Wednesday March 13, 2013
Lahad Datu: Celebrate good news with our men in blue and green
The Star Says
IT is welcome news indeed. And all Malaysians will rejoice with the 102,000 police and nearly 132,000 armed forces personnel whose salaries are being revised upwards and streamlined with the pay scheme of the civil service.
We are now seeing for ourselves, up close and personal, the heavy responsibilities that our security forces have to bear in carrying out their duties.
While our security forces, especially the military, usually remain in the background, they are the first to rise up and defend our land when our country is threatened.
And they have shown that they are always ready to do battle. Summoned at short notice, they will put their lives at risk to defend our safety and sovereignty.
Sadly, our first soldier died in a gun battle yesterday in the on-going Ops Daulat in Sabah. It is similar for the police, who lost eight of their men fighting the armed intruders.
But our support for their pay rise must not only be seen from this perspective.
As the details of their salary scales are revealed, we surely can see for ourselves that our men in blue and green – from the constable and the private, to the OCPDs and lieutenants – are deserving of a pay rise. Just look at the minimum pay of all the ranks.
Granted that our security forces are not motivated solely by monetary rewards, but we must always factor in the high risks involved for the OCPD leading his policemen to deal with social unrest, or a lieutenant-colonel commanding a battalion of soldiers into battle.
And the risks are there even in less threatening situations, like a constable going after a band of car thieves or a company of soldiers called in to rescue people lost in the jungle.
And when they fall, we grieve with their families, but we may not realise that the financial support for the surviving members of the family will be low if their salaries are low.
These are the unseen, and under-appreciated, consequences of being trapped in a low-salary structure.
Streamlining the pay scale for police and armed forces personnel with the civil service is also necessary to better reflect the rank held by a respective officer.
With the revision, police officers from the ranks of lance corporal to assistant commissioner and lance corporal to colonel for the armed forces will see a marked hike in their salary scales.
As Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ali Hamsa explained, police officers and armed forces personnel previously had to wait to be promoted a few ranks higher before their salary scale is raised.
Let us celebrate the good news together with our men in blue and green.
And let us remind ourselves, as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak puts it, that: “It is through their commitment that we Malaysians can go about our daily business without worry or fear, that our children can safely go to school, and we can earn a living and at the end of the day go home to our loved ones.”
We must always remember that.