DAP wants a full audit on the RM500 million spent on national service training programme and calls on Najib to focus on the basic problems of the programme and not to frolick with commercial gimmicry, freebies and discounts
Media Conference Statement (3)
- after the courtesy call on Parliament Speaker, Tun Mohd Zahir Ismail, by a delegation of DAP MPs in Parliament House
by Lim Kit Siang
(Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday): Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched “loyalty programme cards” entitling national service trainees to freebies and discounts for various products and services, like free admittance to the fifth Rock The World Concert on Dec. 18; free music portal Musiccanteen membership to download 12 songs; 10% discount for fashion apparel items at Wh outlets at the One Utama and Maju Junction shopping centres; RM25 voucher for the purchase of any item at Sen Heng outlets; RM5 voucher for a RM50 purchase in a single receipt from MPH bookstores; workouts at PanGlobal fitness clubs in Petaling Jaya, Johore Bahru and other outlets nationwide; and insurance coverage worth RM100,000 for death and disability caused by their involvement in extreme sports.
At a time when there is rising crisis of public confidence in the conception, formulation and implementation of the national service training programme, with mounting incidents of grave indiscipline like fights, assaults (including assault of a trainer), gangsterism, extortion, drug abuse and neglect of the fundamental rights of the trainees to health and welfare, Najib’s frolicking in a spree of commercial gimmicry about freebies and discounts of products and services has a most jarring and undesirable effect, raising the question as to whether the authorities could differentiate between the essentials and the peripherals in the programme.
I call on Najib to focus on the basic problem areas of the national service programme which threatens its very rationale and success instead of frolicking with commercial gimmicry, freebies and discounts at a time when more and more parents, including those who had at first welcomed the introduction of the programme, are spending sleepless nights and lost their appetite worrying about the safety of their children in the national service training camps.
I am shocked that Najib could at this time indulge in such a rather irresponsible fling with commercial freebies and discounts for the trainees, when Malaysians are asking whether the whole programme should be suspended if not abolished because of its flaws and failures – as if confirming that the authorities do not have a clue as to the grave social problems emerging in the various national service training centres, and their reasons and causes, let alone their solutions.
In such circumstances, Malaysians must demand a proper and full audit as to whether the RM500 million spent on this year’s national service training programme is being properly spent.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor