Let be begin by saying that this is a historical moment for Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan, or in English, the National Patriot Association for three reasons;
First. We succeeded in getting the Persatuan registered in less than a month, and I must thank Mej Mior Rosli for his tireless effort to draft the Constitution, and to get it approved in just two sittings with ROS. I think his legal background and the Handau training have placed him in good stead. The thing about Mej Mior Rosli is that he does not sleep, and for that reason we are all assured of a 24 hours service. Admittedly, our Constitution isn’t perfect, and like all other Constitutions there will be amendments to be made from time to time. Even at this very point in time, we saw the need to make some amendments, and that will be deliberated upon later in this meeting. Subsequent to our Constitution, will be the requirement to draft the persatuan’s bylaws, and this will be done by a subcommittee to be formed later.
Second. Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan is unique in the sense that this is the only persatuan that it is able to bring together veterans from both the Armed Forces and the Police; with similar aim and objective i.e. to continue to serve the nation in whatever way we can. We want to help build a true Malaysian nation that is based on the foundation of unity, care and love for one another; setting aside race and religious sentiments. We gave our life to ensure that this nation gets the peace and security that its citizens deserve, and we shall make every effort to ensure that peace and security prevails. We wish to maintain close liaison with the leadership of the Armed Forces, the Police and political leaders from both the political divide in our effort to share experiences, views and to maintain continuous dialogue. We will maintain a non partisan role, void of partisan politics for the moment. I say for the moment because I do not know what will happen to this persatuan say 10 years from today. It may migrate into a political party……from Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan, and be renamed Parti Partriot Kebangsaan. We certainly do not want to have anything to do with the likes of Jamal Ikan Bakar, Ali Tinju, Rani Kulop or even Perkasa. We will maintain a ‘gentleman posture’, non confrontational with the authorities in dealing with issues of public or national interest. We will strictly abide by the laws of the country, and what is enshrined in the Federal Constitution. We have made provisions in our persatuan’s constitution to enlarge the membership to include retired members of the civil service at an appropriate time. We may need to also look at inviting ordinary members of the public, if their presence serves to strengthened our position as one that has the interest of the nation as one of our objective. Please remember that the word Patriot does not refer to veterans of the Armed Forces and Police. Patriot by Collin’s definition means ‘a person who loves his or her country and passionately supports its intentions’. And if we were to retain the word Patriot, then it can be argued that our Constitution could include ordinary members of the public. I would like to leave this as a thought for debate at a later date and the future leadership of this persatuan.
Third. We succeeded in creating the sense of awareness in all of you to come forward to be united with us this morning; to come out of retirement; to rekindle our youthful days in the service; to share our experiences and thoughts, and most importantly to show to the nation that we are still relevant despite our age. Here, I wish to convey my utmost gratitude to some senior military retirees in our midst, namely Kol Ahmad Kushairi, and a number of others. I am truly inspired by their presence, and I hope they could help in providing us the much needed leadership. Likewise, I am also inspired and highly motivated by the presence of some senior retired police officers, and with whom we shared some common objectives, goals and interest, when we were serving officers. I hope they too could provide us the much needed leadership. I am also truly inspired to see a large number of Malaysian Chinese veterans, and I thank Capt Kang passionately for this. We in the Armed Forces and the Police are all colour blind; united for one single purpose i.e. to serve King and Country. This country belongs to us; hence we have every right to have our say, and to put right what we think is grievously wrong. Last but not the least, I personally wish to welcome our ladies to the persatuan, and hope more will join us in the future. I am confident the membership that we have today though small, can be a powerful voice that the nation’s political leadership cannot ignore. And when our voices are being heard, I am confident our membership will grow.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Now, let me explain the genesis of our persatuan.
The idea to form a persatuan took root soon after a Press Conference held at Lake Club on 8 March. We were then a bunch of concerned veterans that were neither affiliated to any veteran association, persatuan or NGO. But our concerns at what was happening to the country at the time, forced us to make a stand and to voice our concerns. We raised two issues during the Press Conference.
First, is the 31 July mass rally of military veterans that we believe is nothing more than to shore up popular support for the incumbent political leadership and in order to entice the interest of veterans, issues about providing incentives for veterans will have to be on the agenda. I do not know if those that attended the rally were thoroughly satisfied with the incentives announced. For me, the incentives have little meaning and do not solve the long standing demands of Armed Forces veterans, and I think veterans were made to look like Felda settlers. I would say, it was merely a political gimmick. What was to be ‘Hari Pahlawan’ on 31 July turned out to be ‘Hari Perhimpunan Raksaksa Veteran ATM’. I do not know if the organizers’ understood that Hari Pahlawan held in the past was to honour the police veterans as well and all other security agencies. But now Hari Pahlawan is a foregone history. And what does this mean? Ignorance by the organizers’ of the security forces and security agencies roles and contribution in the defence and security of the country, and our fallen heroes are no longer honored and remembered. It is just like saying, “they are dead and that’s it”.
Second, a few among us felt that we need to voice out issues that may affect the security and defence of the nation in the long term, in particular the sudden massive influx of so called FDIs from mainland China. We are not against FDIs, if it were meant to generate business opportunities and to help develop expertise for Malaysians. But we were skeptical at the way China brings investment into the country. It is monopolistic in nature; exclusively for China companies only. My question is this…..is there no proven Malaysian Chinese companies that can perform businesses like the China companies? Are the Malaysian Chinese businessmen of inferior quality to mainland Chinese? Who are the top millionaires and billionaires in the country today if they aren’t Malaysian Chinese? We do not want our country to suffer the fate of countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Caribbean, Angola and some other African countries where the countries are now unable to pay off their massive debts to China, and for that, they lose their rights to own the various projects that were wholly financed and build by China companies. If the payback time is 20 years, then it will not be us to be burdened with the massive loan repayment. It will be our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Will this be fair? There have been numerous articles and comments made relating to this, but does the government care? There was this article that I read in Free Malaysia Today whose headings reads “Najib will leave Malaysians with debts even 3 lifetimes cannot pay”. Doesn’t this worry us?
Ladies and Gentlemen.
For whatever we do in the future, I would appeal to all of you not be swayed by racial and religious sentiments. Let that be left to the politicians, for they are experts at playing up racial and religious issues for the own selfish political self interest. Ours is to go for issues; be it defence and security, or issues that affect our daily lives and our generation to come. It is an issue that affects Malaysians of all races and creed. We avoid championing the cause of any one particular race, because in our years of service, racism was never in our mind. If you all believe in such mindsets, then we should all support the idea of having only three veteran associations for the Armed Forces i.e. the Army Veteran Association, the Navy Veteran Association and the Air Force Veteran Association. Similarly, the police should have only one association i.e. the Police Veteran Association. This can be an issue that we can brainstorm at a later date.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The road ahead for the persatuan will not be easy, and we can expect criticism from several quarters in the course of our work. Let me tell you that I am not easily weakened or discouraged by what people say of me, of you or the persatuan. They have their own views, and so have we. We work on the basis of a consensus, and once a consensus is reached, we will uphold and maintain that consensus.
I would also like to appeal to members to allow some flexibility to the committee and subcommittees that is to be officially named later, to perform their work. There will be several meetings following this AGM, to clearly define and chart the path that we should take for now and the future. For this several subcommittees will be formed to identify issues that we could put forth to the various authorities, and for this we would require volunteers.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Finally, I pray for the success of our persatuan. There is much to be done and success at what we do depends very much on your support. And I know that support when needed will come from every single one of you. Thank you