DAP leaders on private tour in China "horrified" by first national service "rape" case and call for immediate suspension of the programme until there is a full independent audit of the RM500 million expenditure but the entire planning and implementation as to why it is not totally safe and "zero-defect" but so incident-prone and disaster-plaguued
by Lim Kit Siang (released by DAP Hqrs)
(Hangzhou, China Monday): The eleven DAP leaders on a private tour of Yangtse South in China are horrified by reports of the first known national service rape case and call for the immediate suspension of the programme until there is a full and independent audit of the RM500 million expenditure and the entire planning and implementation as to why it is not totally safe and "zero-defect" but so incident-prone and disaster-plagued.
When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has to personally direct the police to speed up police investigations into the rape allegation of a 17-year-old National Service trainee by her trainer at the Merang training camp in Setiu, Terengganu on Februarty 28, something is very wrong and even rotten about the two-month-old national service training programme.
Abdullah is right when he described such rape of a national service trainee, if true, as "despicable and shameful act", "disgraceful and heinous", "unforgiveable", "intolerable", "unpardonable" and that the rapist should be imposed the maximum punishment under the law.
However, such condemnation should not be confined only to the "rapist", but those responsible for the conception and implementation of the national service training programme in failing to prevent what all parents and members of the public had feared most - the safety and welfare of the national service trainees, in particular the 18-year-old girls.
What everyone had feared most, especially after the increasing spate of incidents of indiscipline like drug abuse, fights, assaults (of trainees and trainers), sexual harassment, extortion and gangsterism and had not dared to articulate - rape of the girl trainees - has finally surfaced publicly.
After this rape incident, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak and the national service training council members, who had claimed that everything is ship-shape and fine and the trainees are all safe and sound under their care, must immediately prove that they deserve the trust and confidence placed on them. In the first instance, they should all publicly apologise for a programme which is so incident-prone and disaster-plagued, now entering a new phase of ignominy with the first case of rape of a national service trainee by a trainer.
Apart from the trainer under police investigation, who among the policy makers and the national service training council are prepared to step forward to accept responsibility for such gross dereliction of duty in failing to devise a zero-defect programme?
The three DAP MPs in the group, in particular DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng, DAP MP for Bukit Bintang, Fong Kui Lun and myself, in particular wants to make a special call on the Cabinet to give top most priority to a full review of the disastrous national service training programme, including its suspension until full public confidence in its professionalism and the safety of the trainees couild be restored.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor