Photo of Ian Pearson

Ian Pearson (Minister of State (Trade), Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Dudley South, Labour)

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 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. It is long standing Government policy that non-British medals will not be approved for events or service:

that took place more than five 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 welcome, and believe 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 five-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.

Annotations

Hamish Waters
Posted on 3 Feb 2006 4:09 am (Report this annotation)

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

George fleming
Posted on 3 Feb 2006 5:47 am (Report this annotation)

Regards the longstanding doublmedaling rule mentioned in Ian Pearson's statement which is being used to prevent veterans from wearing the PJM medal , can HMG and HD committee please explain what is the difference between awarding a the UD or the NIHSM medal (on top of a GSM) to UDR veterans who served in Northern ireland 40 years ago to awarding a PJM (on top of a GSM) to all other veterans (from Army, RN & RAF) who served in Malaya Borneo 40 years ago?

Would civil servants in Whitehall not agree the HD committee have made a real horlicks of this one and must be accused of double standards when they are using a doubmedaling rule to prevent Malaya Borneo Veterans from wearing the PJM yet allowing another group of veterans who served in Northern ireland to wear two (out of three) medals with the permission of the Queen.

Enclosed is evidence of todays HD committee's doublestandards practised here in the UK.

General Service Medal 1962 & Clasp "Northern Ireland"

The Ulster Defence Medal (UD)

Northern Ireland Home Service Medal, "NIHSM"

http://www.udrassociation.org/Medals/Medals.htm
http://www.udrassociation.org/Medals/NIHSM.htm
http://www.udrassociation.org/Medals/UD%20Medal.htm

George Fleming
Malaya Borneo Veteran.

Peter Westwell
Posted on 4 Feb 2006 2:10 am (Report this annotation)

Sir, I have just spent the last fifteen months assisting this great country of ours to say 'Thank You' by the award of HM Armed Forces Veteran's Badge to those surviving WWII Veterans on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the end of Hostilities. During that time I ensured that some 1,200 Veterans in the West Midlands received this wonderful award. One Veteran, who was terminally ill, received his Veteran's Badge on a Tuesday and died on the following Saturday. It was reported to me that the award of this beautiful badge perked up this individual in the twilight of his days, such that it was if the country had awarded him its highest honour. WWII was his war. The Veteran's Badge was the UK way of saying 'Thank You'. Well my war - was Borneo 1963 until 1966 for which I was eventually sent a GSM 1962 with clasp 'Borneo' through the post - several years after the conflict. I am retired now - yet still wear this medal with pride at Remembrancetide. Now I am informed that little over a year ago the Malaysian Government with the full authority of the King of Malaysia took the unprecedented step of saying 'Thank You' to thousands of British and Commonwealth servicemen and women, who through their selfless action gave the Malaysian peoples their Freedom from tyranny and helped them to bring democracy to that lovely country. In doing so they opened up the 'Hearts and Minds' of those peoples to our Western culture, with a friendship that has surely stood the test of time - even until today. My question therefore is - "What right do some 'archaic' scribblings of long forgotten Generals have to do with a proud people - simply saying 'Thank You' to servicemen and women whom they see as 'THEIR' Saviours?" Under todays strict codes of military discipline and C3 - many of those same Generals would find themselves in 'hot' water and seriously castigated today with breaches of basic human rights and duty of care. Many servicemen were treated abysmally. I have personal experience of that. Please let me know how I can perhaps help - in putting right a serious wrong.? Yours Aye Peter Westwell

Barry Fleming
Posted on 4 Feb 2006 9:56 am (Report this annotation)

Sir, The HD Committee’s recommendation that the Pingat Jasa Malaysia should not be worn by those who served Malaysia is a shameful and despicable act of treachery.

Here is my open letter to those who perpetrated that injustice:

"How can The Queen, the head of the Commonwealth, be allowed to grant permission to her Australian and New Zealand Commonwealth citizens to wear a medal for Commonwealth service yet deny the same privileges to her British citizens? It's no good the MOD and HD Committee keeping harking on about the Aussies and Kiwis having ducked out of the British Honours system - we know that. And now we know why. The British system is out of date and out of touch - and controlled by individuals who are responsible to noone.

Why is it OK for Prince Edward to wear medals on an ersatz uniform when those medals commemorate events that happened a long time ago, probably events that happened before he was entitled to wear the uniform they found for him in the Royal Wessex Yeomanry wardrobe, and events that probably happened before he was born. Yet we who did the business are not allowed to do so. Where is the logic? Where is the justice? The Monarchy, that needs all the support it can get, is being made to look a laughing stock in the eyes of the rest of the Commonwealth.

Ten questions (these are just for starters, by the way) for The Queen, the MOD, and those unelected civil servants who decide our fate behind closed doors:

1. Did you know that Britain was the only country to serve continuously in every part of Malaysia, Singapore and Borneo between 1957 and 1966? Tell us why you may proclaim that we shall not be allowed the acknowledgement already graciously accepted by The Queen on behalf of other Commonwealth countries whose citizens did not fulfil that same service.

2. Did you know that the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade was only allowed to have a foothold in Malaysia (vital for its Thailand and Laos SEATO role as Malaysia was not in SEATO at the time) if those forces were first made available for service specifically for (I choose my words carefully) Malaysia? Having agreed that deal with Malaysia, tell us why you are now apparently saying " Malaysia where? 28 who? Agreement about what? Service doing what?" when stating that those who served in that Brigade may not now receive the medal they earned doing the job you needed them to do in order that you could meet your SEATO obligations.

3. Did you know that men and women, British citizens, served in Singapore for 5 1/2 years but did not get a medal from Britain? Tell us on what grounds can you deprive them of the right to wear the PJM for which they are eligible. Double-medalling? No! Double standards!

4. Did you know that men and women, British citizens, served on the Peninsula for 18 months but did not get a British medal? Tell us on what grounds can you deprive them of the right to wear the PJM for which they are eligible. Double-medalling? No! Double standards!

5. Did you know that the NZ Prime Minister had stated that the scope (by which we understand operations, service, and time scales) of the PJM was substantially broader than the existing NZ definition of operational service which includes the British GSM and the British CSM. Tell us where the NZ definition is different to our own. Double-medalling? No! Double standards!

6. Did you know that you have already agreed for commemorative anniversary medals, from the same foreign country (as opposed to Malaysia, a Commonwealth country) in respect of the same event (not different events) 60 years ago (more than 5 years ago), to be both accepted and worn? Tell us why Russia has so much more influence over you than Malaysia. You cannot all be Chelsea supporters.

7. Did you know that those British citizens who have become Australian citizens cannot wear the medal while standing next to Australian veterans who can? Where's the logic in that? They both salute The Queen as head of the Commonwealth.

8. Did you know that the PJM is being offered for service in a fight against terrorism that was successful? Tell us why this example of success against terrorism should be brushed under the carpet when you should be rallying support for the fight you have recently got us into - arguably an illegal fight.

9. Did you know that the Americans, despairing of success in Iraq using their current redneck tactics, have adopted “The Oil Spot Strategy” basing their future strategy on our successful formula for fighting terrorism in Malaysia? Tell us why we, who developed and delivered that successful strategy, should be spurned today.

10. Did you know that this would not be the first time this country had turned its back on those who served it in the Far East? Men died and their graves were left to rot in the merciless jungle, vandalised. It took a Malaysian policeman, supported by Malaya/Borneo veterans, to restore those graves. Do you know about God’s Little Acre? You should. Tell us why you left it to that wonderful man (decorated by the Australians for what he did) to ‘remember’ our dead.

