Compulsory national service in Malaysia is implemented
for 18-year-old school leavers. In my opinion, national service is good for
them. For one, it is a good way for them to spend the three month break while
waiting for their examination results.
During the programme, the trainees
learn a lot of things like national ideology and history. The objectives are to
instil in them qualities like loyalty, tolerance of others and living in harmony
in a multi-racial society. The trainees will come out of the three month's
national service stronger and much more thoughtful.
At home, they tend to take their home comforts and family members for
granted. During the training, they live in camps away from their family. While
at the camps, they gain a lot in terms of becoming more independent and
disciplined. These are good traits to acquire. And such traits will stay with
the young people.
One cannot deny that national service is a great way for Malaysian youths to
channel their energy, especially while waiting for their SPM results. After all,
three months is not a long time compared to Singapore, whose government
implements their national service for two years. Our government has worked hard
to make national service a success. Moreover, it provides them with
essential skills in life. Not only will they
learn more about their own country, but it will also build their confidence,
teach them to cooperate in a group and mix with people of other ethnic
To those school-leavers who seldom mix with other races, this is their chance
to do so. They should take it as a challenge. After all, the whole idea of
National Service is not so much to instil a sense of patriotism but more a sense
of discipline, courtesy and civic consciousness,
which is very lacking in a lot of young Malaysians.
As for the argument that school-leavers are going to college three months
later, this is rather insignificant. Many school-leavers do not join a college
straight away after leaving school. Moreover, the trainees learn a lot of skills
and knowledge during the national service. It certainly is not a waste of time.
In fact, it is a very good experience for school leavers before they proceed to
colleges for a tertiary education.
Considering these benefits of compulsory national service, I am convinced
that it should not be stopped. What should be done instead is to improve the
period of training to include a more challenging curriculum which our youths