Saturday May 26, 2012
Loud ‘no’ to NS proposal
By JEANNETTE GOON, R.S.N. MURALI and FARIK ZOLKEPLI
PETALING JAYA: It’s thumbs down to a proposal that national service training be made compulsory for all secondary school leavers in future.
An education action group, parents and students cited a variety of reasons as to why they objected to National Service Training Council chairman Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe’s proposal.
Dr Tiki had on Thursday said the move had been discussed by the council and would be brought to the Government for agreement, besides seeking feedback from the public.
“If this is approved, about 500,000 trainees will be involved in a year. Thus, we will review the current infrastructure, whether it should be expanded to cater to all the trainees,” he said.
However, Defence Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Ismail Ahmad said it would be difficult to enlist all secondary school leavers as the programme could accommodate only 90,000 trainees per intake.
“We pick trainees at random to be placed at 79 camps nationwide. It is difficult to enlist all secondary school leavers as our annual births are almost half a million,” he said yesterday.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (Page) chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said that until camp facilities were upgraded, the public would not favour the proposal.
“Until matters such as safety can be guaranteed, NS shouldn’t be made compulsory,” she said, adding that camp upgrades would be very costly for the Government.
Parents also raised concerns about safety, health and hygiene.
“The camp that my nephew was at had a lot of bullying cases,” said parent Karen Wong, 48, who also has a son in Form Five.
Lawrence Liu, 53, whose daughter is in Form Four, said the programme had safety issues.
“There have been many cases of deaths. When trainees get sick, not enough attention is given,” he said.
Form Four student Amin Haikal Ahmad, 16, from SMK Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Terengganu, said the programme had an image problem.
“I heard a lot of horror stories from NS camps ... I don’t want to be part of it, although its intention is good,” he said
Nur Fatin Syahmi Aqilah Mohd Ghani, 16, said instead of forcing school leavers, the Government should encourage voluntary enrolment, just like it provides incentives to enter the university.