Don’t try and make out that the PJM is not of sufficient standing to be worn in line with British medals. Are you suggesting that the Australians and New Zealanders are somehow beneath your level because they wear what you regard to be a trinket fit only to be given away with a packet of breakfast cereals?

You cannot justify double-medalling - it does not apply to the scope of the PJM. Why do you persist in trying to spin the truth to cover up your deviousness?

You cannot justify rejecting a Commonwealth award for service between 1957 and 1966 on the grounds of the events taking place more than 5 years ago. What is the logic? Explain yourselves.

The men and women of this country did their bit. If the King and Government of Malaysia want to acknowledge what we did, you should give us the right to wear what is justly ours. If you do not, those same men and women will fight another campaign against another form of terrorism - and ultimately they will be just as successful.

PS I see The Queen's representative in Australia was presented with his Pingat Jasa Malaysia on the 30th January - the day before the Government timed the release of the HD Committee's shameful decision - timed to spare the Governor General the embarrassment of receiving and wearing a medal that we cannot now wear! Shameful!"

Barry Fleming (Far East veteran), Berkshire, England (but dusting down my passport)

Gerald Law
Posted on 6 Feb 2006 6:47 pm (Report this annotation)

Like the earlier comments, I too am dismayed and not a little disgusted at the way the HD Committee has treated its Malaya/Borneo veterans. I can add little to the sentiments already aired. The PJM was offered by a friendly, Commonwealth nation in grateful thanks for the service given by other Commonwealth nations in establishing a democracy in the face of hostile, Communist terrorism. Australian and New Zealand goverments have embraced the offer without reservation, but our own people see the medal only as a worthless bauble to be hidden from the view of the population at large. I suggest that all MP's and the members of the HD Committee read, or read again, Rudyard Kipling's poem "Tommy". The sentiments expressed therein are apparently as true today as they were when the poem was first written over 100 years ago.
Gerald Law (ex RAF Borneo Veteran)

Gerald Law
Posted on 10 Feb 2006 3:29 pm (Report this annotation)

The PJM is NOT a commemorative medal, but a service medal. A commemorative medal is something like a Coronation or a Jubilee medal - struck to celebrate a particular event, usually "one-off". A service medal is an award for having participated in a conlict of arms. Perhaps if those concerned in making such crass decisions should first experience the conditions that the veterans had to put up with so many years ago.

john fenton
Posted on 11 Feb 2006 11:03 am (Report this annotation)

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
United Kingdom

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!

Sincerely,

John(Jock)Fenton

(Ex Royal Corps of Signals & 17th Gurkha Division)

George fleming
Posted on 12 Feb 2006 5:44 am (Report this annotation)

Important notice to all Malaya Borneo veterans, politicans and members of the general public who
visit this site, please come and join our fight to campaign for the right to wear the The Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal at this new website.

http://www.fight4thepjm.org/forum/

John Feltham
Posted on 12 Feb 2006 2:11 pm (Report this annotation)

Malaysia (PJM).

Thank you for your reply to my msg. I have already seen the Ministers statement. It was a disgraceful statement from a Minister of the Crown.

As a veteran of that period of time and qualified to receive this award, there are a few comments that I would like to make and a couple of questions that I want to ask you.

First the comment.

I am absolutely gobsmacked at the unbelievable insult that HM Government has given to the King of Malaysia and his peoples. They are a country that do not take an insult lightly. HM Government hasn't won any "Brownie Points" in that beautiful country. Fancy saying to the Veterans of that 'undeclared war', that the Veterans can have the award - but they CANNOT WEAR IT! Further, it isn't HM Government that is awarding the PJM! Where do they get the arrogance to decide whether we can receive this award or not?

I would really like to be invited to the next meeting of the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, to tell them what I, and about 35,000 veterans think of their unbelievable and disgraceful decision.

Now to the questions.

What is Committee's interpretation of the word "formally," in the sentence from their disgraceful Ministerial Statement - "Permission to wear the PJM will not, however, formally be given." ?

What do they mean by "formally" ?

