The British Ministerial Statement
After Mr Straw's Foreign and Commonwealth Office had asked The Honours and Decorations Committee to review Medals Policy and the PJM, the Committee eventually got round to it some nine months later, on the 7th December 2005.
But that was not the end of their shameful delaying tactics. Their decision was not announced until the 31st January to allow time for a wearable PJM to be personally presented to The Queen's representative in Australia (presented to the Governor General on the 30th January, oddly!). And the Committee's recommendation was announced in a written Ministerial Statement, thus avoiding any public debate. Here is that Statement:
(Transcription of Ministerial Statement filed in the Library of the Commons
Tuesday, 31 st January 2006)
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
"Written Ministerial Statement
31 January 2006
Pingat Jasa Malaysia
The Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs (Mr Ian Pearson): The Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) is a commemorative medal which the Government of Malaysia would like to award to eligible British citizens, for their service in Malaya or Malaysia between 31 August 1957 and 12 August 1966.
The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (the official committee which advises Her Majesty The Queen on matters of honours policy) has recommended that an exception to two of the long-established Rules governing the accepting and wearing of foreign (including Commonwealth) awards to be made, to enable the Malaysian Government to present the PJM. Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve this recommendation.
This exception to the Rules means that all the many thousands of eligible former members of the Armed Forces/Veterans, and others, may receive the PJM. This will be in addition to the British General Service Medal (with appropriate Malaya/Borneo clasp) that many veterans will have been eligible to receive for their service in Malaya/Borneo.
Permission to wear the PJM will not, however, formally be given. It is long standing Government policy that non-British medals will not be approved for events or service:
- that took place more than 5 years before initial consideration, or in connection with events that took place in the distant past (e.g. commemorative medals);
- if the recipient has received a British award for the same service.
However, Her Majesty’s Government welcomes, and believes it is important to recognise, the generous gesture by the King and Government of Malaysia, and their wish to acknowledge the service given by veterans and others in the years immediately after Malaysian independence. The exception recommended reflects this and our strong and important relationship with Malaysia.
The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals reviewed the 5-year and double medalling rules, and considered that, while there were sound reasons why they should be retained, there will be occasions when specific circumstances require exceptions to the rules to be recommended. When such exceptions are contemplated, the Committee will consider each request on a case by case basis, taking into account any special circumstances at the time. The fact that a similar request has been approved in the past will not mean that permission will be granted in future cases.
Applications for the PJM, and its subsequent distribution will essentially be a matter for the Malaysian authorities, in collaboration with the relevant British Government Departments. Large numbers may be involved. It will take some time for the applications to be processed and for the medal to be distributed. The Malaysian High Commission and the relevant British Government agencies will work together to determine eligible applicants. Veterans’ organisations and Service and Regimental Associations will also be involved."
Needless to say, this announcement of a 'keepsake', to men and women who had served their country and Malaysia, created uproar. It is an appalling act of treachery - a shameless injustice that we shall fight to overcome.
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:
Comment= It is absolutely disgusting that we are not allowed to wear the medal. It is being presented by a grateful country for our aid and it is time this country got into the 21st century and stopped being PC in the wrong areas
(Ron Clater, UK - Contact details supplied)
Comment=Quite apart from the the fact that it is an afront to the many sevice men and women who served during those times, it is an insult to a proud nation.
(Ian Stewart Myles, UK - Contact details supplied)
Comment=It was not until I contacted you last Saturday, that I realised that not everyone who served in Borneo did not get the GSM & Bar.
Some years after I had left the Army I came across an article in the "The Soldier" relating to the GSM & Bar, that prompted me to make enqueries to the MOD medals division, only to be informed that I was not entitled to this decoration. As a member of the NMB Veterans Assn I have brought this matter to their attention and was assured that they would take this matter up but to date nothing has been done.
Having served in two of the Borneo conflicts, each and every one of us were and still are under the impression that our services were to be recognised by the award of the GSM/Bar for Borneo. If not then why were other units who came after us recognised with this award? Was our contribution this conflict not worthy of recognition? .
(James M Gavin, UK - Contact details supplied)
Comment=If, like the MoD claim, that services records from the Malaya Emergency and Malaysia Confrontation are lost or destroyed or what ever the case maybe which for one moment I do not believe, but let us say it is true, then how do the MOD defence for veterans medal office go about checking the service records, like in my case. I left the army in 1966 and in October 1967 they issued the GSM clasp Malay Peninsula for which I am entitled to and still being on the reserve list the MOD never notified me by letter to tell me that I was entitled to the GSM Malay Peninsular, just think that I could have been recalled and gone on parade and been charged with being improperly dressed i.e. not wearing my GSM ribbon.
Is it any wonder why this so called formal wearing of the PJM medal by the HD committee is double Dutch and gibberish boy scout recommended dib dib dib attitude, who elected these buffoons they are the people who should given a swift kick up the bullseye and elect people from the twentyfirst century and not middle age idiots, it is no wonder that they (HD committee) are the cuckoo clowns of the world.
(DB, UK - Name and Contact details supplied)
(Ed: Having been a cub scout of some (dis)repute, I can add a bit here. Arkela's call was spelled DYB, DYB, DYB, to which we would reply "We'll DOB, DOB, DOB" ... meaning "Do Your Best" ... "We'll Do Our Best". Not may people know that - inlcuding most serving cubs at the time!)
Comment=As a would-be recipient of the PJM, I am pleased, even honoured, to put my name forward to the growing list of names for the distinction of wearing this award along with all other Medals.
It has been succintly worded by others, the need to Honour the men and women who carried out their duties.
I am greatly Honoured to add my name to those of Dame Vera Lynn and distinguished VC members.
"CEDE NULLIS" (Yield to None) "Pleidiol GwfI'm Gwlad" (True I am to my Country)
(Alec Skelson, Australia - Contact details supplied)
[Ed: Thanks, Alec, and all those living in Oz, NZ, Canada, the USA, Spain, Malaysia and around the world, for all their unselfish support for beleaguered Brits!]