Daily Express
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Funding blues, so no more new NS camps

Published on: Sunday, January 05, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: The Government has no plans to open up more National Service (NS) training camps due to funding problems as about RM500 million is already being spent annually in running the existing 81 NS camps in the country.

Defence Deputy Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the Government spends between RM550 and RM650 million a year to ensure infrastructure and facilities in these camps are up to standard and functioning well.

He said prudent spending is still in practice as expenses for running the camps are controlled and disbursed at reasonable level.

"However, if possible, we will allow expansion of existing NS camps, like increasing capacity to cater for more trainees.

"For example, if one camp can take in about 300 trainees, then the expansion works will increase its accommodation to 500 trainees," he said, after sending off the first batch of 50 Sabah NS trainees for this year to NS Camp Setia Ikhlas in Semenyih, Selangor, at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA), Saturday.

Also present were National Service Training Department Director-General Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil and other officials.

According to Abdul Rahim, there are 81 NS camps in the country but two have been closed down temporarily for this first session (January to March) until the operators repair and upgrade weaknesses and grouses on its infrastructure, especially on security and health aspects.

"They are Muadzam Shah camp in Pahang following a death in the camp last year and a NS camp in Marang, Terengganu.

"Both operators have been directed to improve necessary infrastructure and facilities to accommodate the trainees so as to ensure comfort and better security," he said.

A revision would be carried out on the two NS camps before they are allowed to re-open. To a question, Abdul Rahim said all NS camp commandants have been reprimanded and reminded of their responsibilities and duties towards the trainees.

The commandants have been urged to be firm in ensuring health and safety of the trainees are secured, If the commandants failed in their duties, they would be replaced with better ones.

Such stern reminder and warning, Abdul Rahim said, was also conveyed to operators and service providers of all the NS camps.

To prevent incidents like fighting, all commandants and trainers would take turn to do patrol from time to time especially at night.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said National Service (NS) training was not affected during Ops Daulat last year.

The affected NS trainees in Tawau and Sandakan were relocated to other NS camps that have capacities to ensure they complete the training.

"We would not compromise security aspect of the trainees in all the NS camps. When there are security issues like what happened in Ops Daulat against the armed Sulu intruders, NS camps in Tawau and Sandakan were temporarily closed.

"The trainees were relocated to other NS camps," he said.

According to Abdul Rahim, a total of 150,000 trainees have been targeted for training in all NS camps in the country.

For the first session (January to March), about 43,000 trainees would undergo the NS training in 79 camps nationwide.

On new modules, he said efforts have been made to enhance patriotism spirit among the trainees following the Lahad Datu intrusion.

"The nationalism module will be introduced in all NS camps with its main objective to enhance patriotism spirit and love the nation by educating the trainees about the history and significant background of the country.

"Klik Bijak is a new module to be taught to the trainees on how to be IT savvy using the multimedia devices and be wary of the danger in Internet.

"The police will also conduct talks on crime prevention awareness in all the camps and to be in the know on the danger of committing crime like being involved in gangsterism and drug abuse," he said.