Friday, 14 October 2011

Forming Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association (SRVA)

There are too many sad tales about the ex servicemen in Sarawak. I do not want to mention the  predicaments of ex servicemen in Peninsula Malaysia as my effort is directed towards Sarawak only. Someone may ask me: Why Sarawak only? This is because all my works from the very beginning had started with the Iban Trackers and Sarawak Rangers. I have heard and seen how they fared after they had left the service. Many are living below the poverty line. Many are eking a living and find it hard to make ends meet.

I came to a conclusion that forming SRVA will be the most noble thing I could ever think of. We plan to make money through honest means - engaging in legal business activities. We do not want to beg for money and funds.

These money will be used to raise the standard of living of the veterans and their families. The details are spelt out in SRVA's Constitution.

Though priority will be given to the Sarawak and Malaysian Rangers, we feel we should not neglect the other Sarawak veterans from other Corps. They can apply to be members as well but they will not have any voting rights. We have not thrashed out the details of what they are entitled or not entitled to.

We had formed a protem committee and had had the first meeting on 19 September 2011 with me as the protem President, Capt Dr. George Kurka as the Deputy President, Capt Johari Ibrahim as the Secretary General and Major Micheal Riman as the Treasury General.

After the meeting we held a press conference.

The Borneo Post of 20 September 2011 carried our messages.

Immediately after my return from Sarawak on 27 September 2011, I wrote to YAB Pehin Sri Abdul Taib and YB Tan Sri Alfred Jabu to seek an appointment to see them on two things:

1.   Reviving the Sarawak Rangers.

2.   Formation of the Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association.

The first may take sometime and with more efforts, while as the second (SRVA) is on the way to being registered with ROS.

Update No. 1 (28 October 2011)
I have an appointment with Senior Minister YB Tan Sri James Masing who had been supporting my moves in this issue on 3 November 2011. I tried to get dates to see the CM and DCM but they are busy and very much tied up.

I have prepared the necessary proposal paper on the proposal to revive Sarawak Rangers and formation of Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association.

I hope to impress on YB Tan Sri James Masing to help me push the idea to the highest level.

Update No. 2 (3 November 2011)
As planned, I met YB Tan Sri James Masing in his Ministry on 3 November 2011. We had a fruitful discussion. I briefed him on my two plans:

1.     Formation of Sarawak Rangers Veterans Association, which will be registered through the new Veterans Act / Council which was recently tabled in Parliament and now awaiting for the final endorsement by DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong - most likely in December 2011. That is why we do not want to have it registered through ROS, as it would mean we would have to re-register it again with the Veterans Council later.

         The Association has already been accepted by the Ministry of Defence even though it is functioning under its protem committee. It was brought to my attention that some former members of the Sarawak Rangers questioned our rights in forming SRVA. As we are members of the Malaysian Rangers and not Sarawak Rangers, we shouldn't call our Association by that name. Name aside, the Association will strive to serve ALL SERVICEMEN, including ex- Iban Trackers, ex- Sarawak Rangers, ex- Malaysian Rangers, other ex-servicemen from the other Corps and their immediate family members. This is spelt out in our Constitution. I used the term "Sarawak Rangers" because we want to honour and respect them for the sacrifices that they had made to this nation of ours.  

2.      The revival of Sarawak Rangers.   In my proposal paper, I based the organisation of the New Sarawak Rangers on a  standard Infantry Battalion. We know, asking for a Battalon is too much. It is up to the State to determine the size of the Unit it can afford ot sustain.  

          The Minister voiced his opinion that he like the idea of retaining the tracking skills it was famous for. This will be an aspect that will be considered. I have touched on the roles that the New Sarawak Rangers can play in.

Meeting Minister YB Tan Sri James Masing in his Ministry.
L to R:  WO 1 (Rtd) Temenggong Datuk Kanang ak Langkau SP PGB, Lt Col (Rtd) Robert Rizal Abdullah PGB, YB Tan Sri James Masing, Captain (Rtd) Johari Ibrahim and Captain (Rtd) Cr George Kurka.

I presented my book to the Minister

Update No. 3 (4 November 2011)
The next day, 4 November 2011, I had my second meeting to fine-tune the SRVA.

Commander 9 Brigade (right), Brig Gen Datuk Stephen Mundaw (the first Iban General) in attendance.

To my right is Secretary General Capt (Rtd) Hj Johari Ibrahim, Temenggong Datuk Kanang ak. Langkau SP, PGB and Major (Rtd) Kahar.

L to R:  Brig Gen Datuk Stephen Mundaw (in attendance only), Commander 9 Brigade, Capt Dr George Kurka, Deputy President of SRVA.
At the other end of the table is Major (Rtd) Micheal Riman PGB

       L to R:  Warrant Officer 1 (Rtd) Adi Jala, Major (Rtd) Kahar, me, Brig Gen Datuk Stephen Mundaw, Capt (Rtd) Hj Johari Ibrahim, WO 1 (Rtd) Temenggong Kanang ak. Langkau SP, PGB and Capt Dr George Kurka.


  1. A good start has been made!! And gathering of support for both should be heightened....The sincere support from friends and politicians would make this movement very meaningful and worthwhile for Sarawak...May your history be long and significant.

  2. Robert Rizal Abdullah22 October 2011 at 22:01


    Thanks. I am forming the Association out of pity and the need to improve the lives of the retired ex Trackers, ex Sarawak Rangers and ex Malaysian Rangers. Many are finding it hard to make ends meet after their retirement.

  3. Hello Colonel, I applaud your gracious initiative. YES, we must help remember the gallant warriors of Sarawak ! I am quite taken by this attempt to revive THE SARAWAK RANGERS.

  4. Robert Rizal Abdullah24 October 2011 at 04:18

    Hi Cyril,

    What a surprise to "meet" you here. Thanks for dropping by.

    Yes, the SRVA will be officially registered with our Armed Forces' Veterans Council which will be officially established sometime in November/December 2011. With the formation of the Veterans Council, there is no need for any new Armed Forces' association to be registered with the Registrar of the Society (ROS). It will be a simpler process.

  5. Hello Col,
    Actually iv lost count of the number of xservicemen association in Malaysia. I wouldn't deny that the formation of these associations....are, in fact, for the betterment of our VETERANS. But then....what's the function of PBTM?
    To summarise, i would say that PBTM is ineffective in looking after the welfare of our veterans. Probably there are too much politiking within its circle. N that's the reason why we're having *splinter groups* emerging to form their own associations.
    Anyway, do keep up the good work, sir, and god bless!

  6. Hi Tiong,

    You are very right in your assessment. PBTM is not effective in looking after the welfare of all ex servicemen and that is the reason why we have so many individual Corps forming their own association.

    It is high time for them to re-plan their strategy and change their stagnant leadership.