The authorities seem to have overdone it on how much and in what way those who serve the country must be rewarded.
It is up to the whim and fancy of the minister or government of the day to decide how much and how long and how many rewards are to be given should anyone win or serve up anything for the country.
As much as all of us Malaysians are proud and happy that Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong have managed to clinch a silver in the Rio Olympics, not all Malaysians agree with the way they have been rewarded. It is quite unfair on the duo, for they are made to receive the brickbats, when it is actually the authorities who have no idea on how much and what to give in such wins.
The diving duo not only received a RM300,000 cash incentive in bulk but also have been promised a RM3,000 monthly pension for life.
This has raised the ire of certain quarters who feel that they have done more for the country and yet they are not getting any pension anywhere near such a sum and are left to fend for themselves in their old age.
One of them even filed a police report.
According to Malaysiakini, a disgruntled retired army personnel Rozzeli Pin filed a police report, saying that the contributions of security force personnel who risk their lives to safeguard the nation far exceeds that of the athletes who “only dived from a plank”.
“I am a retired army personnel. Many fought for this country, armed personnel and police officers including who lose their legs (while serving in United Nations peacekeeping missions) in Lebanon…why don’t they get life pensions?
“Even those who jump from the sky with parachutes don’t get lifetime pensions, yet those who dive from a plank are said to have glorified Malaysia and receive pensions.
“The dive does not commensurate with the pensions they are receiving,” he was reported to have told Malaysiakini.
Rozzeli lodged a police report over the matter at the Gurun police station over the pensions the diving duo will be receiving.
Some may not agree with Rozzeli and may think his actions may be a bit too emotional, but Rozzeli does speak for thousands of ex-police and ex-military personnel who live on pittance and struggle to make ends meet.
This is despite years of serving in the police and army, and risking their lives in the line of duty.
Most of us may have taken a taxi with a former police or army man but how many of us know the sheer sadness of those drivers who once stood on the frontlines, defending the country and us.
Some do not only have no proper decent pension, but also do not have any other qualifications for another job and can only drive taxis. Even then, they now have to fight it out with Uber and GrabCar, with the government also thinking of legalising the latter groups, instead of helping them.
Maybe, just maybe, the government should sit down and devise a proper reward scheme for all who serve the country, be they civil servants or sportsmen, then only the rakyat can say no one is getting the ‘anak tiri’ (stepchild) treatment.
And pensions should be able to provide decent living, for the wages of police and army in the lower ranks will only give pittance if pensions were to be a fraction of them.
The Heat Malaysia