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The valiant saluted at open house

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IPOH: SOME 100 ex-army personnel from Perak and their families attended the recent Hari Raya open house at 2 Brigade Camp, here.

Guests-of-honour were the Brigadier-General Datuk Md Dzahir Abd Rashid and his wife Datin Juliana Ker Abdullah.

Twenty-four special children from the Syed Putra Camp Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre were also invited.

All the guests received tokens of appreciation and hampers from the Ex-Servicemen's Association of Malaysia.

Corporal Ali Ibrahim, 63, and Lance Corporal Saji Mustapa, 60, former army personnel who were injured in the line of duty, were grateful that their service to the country was remembered by the army and government.

Ali, who is now an oil fields and banana plantations entrepreneur, in Kampung Ceruk Pelanduk, Batu Kurau, said he had never regretted joining the army even though he lost a leg and a finger when he stepped on a booby trap while executing a mission in Johor, on July 29, in 1977.

On that day, he lost one of his best friends and the Royal Malay Regiment, based at the Johor Majidee Camp, lost 17 of its members .

"A bullet had to be removed from my stomach, and I was grateful to Allah to be alive.

"I have never regretted being in the army; in fact, I encourage my children to also serve the country and join the force.

"Five out of the 10 of them are in the army now," said Ali proudly.

Mustapa was paralysed after he set off a booby trap while on a mission in Baling, Kedah. Being wheelchair-bound , he said, was not an unsurmountable problem.

"The army and the government take care of us," said Mustapa, who has settled down in Taiping.

Dzahir urged all who had served in the army to register as members of the association.

He said the Malaysian Armed Forces Veteran Affairs Department (JHEV) also helped to improve the association members' welfare and social-economic status.

"JHEV provides, among others, welfare assistance, career placement, retraining, entrepreneur development and payment of retirement benefits and medical claims.

"The veterans' sacrifices and dedication to safeguard the country are not forgotten. The government ensures that the welfare of these men is well taken care of," said Dzahir.

Also present at the event were Royal Malaysian Air Force Institute Commander Colonel Ahmad Abdul Rahman and North Brigade Commander Datuk Azman Yusof.

Brigadier-General Datuk Md Dzahir Abd Rashid (right) has a chat with Lance Corporal Mustapa Saji at the 2 Brigade Camp Hari Raya open house. Pic by L. Manimaran


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