Thursday, July 12, 2007

Act Against poorly managed NS camps

The Star
Wednesday July 11, 2007

Act against poorly managed NS camps

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 were unable to run the facilities satisfactorily.

This is a very serious problem, and the government should immediately look into it and take remedial measures.

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.

After four years we are still plagued by numerous problems.

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


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The Star
Thursday July 12, 2007

Give NS programme a fair chance

I REFER to the letter 'Act against poorly managed National Service Camps' (The Star, July 11) by Dr Chris Anthony.

In response to a report 'National Service to close cash-strapped camps' (Sunday Star, July 8) the writer commented that the Government should act against poorly managed camps.

While the writer’s concern over the matter is appreciated, it is unfortunate that he has over-reacted by making assumptions that the National Service Programme is ‘riddled with all sorts of problems’ and that nothing has been done to address these problems.

To be fair, to the National Service Training Department has taken various measures to improve the programme since its implementation.

The director-general of the National Service Department and the National Service Training Council, headed by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, have worked hard to introduce several improvements to the programme.

Among the changes inlcude the provision of better medical facilities, adjustment to the physical training modules taking into account the health of the trainees, better insurance coverage, strengthening management of all camps with emphasis on quality trainers and recruitment of more competent camp commandants, etc.

The Defence Ministry is also acting against errant and irresponsible camp operators.
Dr Anthony should have taken note of all these improvements instead of assuming that nothing had been done to address the various problems.

It does not make sense for him to call for the programme to be scrapped when more than 90% of trainees and their parents have admitted that they benefited from the programme in many ways.

Considering the huge number of trainees, about 100,000, and with about 3,000 trainers and 80 camp commandants, it is unrealistic to expect all the camps to be 100% problem-free.
But what is important is that the department and the council are sensitive to all complaints and are taking action to overcome them one at a time and have set targets to work towards problem-free camps.

My final word is that the department director-general and chairman of the National Service Training Council are doing a great job under very trying circumstances.
They should be given all the encouragement to ensure the successful implementation of the National Service Training Programme.

Cheras, Selangor.

1 comment:

Selina said...

Great work.

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