Thursday, July 12, 2007

National Service (NS)

NS, no end to its problems

I refer to the report “NS to close cash-strapped camps” (Sunday Star July 8).

The decision to close Cash-strapped National Service (NS) training camps is the right move for the well being of the trainees.

According to the Defence Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Ahmad Latiffi Hashim,the payments to the NS camp operators were adequate and yet these operators are unable to run these facilities satisfactorily.

This is a very serious problem that the government should immediately look into and take remedial measures. Failing to that will only go to convince the parents of the trainees that the NS should be scrapped altogether.

Despite adequate financial allocation, if the operators are not able to provide the facilities as stipulated, due to their own incompetence, how can we entrust the safety of our children to them? This is the question that lingers in the minds of all parents.

The NS programme appears to be riddled with all sorts of problems from the very beginning. Despite reassurances by various quarters we still witness major setbacks that emerge from time to time. They may be logistic but all of them are due to sheer incompetence and complacency of those who were tasked to do the job.

The NS programme was aimed at promoting comradeship and racial integration among your younger generation. After four years into the scheme we are still plagued by numerous problems and it appears we are not capable of overcoming them. It is timely now to re-look at the scheme to see its necessity and effectiveness in fulfilling its noble aims with minimal risks to the trainees.

Millions of ringgit has been spent and a number of lives have been lost in the NS programme. If the problems that plague the NS cannot be overcome then it is only logical that the scheme itself should be scrapped.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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