As you might have gathered from my email address, I live in Australia. I migrated here in 1969 and took out Australian Citizenship in 1986. I attend and march every year, in the annual Anzac Day march, wearing my GSM with two clasps - Borneo and Malaya Peninsular. I note that Ian Pearson, "The Minister," was only 5 years old, when I was serving in Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei during the "Confrontasi" period.

As you are no doubt aware, the Australian and New Zealand Government were both offered the PJM for their veterans of that 'undeclared war', by the King of Malaysia and his Government.

The Queen of New Zealand and the Queen of Australia graciously gave her permission for those New Zealanders and Australians veterans to wear their PJM, with NO RESTRICTIONS on wearing it.

How do you think that I and other UK veterans, will feel marching in the next Anzac Day Parade alongside my colleagues in the Australian Returned Servicemen's League - they proudly wearing their PJMs, while I can't wear mine. (Even if I had it).

Yes, we all know that the Queen referred to above, is also the Queen of England, I think that she would feel guilty about this mistreatment of her subjects if she knew. The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, should be down on their knees, begging her forgiveness.

Finally, have you any time line when we might receive these awards? It took nearly ten months for HM Government to make their disgraceful decision. I have already posted in my Application Form (on the day the disgraceful Statement was made).

What is going to be the procedure for its issue to veterans? I hesitate to ask this question, knowing how long "they" took to decide whether they were going to accept it on our behalf. I suspect that a good majority of the 35,000 veterans might be dead by the time a decision is made?

The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, has dishonoured 35,000 ex-servicemen of Britain. And we will remember those who have dishonoured us.

Veteran, Malaya, North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak, during "Confrontasi".

Lest We Forget.

John Feltham
Australia

George fleming
Posted on 18 Feb 2006 5:20 am (Report this annotation)

Re: Mr Brown's Annual day to honour UK veterans.?
From: george.fleming @ fight4thePJM.org

To: Hoylel @ parliament.uk

Cc: public.enquiries @ homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk, pearsoni @ parliament.uk, michael.jay @ fco.gov.uk, Barry.Griffiths @ fco.gov.uk, chris.edge @ fco.gov.uk, denis.brennan @ cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk
reidj @ parliament.uk, Touhigd @ parliament.uk, ingrama @ parliament.uk, clarkec @ parliament.uk, Camerond @ parliament.uk, Haguew @ parliament.uk, Davisd @ parliament.uk, Moorem @ parliament.uk, Carmichaela @ parliament.uk, webmaster @ nmbva.co.uk
Date: FridayFebruary 12173120062004 10:08 pm

Subject: Re: Re: Annual day to honour UK veterans

Pingat Jasa Medal " Hansard Parliament (9 Feb 2006)"

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm20050...

Dear Mr Hoyle,

Thank you kindly for questioning the Secretary of State for Defense, answered by the MOD veterans affairs minister Mr. Touhig MP over the wearing of Pingat Jasa Medal.

Please find enclosed the Malaysian qualifications for the PJM medal in a letter I received from the Malaysian High Commission for your perusal.

As you probably know HMG have allowed us veterans to ACCEPT the PJM but we are not allowed to WEAR the medal even at formal occasions such as the new "Annual day to honour UK veterans." recently announced on TV by Mr Brown MP.

Notice in enclosed copy of Ian Pearson's Ministerial statement medal rules were reviewed, relaxed and amended to allow ACCEPTANCE, but those same rules were reinstated, to strengthen and harden, so as to officially prevent veterans from WEARING of the PJM medal.

A medal that is first allowed to be accepted but then is not allowed to be worn is not a medal. It becomes a $2 trinket and is therefore seen as an insult to most veterans.

Veterans from the Fight 4 the right to wear the PJM medal www.fight4thepjm.org/forum/ thank you for questioning MOD front bench ministers over the PJM medal. I hope more MPs like yourself from across the house will join us to campaign have the Ministerial Statement re amended so as to allow 35,000 veterans to officially wear the PJM medal with the pride it deserves at Mr Brown's new "Annual day to honour UK veterans."

