KUALA LUMPUR: A lack of patriotism was one of the possible reasons for the small number of non-Malays in the armed forces, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament Tuesday.
He said Chinese and Indians made up less than 1% of the new recruits in 2008/2009, in his reply to Datuk Mohd Jidin Shafee (BN-Setiu) during question time.
Dr Ahmad Zahid said the small number of non-Malays could also be due to various other factors, such as concern over the strict discipline imposed, lower returns compared to jobs in the private sector, lack of encouragement from families and negative perceptions towards the army.
"The Government does not impose any quota on the recruitment of army personnel, whereby appointments are made based on qualifications and the applicant's interest in providing service as well as on voluntary basis," he said.
On how to encourage non-Malays to join the army, Dr Ahmad Zahid said activities to promote careers in the army were carried out in public and private higher-learning institutions.
"We have also conducted road tours in chosen schools as well as generated publicity in the print and electronic media, including Chinese and Tamil newspapers," he said.
He added that school cadet movements were also formed to encourage students to join the army.
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