Malaysia: Honours

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 31st March 2008.

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Photo of Don Touhig Don Touhig Labour, Islwyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why the decision not to allow recipients of the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal to wear the decoration on public occasions was set aside for the celebration coinciding with the anniversary celebrations of Malaysian independence.

Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Ministers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence put forward a proposal to the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals that veterans exceptionally be allowed to wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal during the main independence celebrations in Malaysia because of the significance of the anniversary.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No12 people think not

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David Dilley
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 5:55 pm (Report this annotation)

Meg Munn has again been advised by those in the FCO, Cabinet Office and MoD who are also members of the HD Cttee. The truth please; was it the actual Ministers of these Departments, or as I believe, the Senior Servant Ceremonial Officers of these departments who made the decision, the same who constitute the HD committee? In a speech, Meg Munn emphasised the closeness of our relations with Malaysia and our we are working together, etc, etc and how nice it was that our forces had received the PJM but not admitting that we were not allowed to wear it. So, was it just because of the significance of the anniversary (which I believe, as I said elsewhere was designed to avoid political embarrassment)and if not why does she not support our view regarding the wearing of the pJM which would further our close ties with the Malaysians.

John Cooper
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 6:48 pm (Report this annotation)

Ms. Munn

The 3 week 'grace' was merely to avoid any embarrassment to HMG with dignitaries in attendance such as HRH The Duke of York during the 50th Merdeka celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.

We Veterans find these actions disgraceful, I wonder deep down in their hearts what those lovely Malaysians feel, I cannot say the same for HMG as they appear to have no sense or hearts.

The ladder you need to get out of your self dug pit appears to be getting longer and longer, if you feel like staying the course we Veterans have had the staying power in the past, we have it now and our future generations intend to carry on the struggle, your call.............

John Rushton
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 6:59 pm (Report this annotation)

David Dilley hits the nail on the head. It was to avoid embarrassment for the government. Nothing more, nothing less.

Ms Munn mentions "because of the significance of the anniversary".

Does she really believe that the fact that Malaysia awarded this honour to thousands of Veterans who had served their country well many years ago, was not of significance to the anniversary too and that to refuse permission for Veterans to wear it was an insult to a friendly nation? Remembering of course that Veterans originally were even refused permission to accept it!!!

In my small way, being a Veteran of the Malaysian Campaign, I sent my personal greetings on that occassion and was soon in possession of a very pleasant reply from a senior diplomat.

Sadly our Civil Servants, and some Senior Polititions are above such niceties such as responding to my non offensive communications. My only offence seems to be to ask for answers they do not want to give.

john fenton
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 7:01 pm (Report this annotation)

The sole reason for permitting the temporary wearing of the PJM was to spare any potential for embarrassment to representatives of the Crown and of the UK Government who were in personal attendance in Duke of York and the UK High Comm....One must assume it's OK to insult the generous donor country in the streets of Britain....but not so in the streets of KL.....What insufferable hypocrisy

Michael Barton
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 9:00 pm (Report this annotation)

Nobody on princes Street in Edinburgh on 27th August last year when Malaya veterans were invited to the Malaysia In Edinburgh Pavilion to be thanked for doing their all 50 years previously had any problems with the fact that we veterans wore our PJM medals. Those of the public who crowded into the pavilion to hear what was said by a Malaysian Government minister were disgusted to hear that we were in fact breaking rules in order NOT to insult our hosts, regardless of protocol. I and many other such veterans spoke to people from many nations over a period of several hours and the general consensus was that our government was in the wrong...totally and utterly. As old soldiers we veterans had made a decision we all felt would not upset our Queen, the lady we all fought for, and who I am sure would never have forgiven us for being disrespectful, not in her name, but through the stupidity of those who think they know better than our Monarch.

Jamie Duncan
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 9:28 pm (Report this annotation)

How can this pinstriped, self-serving mob allow the 'temporary' wearing of an award?

Political expediency obviously has a much higher priority than justice for veterans, any day of your week.

Here in Australia, I have seen many a PJM being proudly worn by ANZACs at memorial ceremonies, yet I am not permitted to wear mine! British justice and fair play the envy of the world? Don't make me larf!

The Aussies have several stock phrases that would cover the pomposity and stupidity of this decision, (and your 'Sir Humphrey' responses), none of them complimentary.

You are supposed to be on our side.

Andy Nicoll
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 10:12 pm (Report this annotation)

More lies and obfuscation. We all know that it was to prevent embarrassment to the UK government, nothing else and if the Permanent Under Secretary of State at the FCO, Meg Munn MP believes she is pulling the wool over our eyes then she can think again. The PJM has now been given permission for wear albeit temporarily but this gives the honourable PJM 'wearable status' and all their ramblings about double medalling, integrity of the system, long-standing principles, and medals which do not meet the required criteria, is now just good old male bovine excreta. They know it, we know it, and the rest of the general public know it that as reported in the media this is the most incompetent government in our history. The present FCO Permanent Under Secretary of State is demonstrating just how useless they are. Can we please have someone who will at least attempt to answer questions properly and not just dish out the usual rubbish.

John Cooper
Posted on 1 Apr 2008 11:06 pm (Report this annotation)

Ms. Munn if your advisors/researchers would pass the comments and the votes as listed in 6 questions from Don Touhig MP you will realise that you are the only one with two left feet.

Take a leaf out of the books of one of your predecessors and realise that you are being misinformed by your advisors who have erred big time and will not accept that they have, if you are not listening then let me just remind you that the electorate are especially in your Sheffield Constituency!