Army help sought for some NS centres

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 03 Apr 2004

PEKAN: The Territorial Army may be deployed to help strengthen security at some campuses and instil discipline among National Service trainees. 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the army personnel would take care of the disciplinary aspects of the programme. 

“We are in consultation with the army. If everyone is happy with the arrangement and accept it, then we will activate the askar wataniah (territorial army). 

“However, if the territorial army is deployed, there will be no rough handling of the trainees,” he told reporters after attending a gathering at Nenasi community hall here yesterday. 

He was commenting on disciplinary problems that had cropped up among trainees in some campuses. 

Najib, who is also Defence Minister, noted that there were a small number of trainees who were behind the problems and they could affect others. 

“There is strong esprit de corp among them and so they tend to gang up. 

“This is the first time that such a massive programme is being conducted by the Government. The public, especially parents, should give it a chance. 

“One should not focus too much on the problems that we forget what we are supposed to accomplish,” he said. 

In Ipoh, state Education Committee chairman Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said the scuffle, which broke out at Universiti Teknologi Mara in Seri Iskandar, was not racially motivated and that it was an isolated case. 

Speaking to reporters after visiting the campus with Youth and Sports committee chairman Datuk Zaim Abu Hassan, he said the university had taken steps to rectify the problems at the campus. 

He said additional personnel were deployed to patrol the campus grounds and act as sentries. 

“Parents have been told to strictly follow the rules and regulations at the campus. 

“We assure parents that their children are safe and in good hands,” he said. 

On Wednesday night, three trainees were reportedly injured after they were assaulted by another group of trainees. 

Perak MCA national service co-ordination committee member Datuk Tan Chin Meng said there were too few activities at the campus leaving the trainees with too much free time. 

DAP national chairman Lim Kit Siang urged the Government not to brush off the problems as “being blown out of proportion.”  

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