Chinese not against national service

  • Letters
  • Thursday, 10 Jul 2003

Comment by V.K. CHIN

THERE is no reason why the Chinese should be against national service and it is unfair for any group to single them out over this programme. 

Those who harp on this must be doing so in order to create a misunderstanding between the community and the Government as well as with the other races. 

Like most parents, the Malaysian Chinese are naturally concerned that their children's education would not be disrupted with the implementation of the call-up for 18-year-olds for both boys and girls due to begin next year. 

It is understandable that they be given more information to allay their fears but this does not mean that they are opposed to the project in which 100,000 of those in this age group would be affected. 

But the picture is much clearer now following the number of statements issued by government leaders, especially those by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is heading this project. 

Only the die-hard critics of the Government have failed to accept that the national service scheme is relevant and its objectives will help to instil more discipline, patriotism and a sense of service in the younger generation. 

The Government is leaving no stone unturned in its effort to make the scheme a success and is even having a trial run to make sure that the training programme is conducted smoothly. 

It is expected to spend about RM500mil a year to conduct the training, and the camps for this purpose have also been identified by the committee in charge of the scheme. 

The committee has taken pains to explain that minimum inconvenience will be imposed on those wishing to further their studies as the holidays will most probably be changed accordingly. 

The committee is aware of all these problems and we will have to give them some credit that those responsible will come up with a satisfactory formula to take into account all these worries. 

Those chosen for the training should have sufficient activities to keep them busy and to have an interesting time in the process. It is important too that the trainees be made to feel safe and their basic needs looked after. 

In fact, parents may miss their children more while they are away on the course. Anyway they should have no cause for concern as their loved ones are being trained for peace and not war as is the case of similar schemes in other countries. 

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