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ARKIB : 10/01/2004

Only 820 Chinese trainees wanted deferment - says MCA Youth

KUALA LUMPUR Jan 9 - The MCA Youth has refuted claims that 5,000 Chinese trainees had asked for deferment from the National Service (NS) Programme.

Its secretary, Loh Seng Kok, said Friday that in actual fact only 820 had done so.

He was referring to a recent newspaper report which also said that many of these 5,000 trainees were from Chinese independent schools.

"This is not a Chinese issue, it is an education issue. They have to sit for the Unified Examination Certificate and they have good grounds," he said after meeting the Youth and Wanita MCA and the Eight Malaysian Chinese-based Organisations (EMCO) at the party's headquarters here Friday.

He said the National Service Council had agreed to give permission for selected trainees to defer their applications on genuine grounds.

The party, he said, would also establish State-level committees nationwide to address problems faced by new trainees who would begin their first training in February.

"Trainees still have difficulties in applying for deferment. Some want to join the programme earlier, while others prefer to start later and they don't know how to go about it. There are also logistics problems," Low said.

Low added that the MCA would organise a National Service Forum at the Dewan San Choon in Wisma MCA on Jan 13. The panel would comprise several National Service Council members and representatives from the MCA Youth and EMCO.

"This is a good opportunity for the candidates to get feedback on their deferment," Loh said.

He also added that there were some Chinese candidates who wished to join the NS programme voluntarily to fill the vacancies resulting from the numerous deferments.

On the NS programme module, Loh said there would be no religious connotations in the syllabus but candidates were free to attend their respective prayers or religious activities.

Meanwhile, the MCA Youth will also use both the Government and private radio stations to promote awareness to encourage the Chinese community to participate in the NS programme.

These would include Radio 1, Radio 4 and Radio 5.

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