‘National Service must instil patriotism, nation-building’

SEREMBAN: Parents have generally welcomed the introduction of the National Service Training Programme 3.0 (NS), especially in schools where Form Four students will first be exposed to the module as part of the curriculum activities.

But some are divided over whether the programme should be made mandatory while others want those who undergo the training to be given certain advantages when applying for university places, scholarships and jobs.Consultant and trainer C. Sathasivam, 69, whose daughter had previously attended NS training, said for the basic training, the authorities should consider having more modules on nationhood and strengthening race relations.

The authorities, he said, should also ensure the drawbacks of the previous NS were not repeated.

“Based on the experiences of my daughter, nephews and nieces, the NS is an excellent programme to instil discipline, character building and patriotism.

“However, I feel the authorities should relook the 70% allocated for basic military training for those aged above 17 as this can instil fear in the minds of some parents,” he said, adding that some parents may not be too keen on their children being made to handle weapons.

ALSO READ: Melaka parents give NS3.0 the thumbs up

He said to allay concerns among parents, the authorities may want to consider making public the curriculum for those attending NS training after their SPM.

He said it was also crucial that trainees were exposed to various ways of strengthening race relations in multi-racial Malaysia.

“The NS3.0 will be an excellent platform to strengthen this and I believe many parents are also hoping this will be a prominent feature in the module,” he said.

A bank employee, who wished to be known only as Margaret, said since the pilot project next year would involve 1,000 students in Form Four, the NS3.0 should start as a voluntary programme.

Those who volunteer could also be considered for incentives such as being given an advantage when they apply to enrol in matriculation and other tertiary programmes or for scholarships.

ALSO READ: 1,000 to be chosen for NS 3.0

“Personally, I think students who do not get straight As for SPM, for example, but have undergone training in such programmes, will make better ambassadors for good race relations and should be given the edge over others by way of incentives.“And if the programme is really effective, let these students be the ones to tell others of the benefits after they complete it so that others will rush to apply in future,” she said, adding that she disagreed with the move to segregate trainees based on gender.

Self-employed Zainuddin Ali, 48, commended the authorities for reintroducing NS but said it should have been made compulsory for all students.

“National service is mandatory across the causeway and the authorities should make it a must for all young Malaysians.

“The Government has experience in running the earlier NS programmes and we have the venues, so why are we still starting off with a pilot project?” he asked, adding that calling up only selected students for training was also unfair.

ALSO READ: Parents harbour doubt due to legacy issues

Zainuddin said if made mandatory for all, the authorities should take stern action against those who did not report for training.

One parent, who wished to be known only as Amar, and whose daughter turns 17 next year, said he had mixed feelings.

“It certainly is a good programme as it helps in character- building and instilling love for the nation. My only apprehension is with regards to the content of the programme and hope it will not be politically biased,” he said.

Amar said the content of the modules should encompass the importance of solidarity and unity towards nation-building in the best interest of all Malaysians.

Government servant Juriati Mat Jalil, 58 also commended the authorities for bringing back NS as it offered plenty of benefits.

“These trainees will have basic military training which will help their personal development and in nation-building,” she said.

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