Hamish's Letters to the Press and to the Governor General of Australia
We think this letter is a belter. It expresses so much of what we all feel - the anger and frustration at all the double standards that prevail in this country:
Malaya Borneo Veterans Snubbed
Sir, The Ministerial Statement by Mr Ian Pearson concerning the commemorative medal awarded to British and Commonwealth veterans for their service in Malaya or Malaysia between 1957 and 1966 by the Government of Malaysia appals me and many other veterans. We are now told, after government ministers and the Committee on the Grant of Honours have prevaricated on this issue for one year, that whilst we can receive the medal we are not allowed to wear it. Is this the way to treat a Commonwealth award from the King and Government of Malaysia?
It is ironic that this week His Excellency the Governor General of Australia was awarded the same Malaysian medal with an unrestricted right to wear for his service in the Australian Army . I like many British veterans who reside in Australia will wear the Malaysian medal with pride in line with our General Service Medal at ANZAC day parades alongside Australian veterans who have no restriction on the wearing of the medal.
I can understand why the Australian and New Zealand government left the Imperial Honours system. Perhaps it is now time to dissolve the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals.
Hamish Waters- Borneo Veteran, Melbourne, Australia
Extract from Ministerial statement below:
Written Ministerial Statement 31 January 2006
Pingat Jasa Malaysia
“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 31August 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 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 of 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
And a copy of Hamish's letter to the Governor General of Australia, The Queen's representative in Australia (who has been presented with his wearable PJM), enclosing a copy of Hamish's letter to the Press (reporting that The Queen has been told to deny us the same right that the GG has).
His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
Yarralumla, ACT 2600
13 th February 2006
Dear General Jeffery
Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM)
Congratulations on receiving the above medal the other day from the Government of Malaysia.
I am a veteran of the British Army having served in Borneo in 1966. The Australian Government readily accepted the award to be given to their service personnel who are eligible for the PJM without any restrictions. The British Government, after much campaigning by veterans, recently issued a written ministerial statement accepting the award but placed a restriction on wearing the medal following the advice of the Honours Directorate. The Queen of Australia of course places no restrictions on eligible service personnel wearing this medal.
I believe the Committee on the Grant of Honours , Decorations and Medals in the UK made a grave error of judgement in their decision in not allowing veterans to wear this medal. I like many British veterans who reside in Australia will wear the Malaysian medal with pride in line with my General Service Medal at ANZAC day parades alongside Australian veterans who have no restriction on the wearing of the medal. I do in fact have dual Australian and British nationality and I know that as a citizen of Australia I can wear this award.
There are approximately 30,000 British service personnel who are eligible for this award including the British SAS who you served with in Borneo. I would like your support in writing to the HMG and the HD committee to get the restriction on wearing the medal lifted. The issue of double medalling put out by some is not a valid argument since many veterans who are eligible for the PJM did not receive a GSM. Further information on this issue can be obtained on the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association web site at www.nmbva.co.uk. The Malaysian Government have been very gracious in making this award and I believe the British Government are in error in placing restrictions on wearing this Commonwealth medal.
Enclosed is a letter that I recently wrote to the British press which expresses by sentiments on this subject.
I hope I have your support and look forward to hearing from you.
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!
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And here are some comments we've received:
Subject =Dual Nationality
Comment = As an ex army member I served two full tours of duty in Singapore and Malaysia. Also serving in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. I have the GSM with bars for Malay Peninsula and Borneo. I for one, if and when we get the medal, will wear it with pride. I will also wear the Australian Service Medal
as Ii served six years as a regular.
(Trevor John Ledger, Australia - contact details supplied)
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