Thursday, April 17, 2008

ONE MORE NS TRAINEE DEATH



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.

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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

[2007

  • Ili Ameera Azlan, 17, died on 18th January was attached to the Ayer Keroh, Melaka camp after suffering breathing difficulties [1]. 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 Tengku Anis Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
  • 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.[2]
  • Rafi death making a total of 20 death case in the National Service training camps since 2004.

2005

  • Nurul Ashikin Karino, 17, died on 14th May at the Han Sui, Tawau, Sabah camp. 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 [3]
  • 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 [4]

2004

  • 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.

Conclusion

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.

Sri Impian Camp, Sungai Bakap trainees suffered food poisoning due to food served on the first day of camp, 30th. December 2007. Investigations are still continuing until today and no results are seen.

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Since the inception of this knee-jerk, quick-fix, fire-fighting stance familiarly BN, I have been very skeptical about the raison d'etre of this damage control program. Polarization again reared its ugly head after the keris-wielding tactics that invariably reminded us of the 1987 dagger soaked in Chinese blood antics. Was this some exercise in conflict-resolutions or was it to distract the populace, or was it another enrich thy cronies scam? I don't know. Who better to tell us what goes on in these 85 camps than the guests of these camps - the trainee themselves, I trolled the blogs and I produce, unedited,what the trainees revealed in their blogs:

I tell you what, Chiam, save your energy to be angry with the NS, wait til you are 21 year old and go vote for the opposite party. If the rest of you are not satisfy in whatever the government is doing, don't forget you have the right to change the situation (if and only if you are above 21 )

Since the situation do not allow you to skip the NS, be prepared of it. Protect yourself as much as you can. Write it down any of the bad things your instructor did, make sure you have proofs like picture, voice recording, video recording or atleast witness. Do not do anything alone. If (touch wood) any bad thing happened, tell the world here or tell me, i help you to spread.

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After two years of doing this program, how many actual reports were made and being told to the public?

Due to some research I have done, many cases such as sexual abuse was made by the trainers to the trainees and to ALL OF YOU’s INFORMATION, we girls are not specially made to protect ourselves but to be protected. (Yes, that’s a well known knowledge that everyone knew about)

But, the goverment tries to cover all of these up… is this a hidden face of Malaysia? Are you guys trying to think that we are gonna be happy if we get selected for National Service?

Please, If you guys want to hold such program, ask those who are willing to join. Even if we know how to protect the country but we are not willingly wanted to protect it, it is completely useless…

I do hope someone will take actions before further mistakes will be made!

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hello there, I've tried it n I hate it. After attending it for 3 wasted months, I sunk into depression for 2 years..thanks to ns. NS thaught me nothing but to sleep anytime, anywhere. I can sleep 24/7, and anywhere even when I'm standing, cool isn't it? Once again, I would like to thank ns for training me to be able to sleep.

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Bullying is rampant in ns camps. I know because I was one of the ‘fortunate’ 17 year old to be chosen for national service last year. Patriotism in 3 months? If that were possible, beauty queens won’t still be citing “world peace” as their main agenda after all these decades. It’s funny how our politicians wax lyrical about racial harmony and such when they continue to brandish the keris in our faces as well as bring up the sacred constituiton card every single time they’re cornered. Don’t get me wrong, I love the other races. I just find it irritating that our hypocritical politicians seem to act as though the problem of racial harmony has nothing whatsoever to do with them, when they continue to endorse economical apartheid.

Gee, I wonder if the ISA will get me for this.

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Contrary to my belief, my friends have put on weight instead of losing it during the national service programme. They explained that they took five to six meals which were the breakfast, morning tea-break, lunch, afternoon tea-break, dinner and supper in the training camps daily. However, they commented that the food is unappetizing and as a result some of them 'learned' to throw away the food. Rather than eating the food, they cook themselves instant noodles such as Maggie Mee and Indomie, you name it.malasyia boleh...semua pun boleh xP

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wtf is with ns?????? cant the gov realise it did nothing much except wasting most of our time and money? i would much rather the gov use the money to help the poor! like what 'yeah' said, people end up hating msia and the gov more after the horrible experience, and im one of them. i was unlucky to get chosen for ns 2 years ago. i dont want to describe what ive experienced. F&#K SCREW NS

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I agree that the reports coming out of NS is bad (and sometimes scary), but I don't think they will stop the program. That being said, what can the government do to make NS improve its image? Because now, a lot of people have negative image of it - and that is no way to build patriotism. To love your country you must first like it...

