DAP’s proposed five-point “No Islamic State”position for Barisan Alternative which was not accepted by PAS and which led to DAP’s departure from the opposition front
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Najib should set up an all-party/NGOs National Service Integrity Management Committee to ensure that the RM500 million national service training programme next year is a model of integrity, accountability and transparency without a whiff of scandal
Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday welcomed the authorities, especially the Securities Commission (SC), to take stern action if it is proven that malpractices occurred in the management of the Armed Forces Cooperative.
Najib said even though the ministry was not involved in the running of the cooperative which had 750,000 members, he viewed the RM45 million "missing" investment from the organisation as something very serious.
News reports on Sunday said the SC was investigating an asset management company following discrepancies over a RM45 million investment from the Armed Foces Cooperative which has gone missing.
It seems to have become a recent fad among Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders to make fierce condemnation of corruption as if they are taking part in a competition, but what the Malaysian people want are actions against the corrupt and not just speeches against corruption as the former could contribute nothing to the eradication of graft, malpractices and abuses of power.
It is most odd that while Barisan Nasional leaders are making fiercer and fiercer statements against corruption, more and more cases of corruption are coming to light, not only the missing RM45 million in the Armed Forces Co-operative but also the recent RM140 million East Coast school computer laboratory scandal where construction was not only behind schedule by two years, but 574 of the 600 computer laboratories built were not safe and in danger of collapse.
DAP does not want the RM500 million national service training programme next year to degenerate into another nest of scandals, and we call on Najib to set up an all-party/NGOs National Service Integrity Management Committee to ensure that the RM500 million national service training programme next year is a model of integrity, accountability and transparency without a whiff of scandal.
Najib announced on Thursday that the three-month National Service training programme will start off in February next year involving 85,000 boys and girls who will attend training staggered over three batches at 45 camps nationwide.
Najib, who is also Cabinet Committee on National Service Programme chairman, said the National Registration Department had traced 478,850 boys and girls, born in 1986, who would be eligible for the programme next year. They include 419,000 youths from government and private schools, while the rest are those who have stopped schooling or are working. Owing to various constraints, only 85,000 will be selected via computer in December for the pioneer national service training programme, which will be split into three batches throughout next year so as to minimise disrupting their studies or work.
Najib announced that the selection process had been delegated to a private company, which has designed a software and intelligent computer ballot system which would provide for the balanced composition of race, gender and the State they were from.
Najib’s announcement has highlighted another important aspect of the national service training programme, the need for full integrity, accountability and transparency in the RM500 million expenditure for the introduction of the national service training for 85,000 youths next year to ensure that every sen is properly and honestly spent and fully accounted for.
For a start, there are two things Najib should do:
Firstly, to reveal the identity of the private company which had been given the contract to design and implement the computer programme to select 85,000 18-year-olds for the national service training programme next year, whether there had been an open tender, the value and full details of the contract.
Secondly, to give full details about the award of the multi-million ringgit contract for the uniforms for 100,000 recruits for the national service training programme next year. A few days ago, I received an email alleging gross impropriety in the award of the uniform contract for the 85,000 national service boys and girls, which runs into tens of millions of ringgit. Was there an open tender?
Malaysians do not want any whiff of scandal in the RM500 million national service training programme. This is why the establishment of an all party/NGOs National Service Training Integrity Management Committee will go a long way to assure Malaysians that the RM500 million national service training programme will not degenerate into more “get-rich-quick” opportunities for a favoured and unscrupulous few.
Najib should make a ministerial statement when Parliament reconvenes on Sept. 2 to give a detailed breakdown of the RM500 million expenditures for the national service training programme next year and how they will be parcelled out, including the how’s, where’s and who’s.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman