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Tuesday, April 06, 2004


NS---The Good Vibs Spin

While the alternative parties, bloggers and others are lamenting about the woes of NS trainees; Najib, the MINIster-in-charge of it, is instituting damage control and trying to send out good vibs.

Bernama reported that Najib accompanied Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail on a visit to the National Service Training Camp at the Ayer Keroh Recreational Forest. Here the Agong spent some three hours mingling with the NS trainees. His Majesty, after observing (probably properly selected) NS trainees undergoing obstacle courses, had lunch with several selected trainees and dignitaries at the camp.

When asked by reporters, Najib said that based on feedback received from trainees at the Ayer Keroh Camp, the trainees said that they were very happy with the experience gained. Najib also rejected suggestions by certain quarters that the NS training programme be stopped and a review carried out following reports of breach of discipline including gangsterism. He pooh pooh these reports but said :: "The programme need not be suspended and (the incidents) should not be exaggerated. However, we take a serious view on the matter and instructed the military units to tighten discipline." If the reports are mere exaggerations, why call in the army?

Regarding the report of an alleged molest case, Najib said what had happened was that a trainee had fallen sick and the trainer tried to help the trainee concerned. But according to this Malaysiakini report, the trainer had been pecat and an apology extended to the victim and family by the camp commandant. Now who is doing the spin doctoring or under-the-carpet sweeping?

For the moment definitely the NS will not be suspended but already there are talks of fine tuning like ::
1. Discipline training in terms of military styled drills and specific training would be introduced
2. Limiting NS for only those who pass the SPM
3. Reducing boredom for the trainees
All these measures don't appear to be concrete stuff but once again adhoc short-term talk-talk to appease the natives. Can the MINIster-in-charge come out with more concrete stuff and solutions, and not sweep things under the proverbial carpet, please.



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