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now, they are thinking to extend it to 1-2 years ! Fucking hell ! Parents do not send their kids to NS to get hurt, raped, molested or even worst, to die. someone must be benefiting in a big way from the NS program.

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I was in the first NS batch of the country. Its fun and all but whatever goes on in camp is never told outside. When there were riots in camp and they brought soldiers in, harsh punishments were dished out. Some guys who didn't attend classes had to do push-ups on tarmac, some had to hug fire hydrants and roll around on tarmac as well. The media never got wind of this though. The implementation was NS wasn't planned properly before it was carried out.

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It was an experience. The first few weeks was hell. But it got better later. I agree with those who say tat NS didnt really achieve it's purpose. It's rather sad to have to "stage" racial harmony.

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my sis got stuck in that a yr back, and besides the usual complaints abt the lame-ass national-unity-propaganda, she did highlight that NS was where u could really see how bad the disparity is between the rich/educated and the poor/uneducated in m'sia. Kids from all backgrd end up there, but can't communicate well with each other. The poor & underprivileged can't even speak Malay/English after dropping out of school, while some of the rich continue to act snobbish. So much for national unity huh? THink the money would probably be better spent if it's put into fixing the public school system than making kids camouflage against the sky in their blue zebra outfits

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its a scam.

remember this guy that was supposed to do the catering? each victim was given 15 bucks for food in one day. he only used 9.

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ALL the politicians raving about how successful and well-received the NS is; it's splashed all over the newspapers and tv. Even after, disasters like girl leaving camp with instructor and getting raped/molested, girl trainees leaving with fake uncles and not returning to camp and the poor girl with such a bad outbreak of a skin condition (conveniently blamed on pre-existing lupus).

ALL mainline (government-owned or government-linked lah) newspapers give glowing reports of how everybody ENJOYED their stint in NS. Maybe they should read the comments in blogoshpere instead.

What a waste of money and time for a jaunt in summer camp.

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his so-called NS program was a no-brainchild of N***b which was intended to help his relatives if not cronies in supplying the uniforms and all those necessities.

What can one learns in 3 months? I have a friend whose sister was "unfortunately" selected (she wished such luck cud happen on her Magnum 4D bets) and I had a good laugh after hearing her experience. Like what -munz- had shared with us, it's like going to Disney playhouse. You learn how to cook maggi mee, wash dishes and sing negaraku.

Nice going N***b! Your relatives and cronies are eternally grateful to you. I think when actual combat comes, the NS instructors will wet their pants!

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Oh, and all that nonsense about curbing the smoking habit? That's all BS. My friend LEARNT HOW TO SMOKE there. And the fascilitators gladly SUPPLIED cancer sticks. Huh. Some of the ex-army fellas were posing there, puffing away, oblivious to the girls pleading them, "Cikgu, cikgu! Tolong jangan merokoklah...".

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Jolene wrote about having to attend racial integration classes. Its fun and nice and all, but in a way, its also quite sad to see that the country has to resort to programs like these to promote racial harmony among the Chinese, Indians and Malays. I'm no expert, but I do know that forcing cross-cultural interaction in a formal classroom-like environment is about as effective as forcing a chicken and a duck to talk about the latest EPL soccer news.

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I have only this to say to the parents of kids who will be conscripted:
ONLY YOU CAN MAKE A STAND.


MY CONDOLENCE TO THE PARENTS OF AFIQ ZULHAIRI ON THEIR LOSS.

AL-FATIHA


12 comments:

CK Tan said...

great job uncle bernard.

Kata Tak Nak said...

DPM: Well, it's only 16 deaths's since the inception. I consider that very small compared to the world war where millions died. Anyway I understand none died by C4.

Old Fart said...