Yours sincerely
George Fleming
Malaya Borneo Veteran

John Feltham
Posted on 23 Feb 2006 6:06 am (Report this annotation)

23rd February 2006.
Letters to The Editor.


The AUSTRALIAN Newspaper
Melbourne
Australia

Dear Sir,

Subject: The Poms are at it – Again.

Recently (30 January 2006), His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC., Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, was invested with the Pinjat Jasa Malaysia. (PJM). A medal struck by the Agong and Government of Malaysia to commemorate and recognise all those who served with the Armed Forces of the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, in North Borneo, Sarawak, Brunei and Malaysia during the Confontasi (Confrontation), with Indonesia during the early 1960’s.

The day after the GG was invested with his PJM in Canberra, by Datuk Ilyas Bin Haji Din RMN., representing the Agong and Government of Malaysia, the UK Government released a Statement which I paraphrase :- “The British Government has advised Her Majesty to allow veterans to accept the medal, but they will be forbidden to wear it.”

This is contrary to the advice given by the Australian and New Zealand Governments who advised the same Queen to authorise UNRESTRICTED acceptance. So far the UK Government has refused to satisfactorily justify, their disgraceful decision.

Sir, 35,000 ex-members of the UK Armed Forces have been insulted by this silly, silly, statement.

Not only the veterans, but the Agong and Government of Malaysia must feel aggrieved at this decision? You can have it, but not wear it? Why would the Agong and Government of Malaysia offer this medal, if it was not meant to be worn?

I am an Australian citizen who served in the RAF in all of these theatres. When I march in the annual Anzac Day March in 2007, will I be marching alongside a digger proudly wearing his PJM while I have my PJM in my pocket.

You may ask why Anzac Day 2007. It took the UK Government nearly a year to make this disgraceful decision, so I cannot see them being able to distribute this award until 2007, by which time a lot of my compatriots will be dead. Perhaps that is the Grand Strategy?

I ask all ex-servicemen of the UK to join in the protest that is being raised at a web site created for just this aim, at…

www.fight4thepjm.org


Australia

John Feltham
Posted on 19 Jul 2006 5:13 pm (Report this annotation)

Military Historical Society of Western Australia - Monthly Meeting.

I gave a presentation about the PJM this evening (18th Juky) to the Military Historical Society of Perth, Western Australia.

When I got to the bit about “accept the PJM - but you can’t wear it", I asked people to write down what their thoughts were at that moment.

Here is a sample.............

What a dichotomy – you can have it but you can’t wear it! What boxxxcks.

Appalling & insulting.

Bxxxxxxt ! Wear it with pride!

Shame on the British Government.

It’s a lot of cxxp.

Grossly unfair.

I want my medal now!

Tricky baxxxxds.

Absolute buxxxxit.

Disgraceful.



What more can I say. It was totally unanimous!

Gerald Law
Posted on 19 Jul 2006 7:51 pm (Report this annotation)

And of course, John, your audience show a great deal more intelligence than do the suits in Whitehall who are still living in an early Victorian era when the peasants had better know their place. They haven't yet realised that tugging forelocks to one's supposed betters is not done anymore. Not forelocks but a word that is very similar. I cannot concieve of any logical reason why they should want to alienate so many of Her Majesty's most loyal subjects. Whatever faith I once had for the British sense of justice and fair play has evaporated into the mists of Whitehall obfuscation.

Nigel Evans
Posted on 20 Aug 2009 1:25 pm (Report this annotation)

It's worth pointing out that there is another case of the 1962 GSM and and a 'matching' foreign award, albeit in this case not decades later. Oman.

The PJM system doesn't work too well either, I requested mine a year or so ago, in writing, via the UK veterans group but have heard nothing from them.

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