An Expatriate's (but not, we think, ex-patriot's ... yet) View
We've heard much about dual-medalling, but what about dual-citizenship? Dual muddling more like, and not by us!
This is a serious issue. It is very frustrating for those with dual-citizenship to contemplate on Remembrance Day or Anzac Day standing beside their fellow (non-British Commonwealth) citizens who can proudly wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia, yet they who also served Malaysia cannot.
The Queen has been told by the Honours and Decorations Committee to impose this shameful anomaly on our dual-citizenship ex-servicemen and women.
Here is a message Jock sent to the British Prime Minister. John 'Jock' Fenton is ex-Royal Signals, having also served in the Far East with the 17th Gurkha Division. He is now a Canadian citizen entitled to the Pingat Jasa Malaysia - but he can't wear it (yet!):
Posted on 11 Feb. 2006 11:03 am (Report this comment)
Your correspondent Gerald Law is absolutely correct! The PJM is NOT a 'commemorative' medal...the Malay term 'Jasa', in context, translates as 'Honourable Service'...(I learned to speak more than a smattering of Bahasa Melayu during my service in Singapore and Malaya).
Let me advocate that all interested parties write to their MP protesting the insult given by the HD's illogical decision ...since I have been a Canadian citizen for more than 40 years, and consequently no longer have a UK MP, I therefore recently mailed the following to 10 Downing Street..
The Rt Hon Tony Blair MP
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA
February 9, 2006
Dear Prime Minister,
Permit me, as a proud veteran of the Malayan "Emergency", to register my outrage and disappointment at the recent decision reached by Her Majesty's advisors who comprise the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, regarding conditional acceptance of the Pingat Jasa Malaysia.
To tell 35,000 loyal military ex-servicemen and women that they may accept a medal, but that they will not be permitted to wear it simply defies all logic. On the one hand, two rules (double-medalling and events over 5 years ago) are waived to permit acceptance and then, paradoxically, are immediately resurrected as reasons for the medal not being wearable.
This ridiculous decision denigrates the loyalty and service of we veterans. In addition, it demeans the sacrifice made by our comrades who fell during the course of that conflict. Simultaneously, it offers gratuitous insult to the Agong, Government and peoples of Malaysia, who tried, most graciously, by the offer of this medal, to express sincere gratitude to all Commonwealth personnel, in recognition of their "distinguished chivalry, gallantry, sacrifice and loyalty to the freedom of independence of Malaysia."
One sincerely hopes that there will soon be a further review of this matter and appropriate reversal of this ill-conceived and insulting condition.
In fact, perhaps it is now time to dissolve, the clearly redundant, Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals.
This fight, Sir, is far from over!
(Ex Royal Corps of Signals & 17th Gurkha Division)
And another from John 'Jock' Fenton. He sent this message to the Forum:
I just fired the following off to all media contacts...with any luck one of us might make it 'into print'...or perhaps inspire some awkward questions to be asked?...Hope so.
Permit me, as an expatriate, and as a proud veteran of the Malayan "Emergency” to register my outrage and disappointment at recent actions of the UK government concerning the award, by the Malaysian government, of the Pingat Jasa Malaysia, to all eligible Commonwealth veterans of Malaya and Borneo.
Governments of both New Zealand and Australia immediately accepted this honour, unconditionally. In contrast, the British Government initially announced in the House of Lords that they would refuse the Malaysian medal for British citizens on the basis that the award was ‘contrary to British Medals Policy’.
Months of intensive lobbying by veterans finally prodded the Foreign and Commonwealth Office into asking the Committee on the Grants of Honours, Decorations and Medals (known as the HD Committee, which advises The Queen on these matters), to review the policy in respect of foreign awards and the PJM.
Astoundingly, the HD Committee then provided a recommendation, which tells 35,000 loyal, military ex-servicemen and women, that while they may now accept this medal, they will not be permitted to wear it…which simply defies all logic!
This ridiculous decision denigrates the loyalty and service of we, the veterans. In addition, it demeans the sacrifice made by our comrades who fell during the course of those conflicts. And clearly, it offers unwarranted insult to the Agong, Government and peoples of Malaysia, who graciously tried, by offering this medal, to express sincere gratitude to all Commonwealth personnel, in recognition of their "distinguished chivalry, gallantry, sacrifice and loyalty to the freedom of independence of Malaysia."
Permit me to advise you, your readers, and the UK government …this fiasco is no longer a matter of purely local interest. Internationally, it portrays the United Kingdom in a very poor light!
John ‘Jock’ Fenton. Canada
(Ex Royal Corps of Signals & 17th Gurkha Division)
It's a privilege to read letters and messages such as those posted on this web site. We have support from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada - as well as the embattled Brits!
If you are inspired, why not write. Use your own words, pick some from these postings, but always write over your own name - never, please, over the name of those who have allowed their name and their correspondence to be published on these pages. Thank you.
Your turn now!
If you would like to comment on this page, please click here and send us your thoughts.
And here are some comments we've received:
One has to ask the question, just how the hell did this country rule half of the world?
Oh yes! It was on the backs of the servicemen and women who gave their all, that others might lead the world in total confusion.
(AR-S, UK - Contact details supplied)
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