sabu said at a press conference that the ministry would need funds amounting to at least 1% of the national Gross Domestic Product or 6.5 % of Malaysia’s annual budget to carry out the revamps outlined in the white paper.

He added that his ministry is in discussions with both the finance and the economic affairs ministries to secure the funding in the 12th and 13th Malaysia Plan.