Sunday, 20 June 2010
It is an arduous task involving about 100,000 trainees, trainers, camp commandants and support staff. The NS consists of military style instruction, outdoor activities and community service. Proponents hoped to address concerns that the various races were becoming isolated from one another. It was also to create discipline, induce strong moral convictions and encourage volunteering.
He claimed there were some "naughty" trainees who liked to disturb others and steal personal belongings like mobile phones. What these programs exposed are the twin problems of education and the lack of racial interaction among our youth. Today's teenagers are spoilt and need instant gratification. Those who steal have little respect for other peoples' belongings. Thus, appropriate punishment must be meted out. These young people must be taught discipline, respect and responsibility.
Another disadvantage is that not all of Malaysia's youth gets to attend these camps. There has been growing resentment about dodgers being let-off and certain people, avoiding the call-up. Nevertheless, the misunderstandings highlighted by Tiki are symptomatic of Malaysia's racial disharmony.
The real reasons for the ethnic divide is the decades of race-based affirmative action policies which have handed the Malay majority government contracts, jobs, subsidised housing and educational opportunities. This had made Malays feel elitist, with complete disregard for the rights of other races.
The non-Malays are excluded and are insulted, especially when labelled 'pendatang'. No one likes to be disparaged, and made to feel unwelcome or unwanted. As a matter of urgency, the problem of disunity must be addressed back at home, in the schools, the workplace and the wider community.