Turn NS training into schools’ extracurricular activities — SWP

Munan Laja

KUCHING, August 13: Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) today suggests that the just-scrapped National Service (NS) programme be modified and form part of extracurricular activities in secondary schools, but with the same intent — to produce nationalists.

Its president, Munan Laja, opined that such a programme would only be effective when the participants are exposed to it from an early age and for at least six years.

The NS training was a 3-month national service programme that selectively drafted 18-year-old students to spend two months in physical training camps and one month in university settings.

Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman was reported as saying during a press conference at Parliament today that the federal cabinet had agreed to abolish the National Civics Bureau (BTN) and discontinue the NS training with immediate effect.

Syed Saddiq said all the manpower and resources for both programmes would be absorbed into the relevant ministries, and his ministry would decide how best to manage all existing assets.

Munan said the best time to introduce the modified version would be when the teenagers are in Form 1 and ends when they are in Form 6.

“The three months training (for NS) is a very short period. It is impossible to produce nationalists by giving them three month trainings,” said Munan in a statement today.

He believed that most Form 5 and Form 6 students tend to focus their attention on furthering their studies or seeking employment: their attention is definitely not on the NS training, he added.

“Those who wish to further their studies will have their plans interrupted (if picked for NS training),” Munan said.

Since the NS initiative has been abolished, Munan suggested that all existing assets and manpower in Sarawak be managed by the federal Ministry of Agriculture for training and for agricultural purposes.

Since its debut in 2003, the NS programme had been troubled by claims of poor management. There were also a number of trainee deaths. The training was suspended in 2015 as part of cost cutting measures and to allow the programme to be re-examined and improved. — DayakDaily