What do I do, or rather what does my oldest daughter do? She will be 17 this year and due to be picked for "National Service"!

She does not speak nor understand a word of Malay. She is abroad and she has been for the last 9 years already. Will she be exempted? If not, will they pay for her travel cost? I'd rather they don't pick her although she has said she'd like to do it.

Ah!! Fatherhood!!

artchan said...

Lee Lam Thye...I hope your kins get drafted in NS...and die a horrible death,,,maybe then you will see the light.

yok hoong said...

zorro,

its me who asked you to blog about the last death. three months later, another innocent kid has been called to god because of this NS. hell, participating in this program is like playing russian roulette.
what is Najib going to say? another investigation? another post mortem? what about the Lee Chairman? no blood in his hands? where are your conscience? long buried because you cant afford to lose the benefits that come with all your positions? or you people are more concern with the cronies' profits?
zorro, i think the death count is closer to 20 than 15 and i am doing some reaserch to find out the actual number of deaths and serious injuries arising from this russian roulette program. najib and lee, take some sleeping pills so that you suffer no nightmare for murdering the innocent malaysians.
to hell with this NS. I dont want to put my kids in this freaking russian roulette game. if i have to go to jail to protect them, I am prepared.
Lee Lam Thye, i hope hell beckons you for allowing theinnocent kids to die. I have never been so angry in my life!

Anonymous said...

that's right... to all parents, boycott NS... so "NO" to NS... those parents who lost their kids inside, form a group or something, .... you can make the difference.... please do it!!

to N***b, i wonder how can u sleep at night... u memang a murderer: C4..NS.. like sultan Zakaria, u cannot die with yr ill-gotten wealth!!!

team bsg said...

sounds like a conspiracy here where kids are used as a cover up for sexual gratifications and $$$, among some other illegal/immoral acts.

So what is the truth ? Who has it ?
another unsolved tragic Malaysian mystery ? Altantuya ?

Anonymous said...

I've had friends who went for the NS when it was first implemented, and most of them only had good things to say. And then, the scandals started. And the deaths. And my friends kept quiet.

My younger sister was chosen for the NS thing last year, but because we're overseas, she deferred hers, until further notice. But apparently, she's still required to fulfill her duty if and when she goes back to the country, and they can hold her on to this "duty" until she turns 35.

Even one death is one too many, and the many scandals are just nauseous. For the kind of money that the govt spends on this NS training thing, you'd expect them to hire decent people who are qualified, and have proper facilities. Instead, something like this happens. Do they not know that these are the future leaders of the country?

And then they have to nerve to say that "youngsters today ain't patriotic". blah..

Michelle

Anonymous said...

I'm young, energetic & pretty & they expect me to join the bloody NS ? My friend was almost rape in the Melaka camp. They suffered & got nothing out of it. Over my Dad dead body before he's willing to send me there. Bloody Govt & most of all, bloody USELESS RUNNING DOG Tan Sri LLT !!!!!

Anonymous said...

michelle

do you think they care. a death is just a statistic. ONLY 14 died was the comment.
if you are a mother to the deceased, how would you feel if your kid is just one of the statistics.
hell, go talk to Najib and lee lam thye. they sleep well with some pills. cronies' profits are more important than innocent lifes. it may be perception but thats everything right?

Letting the time pass me by said...

A death is a death and no compensation can be worthy of a death... If the statistic is correct, I believe it is much more safer to work in the petrochemical plant rather than to attend a PLKN.....

In a Petrochemical plant, whenever there is accident, there will be thorough investigation to ensure scuh incidents will not occur in the future, but the number of casualty in PLKN is indeed alarming.

I believe with more representation of PR YB in the parliment, they can address this concerns and may have some solutions for this....

Anonymous said...

Sad that young kids are dying in this program due to the bullying and high-handed techniques employed by unqualified trainers. Not to mention the raping of young girls. If it’s me, I would certainly not send any of my kids to this stupid summer camp! A caring parent will not send his/her child there knowing the probability of the child dying goes up over time! Even military training training has a lower incidence of death. My advise to all parents is to campaign to stop this program. The statistics speaks for itself!