Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Close down NS camps, conduct complete review

23 of our teenagers have died in so-called national service camps in the last ten years. The last dead kid, Muhamad Suhaimi Norhamidi, 18, was believed to have been bludgeoned to death last Monday at a camp in Pahang, Prime Minister Najib Razak's state. Three fellow 18-year old trainees have been arrested. We are told that there were fistfights between the boys after breakfast on Sunday and again later that night. "It is not known if camp commanders were aware of the fight," the Malay Mail reports today. "The camp management declined to comment".

I don't see the Ministry or Minister responsible making any comments about the latest death, which is investigated as the first murder in national service camp. Where is the condolences, the accountability, reassurance?. Just two weeks ago the trainees in a camp in Penang made hell of a noise over food and cleanliness. At first many thought the trainees were being soft or "manja" but it turned out the operators of the camp were actually first-class motherduckers. Still, those operators got a gentle rap on the knuckles and it is now business as usual for them. Read NS camp has a week to clean up.

My daughter is on the list of thousands of young girls and boys who have been selectively drafted for NS next year. For months I played my part to encourage her, told her ignore the horror stories of the past, assured her that she would enjoy the three month stint. But now I have serious doubts. Really, I don't think the people who run these camps have learned anything from the deaths of R. Vinoth (who succumbed to rat fever in one of the dirty camps like Balik Pulau, I bet), Abdul Malik Ishak (found dead in his bed), Mohd Rafi Ameer (fever and swollen leg), Illi Ameera Azlan (breathing difficulty), S. Theresa Pauline (viral infection), Nurul Ashikin Karino (injured during training), Awang Mohd Fazil (drowned), and the other 17 and 18-year olds who died while in camp. Those who have died were not their kids or relatives. 

I remain a believer of the NS concept to get our teenagers to work together as a team of Malaysians regardless of race and religion. But I no longer have faith in the current sorry excuse of an NS that we have. The way NS camps are run has to change. We are supposed to instill discipline and civic mindedness in our trainees but operators who are concerned only about making money from running the camps will not help us do that. If trainees can be involved in brawls in their camps without the commanders knowing or being able to do anything, there's something really wrong with the system. You need to shut it down, force yourself to make the necessary changes, and then let the professionals - the military/armed forces - run the show. 

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

My god, I didn't realise it was 23 in ten years. That's an average of more than two a year, and nobody cares???

Ridiculous. Someone needs to conduct a complete review of these camps and from now it needs to be made very clear which body has overall responsibility for safety & health at these camps.

Looks like the responsibility has been avoided so far.

Anonymous said...

In a democracy the government set the pain level for those who voted them in..

Anonymous said...

The aim of promoting harmony amongst the races at the age of 17 is too late. Since Std 1,the children are taught the differences between the races and the religions, particularly the superiority of one. Then we expect them to live in harmony in special camps. Then the Education Ministry releases the SPM exam results and one race gets preferential treatment to enter universities and matriculation. Such hypocracy.

Anonymous said...

what's going to happen next? man, my kids will have to do this someday and i don't want them to end up as statistics.

farha

Anonymous said...

If want to keep the NS, boleh. On a few conditions :

1) Reveal who were awarded the contracts to supply the necessary goods and services to operate these camps nationwide.

2) Reveal the full accounts on prices and money spent of goods and services

3) Every camp should have a medical officer on standby throughout the 3 months. No more rushing trainees to clinics for any problems.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I have never seen/heard anyone taking responsible for mishaps/accident/dealth that had happend so far.
2) No compensation has been made to the family of the victims.
3) No one, I meant no one - the operator/ministry/minister has been brought to court of the death of our youth.
4) no minister in-charge has ever came out to speak for those accidents/death. At least they shld just resign to show their sincerity of such tragedy.
4)

PLKN beat Facebook said...

How many jemaah haji died every year? 2? Ridiculously higher

How many remaja died by motorcycle accident every year 2? 3000!

So bro, if you are so paranoid of death your daughter can abstained. She can do community service..haha what a wimp.

Dont lah be so a pampering father...2 death out of hundred thousand? That is below the mortality rate.

What about death in Singapore NS?

What about death of school children per year..

Daddy dont be a spoilt sport I want to go.
Where else can you meet boys by the thousands hehe..

PLKN beat Facebook anytime when it comes to mate searching..ma

Worried father said...

Beside 23 death cases in last 10 years, there were numerous cases of beatings, bullying, rapes and illness. Somebody should be responsible for this. These trainees came from various background, brainy and mediocre to dummies, unfortunate poor to super rich,not to exclude the bullies and tormentors.

