Government should immediately release all details of the national service plan as it is outrageous that Malaysians should be reading about them in foreign press
- DAP Teluk Intan Anniversary Dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Teluk Intan, Saturday): Yesterday, the Singapore Straits Times reported that the Cabinet had taken a policy decision on the proposed national service programme for Malaysian youths at its meeting on Wednesday, and it is scandalous that there is still not a word on the matter in any of the local media.
Why should Malaysians read from the foreign press about Cabinet policy decisions affecting the people? This reflects very poorly on the information policy of the government in the era of information technology as well as the government’s totally misplaced and short-sighted policy of press control and manipulation.
According to yesterday’s Singapore Straits Times report, the Malaysian Cabinet has approved plans to launch the country's national service programme next year but decided to scale down the number of youths involved to cap the cost of the programme.
About 100,000 young men would be involved in the programme - a sharp drop from the 450,000 young Malaysians who were originally expected to be enlisted.
The sole reason for the scaling down of the national service scheme was the prohibition cost of a programme involving 450,000 youths, estimated to cost some RM5 billion which would be “difficult to justify at a time when uncertain global economic conditions have slowed growth in the country”.
The Singapore daily reported that legislation governing national service will be tabled in Parliament in June.
DAP calls on the government to immediately release all details of the national service plan as it is outrageous that Malaysians should be reading about them in the foreign press.
There is no reason why details of the national service plan should be made known only when Parliament reconvenes on June 16, as it is not only MPs but the ordinary Malaysians who are entitled to have their say on the national service proposal before it takes any concrete form or rigid shape as a new law.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman