Wednesday January 23, 2013
‘GE’ to be held in 81 NS camps
By PATRICK LEE
SEMENYIH: National Service (NS) trainees will hold mock elections in all 81 camps this year, mimicking the general election.
Calling it an “election simulation”, NS Department director-general Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil said the programme would mirror that of university polls.
“We're going to use the camps as a platform to show how the political process works,” he told a press conference at the Setia Ikhlas NS camp.
He added that trainees would be divided into two “political” groups, carry out campaigning and even nominate and vote for their peers.
Abdul Hadi said the programme was not designed to create young political leaders but to educate the trainees on Malaysia's election process.
“We're worried that youths today forget or aren't aware of the democratic process of how leaders are appointed,” he said.
Camp supervisors, he added, would be trained by the Election Commission to oversee these polls.
Abdul Hadi also said that more youths today were interested in the NS than before.
“The perception is changing. People now don't see NS as a burden, but as an opportunity,” he said.
He added that 2,000 people had applied voluntarily to join the first NS batch this year, of which 867 were approved. In comparison, he said that 4,000 had applied voluntarily in 2012, with more than 500 youths getting in.
NS volunteer Himuneswary Subramaniam, 18, said she applied because of her ambition to become a police officer.
“I hope that the NS can be a stepping stone and for me to get some experience,” she said.
Yesterday, Abdul Hadi oversaw the opening ceremony for the first of three NS batches for 2013. This year also marks a decade of operations for the programme.
A total of 140,000 trainees are involved in the NS this year.