Its 3 months of hell for a few retired sarjans and corporals around the camps.Its time for a complete review.

Anonymous said...

That is life, no matter what precautionary actions you take if it is going to happen it will happen. I agree with the cleanliness of the camps but fistfights amongst the them is something nobody can control. It is human nature to lose control of the mind when you are upset. In this instance, the cut Q is the issue and it drags on. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

.. national unity at 17? A bit too late don't you think? By that time all the prejudice are almost set in concrete. The camp experience will just reaffirm their prejudice. Three months are too short to undo years of systemic brainwashing by the society.

I think we should scrap the present day NS. We should start a new one. This time round we should follow Singapore and South Korea national service. 2 years and will only involve the boys. No random selection. All boys should participate.

Shouldn't get any objection from the kiasu in Malaysia since they love to quote Singapore and South Korea whenever they want to compare Malaysia unfavourably. That is 30% of the battle won already.

Government just need to convince the other 70% to accept. No problem with the other 50% I think since this group is very patriotic.

The remaining 20% will be problematic - this group comprise of "anak manja" yang tak pernah hidup susah. Funny thing is from this group will be our future leaders. Now you know why we are in our sorry state - leaders who are out of touch with the rest of the masses.

Anonymous said...

Have there been a review to assess the success of NS scheme? Personally, to instill civic mindedness, schools are the best environment and should be done from form 1 onwards, not just 3 mths stint like it is now. The impact is not longlasting.

Anonymous said...

My first and second was called up, it's unjust, both my boys are called up and for many none pf their kids were calld up.
Whats the criteria..??
I called up NS to ask and the usual stupid reply will be "its computer generated", i told them why cant you guys do a match on the parents ic no, if it matches with a previous trainee's just pick another, then it shall be fair.
Visit a camp and see the three main race having their own group, so much for "perpaduan".
The trainers are not that educated either.
Worst of all, i had to speak to NS KL to get my son out for an interview for university.
The fools at the camp are idiots.

Anonymous said...

For once I'll agree with you Rocky.The lives of our kids are at stake and the powers that be are so disconnected that they any response is mere rhetoric.

I guess lining one's pockets is far more important that matters that border on conscience.

Anonymous said...

You know what, it is a teenage thing actually. They are young, naive, and stupid. We were the same when we were at that age. Especially while in groups where everyone trying to outdo everyone. The sentiment to 'tunjuk kuat' will be high especially when it involves a bunch of young men. At that kind of age, they have this kind of ravage hormone of adolescence which is out of control which exposed them to risk seeking behaviour. I agree the the warden should have on the look out for this kind of thing. especially at National Service training. They are still kids and need adult supervision. It doesn't help either when there are young women as well over there. So, there will be competition among them to attract attention. Everyone trying to prove their 'macho'ness. We can't really blame them.
I still can't fathom the the moduls we have have at the NS. They are too girly. Too wimpy. NS should be revamped. Just make it military style the way Singapore or South Korea does. Wataniah module is a good one to start with as it encompasses all the basics of military training. And it is not as tough as the real one.
Just make it compulsory to school leavers. There should be include all boys. No girls. Give them monthly allowance. In those three months, pack up their schedule right from dusk till dawn. Instill discipline in them. Those include physical training, military tactics, weaponry training, guns,explosives, how to handle M16 and Kalashnikov rifle. Boot camp all over.
When it is all over, at least they have all the basics needed should the country needed extras at the front line.

oik65 said...

People die. Put a large number of people together for any significant amount of time, some of them will die. The mortality rate for adolescents in Malaysia is about 0.4 per 1000. That means out of every 100,000 Malaysian adolescents, you would expect about 40 of them to die in a year. The main causes of adolescent deaths in general - accidents, violence, respiratory and communicable diseases. The same things those kids in the PLKN camps died of. Since 2004, probably more than a million trainees have gone through 3 months at PLKN. If you take the average Malaysian adolescent mortality rate, then you'd expect to get more than 100 deaths in the PLKN camps since then. So statistically, it's much safer to be in a PLKN camp than outside of it.

bella said...

I fully agree. Close it down. It was supposed to instill patriotism and love of the country to the participants. It was also supposed to let all races mingle at that age to understand each other better. Imagine being in a camp, with classes/activities from 6 am to 10 pm...too tired to even remember your bunkbed mate's name...
And furthermore, the recent election shows that, the kids of NS have made up their mind too. NOT the government apparently, the product of the first of NS were among those casting their votes...so...all the best...if you wish to still think that this is the best way to instill love to the country...waste of money and time.

Anonymous said...

Look, Bru has a point. As a parent, I agree with him. To those of you who keeps on harping about statistic, hey if your kids die because of 'kecuaian' or some motherduckers jokers running these NS camps, then too bad la. After all you agree your kids life is not that important. IT IS JUST A NUMBER. kan? betul tak. Jadi kalau anak kau tu mati, janganlah sedih sangat. Sebab dia tu part of statistic je. NO BIG DEAL. Banyak lagi orang mati.

NS Camp in Malaysia is a joke. Somebody is making shit loads of money with this. Sebab tu tak nak abolish. YEar in year out dengar cerita sama. No action taken. Nothing!

Melor.

Anonymous said...

Rocky,

I believe you are making the noise because your daughter are in NS. if NOT, you will NEVER raise such questions.

Why don't you directly question the MOD Zahid Hamidi?

I don't agree the way MOD run the NS. But, at the same time I don't agree with you too. Because, AS I said you won't make noise if your daughter not in NS.

Where were you when all before this dead's of kids? Drinking milk in bed's?

oik65 said...

Simple, isn't it? Just say "What if it happened to your kid?", and you're done. Argument won. Why bother being rational when being emotional is so much easier?

The fact remains: you are more likely to see you child alive in 3 months time if you sent him to National Service than if he had stayed at home and went about his normal life.

Bru said...

Anon 1.24 pm,

I shouldn't humour people like you but I realise that not all my readers would take the trouble to do a bit of homework. Some like you are just so lazy, waiting to be spoon fed.

You ask where I've been on the NS issue all this while?

Try this posting I did here on Bru.

http://www.rockybru.com.my/2007/09/dpm-defends-national-service-program.html

Excerpts:

"Najib, STOP the NS program now. As I see it, Sir, you have no choice but to take it back to the drawing board, make massive changes, and start anew."

Six years ago, lazy Anon, I was saying the same thing: STOP the program and go back to the drawing board.

Another posting:

http://www.rockybru.com.my/2008/05/another-18-year-old-dies-at-ns-camp.html

This was one of my shortest postings. The entire piece reads:

"Please, can we just stop this so-called National Service programme, now?
Read The Star's NS trainee dies after upset stomach, here.
Semanggol NS camp under quarantine here."

I have also written articles in newspapers on the matter. My stand is easy, consistent: We need the National Service. The program is an opportunity to bring discipline, patriotism, civic lessons, etc to our young Malaysians.

I disagree with those who say at 17, it's too late to bring the kids together as one. Preferably, we should start earlier BUT we know that this won't be possible. Why? You guys want your Chinese schools, your Tamil schools, and your sekolah pondok. Everybody wants to preserve his own roots and heritage but are too ashamed to admit it. The NS is the perfect opportunity to start the 17 amd 18-year olds on a new start.

Bru said...

Anon 11.13 wrote:
If want to keep the NS, boleh. On a few conditions :

1) Reveal who were awarded the contracts to supply the necessary goods and services to operate these camps nationwide.

2) Reveal the full accounts on prices and money spent of goods and services

3) Every camp should have a medical officer on standby throughout the 3 months. No more rushing trainees to clinics for any problems.

----------xxxxx-------------

Agree on all three.

Point No 3, if we use exisiting miliary camps to house our NS trainees, the question of medical facilities does not arise as these camps have excellent hospitals and clinics.

Anonymous said...

Bru,are you out of your mind asking to close down NS?? you tau siapa VVIP sapu semua bekalan kepada NS camps !? baik jangan main dengan api bro.

Anonymous said...

So rocky writes 3 blog postings in 6 years and then sucks balls every other day and claims he's against ns? Just how fucking stupid have Malaysians become? Rocky is dumno is ns.

Anonymous said...

Rumour has it that from the beginning Rosmah has been making a bundle from this NS, & the Government strong defense of NS seems to prove it, if that is so you can forget about any revamp. It is not their children.

Anonymous said...

Sensible reply. I like this. PLKN is here to stay. I guess if this young men & women were to be placed in army camps, lots more gonna die as current kids are really soft inside out.

Anonymous said...

Dey ah jib, if u really serious abt cutting down deficit n consolidate fiscal, stop the NS program now. It will save us tonnes of monies. Also close down all SJK C n T, let the kids mix in SK. No brainer Jib, no need to hire McKhinzey.