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Malaya (Rosette)

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 25 March 2010

The Petition of citizens of the United Kingdom,

Declares that they accept the recognition of the award of the NGSM/GSM with clasp MALAYA to all members of the three Armed Forces of the Commonwealth, approximately 100,000 in number, a high proportion of them being National Servicemen, serving on active service in Malaya during the emergency from 16th June 1948 to its cessation on 31st of July 1960; on the 31st August 1957 the Government of the United Kingdom granted Malaya its independence.

Further declares that the Malaysian Government was formed in 1963 to include Singapore and the States of Sabah and Sarawak on the Island of Borneo; that the amalgamation of the States began a confrontation with the Indonesian Government Army; that to resist the incursion by the Indonesian Army, under the defence treaty signed between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the United Kingdom, it was necessary to take up arms by the Commonwealth Forces resulting in an agreement being reached in August 1966; and that the Government of the United Kingdom awarded the NGSM/GSM with clasp BORNEO and the Government of Malaysia awarded the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) to all Commonwealth Forces engaged during the confrontation, including all serving members still engaged on active service in Malaya post 31st July 1957, disregarding those forces actively engaged prior to that date.

The Petition further declares that those who fought and endured the struggle between 1948 and 1957 do not qualify for any further recognition for their part in the defeat of the Military Army of the Malayan Communist Party.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to bring forward legislation to award an additional rosette, to be attached to the NGSM/GSM medal ribbon, to all forces who qualify for active service in Malaya between 16th June 1948 and 31st August 1957, in order to distinguish between those who served before Malaya’s date of independence and those after; a similar circumstance was recognised by the award of a rosette with the South Atlantic Falklands Medal Ribbon.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sandra Gidley, Official Report, 3 February 2010; Vol. 505, c. 410 .]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Defence:

Service during the Malayan Emergency between 16 June 1948 and 30 June 1960 has been marked by the institution of the Naval General Service Medal (NGSM) 1915-62 and GSM 1918-62 with the clasp “Malaya”.

It was, as is now, the responsibility of those in Command at the time to determine when it was appropriate to request medals for campaign service and similarly to decide when it was felt that their continued issue for a particular campaign was no longer necessary. If the military Chain of Command agreed that some additional recognition for those who served in Malaya between 1948 and 1960 was appropriate, they would have to prepare a case to be considered by the cross-Government, non-political Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (HD Committee). This committee considers all cases for new medals and all amendments to the eligibility criteria for existing medals and makes recommendations to the Queen. It is this and previous Governments’ view that it is the role of Commanders and not Ministers to determine when campaign medals should be issued.

Since the end of the Second World War the HD Committee has made it clear that it will not consider cases for any new medals, or amendments to the qualifying criteria for existing medals recognising service performed many years ago. The reason for this policy is that the present HD Committee cannot put itself in the place of the Committee which made the original decision and which would have been able to take account of the views of the Government and of other interested parties at the time of the decision.

To conclude, the institution of the NGSM and GSM with a “Malaya” clasp was entirely appropriate for the operations undertaken at that time. It is for these reasons that there are no plans to introduce any additional recognition in the form of a medal, clasp or rosette, for those veterans who served in Malaya during the Emergency.

I hope this explains the Government’s position on this matter.