Sunday 27 May 2012

National service - time for thorough review

It's time the decade old national service programme undergoes a comprehensive review to see if it has achieved its intended purpose or perhaps even scrapped said DAP MP (Bukit Bendera) Liew Chin Tong.

NONERecently, the National Service Training Council suggested expanding national service to cover all secondary school leavers. said Liew (right) in a statement released today.

"In his response, Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi claimed that the government spent around RM260 million a year to train about 120,000 trainees.

"According to Zahid, it will cost the government up to RM1 billion a year to cover all school leavers in the 18 year old age group, which is four times larger than the group selected currently.But Zahid has got his numbers wrong.

"According to the government's budget for 2012, the budgeted sum for latihan khidmat negara or national service is RM563,951,050 with a permanent staff strength of 2087 personnel."

Liew then said the more important question for the minister was whether the service had achieved its intended purpose and whether there is a need to continue with it.

He added that the idea of national service was mooted by former politician turned social activist Lee Lam Thye, at a national unity conference on 26th October 2002, which was seized by Dr Mohamad Mahathir, then prime minister.

The Cabinet approved the idea in principle on 30th October 2002.

Within days, a cabinet committee chaired by the then defence minister Najib Abdul Razak announced the details of the programme.

"The national service programme was hastily put together for Najib to have a higher public profile in Mahathir's quest to install a "successor to a successor" before he left Seri Perdana," according to Liew.

NONEIn fact a review was on the cards when the Abdullah Badawi government consented to a parliamentary select committee on national unity and national service to be chaired by Maximus Ongkili.

But no report was submitted as its terms lapsed upon the dissolution of Parliament in 2008.

The select committee was not revived after the last general election.

"A decade since it was mooted, as a responsible minister, Zahid (left) should launch a comprehensive review of the National Service programme," concluded Liew.

No comments:

Post a Comment