DAP leaders visiting Yangtse South disgusted by continued "Third World Mentality" illustrated by the incident-prone and defect-plagued national service programme and calls for sacking of the entire national service training council to set an example for all future holders of public office
by Lim Kit Siang (released by DAP Hqrs)
(Shanghai, China Tuesday): DAP leaders visiting Yangtse South are disgusted by the continued "Third World Mentality" illustrated by the incident-prone and defect-plagued national service training programme and calls for the sacking of the entire national service training council to set an example for all future holders of public office to be more responsible and inspiring.
The shocking admission by the National Service Training Council Chairman Prof Datuk Ahmad Fawzi Mohd Basri that no screening was done on the current batch of trainers, comprising servicemen and ex-servicement, due to time constraint is a terrible indictment of the utter lack of responsibility and professionalism as well as the grave and criminal breach of trust of parents who have placed the safety and welfare of their sons and daughters in the care of the Council.
The excuse that there was no time to screen each and everyone of the current batch of trainers, who were all "presumed" to be "highly disciplined", is totally unacceptable - coming in the wake of the first rape allegation in the national service training programme, after a catalogue of incidents involving indiscipline, such as drug abuse, fights, assault (of trainees and trainers), extortion,, sexual harassment and gangsterism.
It is no use for Fawzi and the national service training council members to be wise after the event and claim that all trainers selected for future National Service (NS) programme should undergo stringent screening to ensure that they are highly disciplined and will not succumb to temptation; or to ask the police to speed up investigations into the horrible news of the first rape allegation.
Fawzi and the council members should anticipate events and developments, especially undesirable and even criminal activities jeopardising the welfare and safety of the national service trainees, and they must all be prepared to accept reponsibility and pay the price for the gross failure to do so - as illustrated by the rape and host of indiscipline which should not have been allowed to happen in the first place.
Fawzi and the council members should have told the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that the council cannot approve or support the launching of any national service training programme in February/March this year without first screening all trainers - and should have insisted on the postponement of the February and March launch of the programme to later in the year.
Their failure to do so is their greatest failure as council members, and they should apologise to the very concerned and aggrieved parents who are spending sleepless nights worrying about the welfare and safety of their children in the 45 national service training camps in the country - now compounded by the terrible news of the first reported rape case.
Najib should explain whether he was aware that the trainees were not screened to be trustworthy to take charge of the 87,000 national service trainers, and whether he had received any representations from any national service training council member , any official of the national service training department or any Cabinet Minister that the whole programme should be deferred to a later date until proper preparations had been made - giving top priority to the welfare and safety of the trainees?
The three DAP MPs on the tour, MP for Bukit Mertajam, Chong Eng, MP for Bukit Bintang, Fong Kui Lun and myself, are making a special call on the Cabinet meeting tomorrow - to conduct a comprehensive review of the programme and for every Cabinet Minister to assume personal and individual responsibility for the welfare and safety of the 85,000 trainees.
The measures the Cabinet should take tomorrow include:
After the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, every Minister must answer directly to the Malaysian people and parents, whether their voters or otherwise, for the defects of the national service training programme and they should not pass the buck to the National Service Training Department, the National Service Training Council or even Najib.
Unless the Cabinet tomorrow immediately put things rights and end the agony of parents worrying about the welfare and safety of their sons and daughters in the training camps, DAP will launch a series of nation-wide public meetings to demand for the programme's suspension and Ministerial accountability.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor