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To ask Her Majesty's Government why British recipients are not permitted to wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal awarded by the King and Government of Malaysia to British and Commonwealth Forces who served in Malaysia during the Malayan Emergency and the Malaysian-Indonesian confrontation periods, when it may be worn by recipients in other Commonwealth countries.
It is a great testimony to our veterans that the Malaysian Government wished to honour them with the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal which was introduced in 2005 in recognition of the role they played in supporting Malaysia and beforehand Malaya, between August 1957 and August 1966.
As a foreign award, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has the Government lead on the PJM. I am delighted that an exception to our rules was recommended by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals to allow our veterans to accept the medal and that this recommendation was agreed by Her Majesty the Queen.
Permission was not however recommended for the PJM to be worn by veterans as the majority had previously been awarded the British General Service Medal (GSM), for their service in the region. There was a period of time, between 1960 and 1962 and, in the case of the Army, from mid-1965 onwards when the risk and rigour was not deemed sufficient to award a medal to British troops stationed in the area. It is therefore the case that some personnel did not receive a British medal for the time that they served there and they may consider that receiving the PJM would not contravene our long-standing "no double double-medalling" convention as they do not have a British medal for their service. However, the qualifying periods for the GSM were very carefully considered at the time, and it must be assumed that those in authority had good reasons for the criteria prescribed. The lack of a General Service Medal, or a clasp to it, does not, in itself, mean automatic qualification to wear the PJM.
The Governments of the Commonwealth are autonomous and independent of each other. Each Government apply their own rules and judgment to their own citizens. This applies to medals as it applies to other aspects of public policy. These differences do not constitute unfair discrimination, but the reasonable exercise of independent judgment by each country's Government in line with its own constitutional principles.