AFIQ ZULHAIRI AHMAT ROZALI a National Service trainee died of lung infection, according to the NST here. I do not wish to speculate much about the hows, whys, therefore and whereto fors. I rather quote what others have to say: For example in September 2007 Dr. Hsu made a comment in Malaysiakini:
Recently, after the death of yet another National Service programme trainee, the deputy prime minister was quoted as saying that so far, ONLY 14 deaths have occurred among NS trainees. I find the word ‘only’ appalling. I am sure the learned and politically seasoned DPM did not and would not have uttered this word, but was merely misquoted by reporters.
The word ‘only’, when used in this type of context, gives a meaning that this is only a statistic and it is not that important. This is contrary to most views -including my own - that ‘life’ is sacred. Even one life lost is one too many.
I am also appalled by the news reports which said that young people like NS trainees can die of asthma. Asthma deaths can be entirely preventable especially in young people. No one should die of asthma if adequate medical facilities or treatment can be instituted early. So deaths due to asthma are unacceptable.
To read the newspapers, death is just a statistic. But to the people who are family or friends of the dead, it is not merely a statistic but someone dear that is lost forever. And to lose this precious life just because someone in charge is negligent or had a ‘tidak apa’ mentality is totally unacceptable.
Early in 1Q 2008, we heard of another death and a reader of this blog requested me to put up a post on the incident. I promised him I would after I gather more information. In the process, my notebook was stolen and I lost all. However Tuesday's death of Afiq would be the 16th (???) since NS began in 2003. It is thus timely that I keep my promise to my reader.
The National Service website has no record of the deaths in any of the 85 camps. However this is what I could gather from Wikipedia:
Trainee Fatalities while serving Khidmat Negara
- Ili Ameera Azlan, 17, died on 18th January was attached to the Ayer Keroh, Melaka camp after suffering breathing difficulties . The parents were paid RM 35,000.
- 1 March 2007 P. Prema from Kajang, Selangor, attached to the Kisana Beach Resort Camp, Kelantan was found unconscious in a toilet at Jeram Linang (0230 hours). She was taken to the
where she was pronounced dead. Tengku Anis Hospital
- 3 September 2007, Mohd Rafi Ameer, 18, died at 10.30pm after having fever for 1 week. Rafi called his sister and telling her that he had fever and that his leg had been swollen for nearly a week after he fell during training.
- Rafi death making a total of 20 death case in the National Service training camps since 2004.
- Nurul Ashikin Karino, 17, died on 14th May at the Han Sui, Tawau,
Sabahcamp. Karino Jalani (father of the deceased) claimed that he was not allowed to meet his daughter who fell and was injured as part of a training accident 
- S. Theresa Pauline, 17, died on June 11th was attached to the Karisma Camp, Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan. She was admitted to the hospital on May 23rd after having fits. Her death was attributed to viral meningoencephaliti. Her father, S. Sarimuthu was paid RM 32,000 
- Awang Mohd Fazil Awang Borhan, 17, Died on April 23 was attached to the Simalajau Camp, Bintulu,
Sarawak. He was swimming with 36 other trainees at Sungai Cina, Matang, Kuching, Sarawak.
- T. Saravana, 18, attached to the Ethnobotany Camp, Gua Musang, Kelantan. The trainee from 1614A Hospital Quarters, Taiping, Perak drowned while picknicking at Sungai Taman Wangi, Gua Musang, about 3 kilometres from his camp, with 250 trainees and 10 trainers.
The security and cleanliness at most camps are very poor. In the more rural camps, communal bathing in murky ponds is practiced. The atrocious living conditions are speculated to be lower than announced cost of constructing the camp by the government. Sick trainees are NOT allowed to leave their camp even for treatment. This has been the cause of some trainees' death or illness.