Monday, September 29, 2008


National Service Council Chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye has finally handed over the chairmanship to Dato Dr. Tiki Lafe, a BN MP from Mas Gading, and a former Deputy Minister.

The question that I need to raise is why the change of chairmanship, when everyone acknowledges that Tan Sri Lee has done a superb job? Why give it to another politician who had lost his job (for reasons only known to the PM) as Deputy Minister? Is this a case similar to the appointment of Sahidan Kassim as the advisor to NCER, which received snide remarks from Tun Mahathir in his blog?

Many had asked me...why a politician for this job? Do you think he can do a better job than a non politician? Why not give the job to a retired senior government servant, who have gone through the mill,and have acquired lots of experience in managing organisations? There are a number of senior retired government servants who have done exceedingly well in large corporate organisations, and running the National Service Council is certainly no big deal.

The talk among many quarters is that, between a politician and a retired senior government servant, the latter if preferred for any job that requires managerial skills. They say, unlike politician, senior government servants are more dedicated, discipline and has less of self interest. I know of many retired senior government servants who are reemployed, and they command the highest respect by their employers. I cannot say much of politicians.

I hope my comments are taken in good spirit by those who read this, especially politicians. And do not for once assume that this article is aimed at putting Dato Dr. Titi Lafe in bad taste. What Dato Dr. Titi should do now is to prove me wrong, and certainly there are still many aspects of running the National Service, that can be further improved.



General Azumi (RTD) said...

Dato Arshad, You will recall that i am one of those who together with Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye,Dr Tan Seng Giaw and CP Dato Kamaruddin Ali were the ones who at a seminar in Bangi some years ago had proposed that National Service Training be introduced. Today, Tan Sri Lee and myself are on the National Unity and Integration Panel and we talked alot about National Service. I certainly agree and vouch with you that despite the odds, Tan Sri Lee has done a great job. Whilst i may not agree with you that a retired Senior Government Servant is preferred over a Politician for the job,I salute you for your last paragraph. Lets give my good friend Dr Tiki a chance. For Dr Tiki should you need any advice, i am sure Dato Arshad is ever willing to assist. For that matter you can also count on an old soldier like me.

maurice said...

It might be useful at this stage to examine whether there is a national need to elevate the National Service Scheme to a higher level of strategic usefulness.

Instead of going back to their homes after the 3 months training stint why not these young people be mobilized as conscripts to serve in the MAF say for 2 years.

This will further improve national integration, help resolve the manpower problems of the MAF and a good return on taxpayers' money.

Of course the present National Service Training Centres will have to be reorganized to meet the military requirements and an appropiate Act introduced to reflect the peoples' approval on the proposed concept.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Gen Azumi and Maurice,

It is heart warming to receive constructive and sensible comments from friends. There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to the NS scheme. My concern is whether the scheme had actually met its desired aims and objectives for the long term. Somehow, I am still not convinced that a three months stint could have an impact on one's character. I just wonder if there is a monitoring system to reevaluate the usefulness of the scheme and its long term impact on past participants. Such findings has to be revealed to the public, as it involves public fund.

maurice said...


I am sure they would have gained much valuable experience.Whether this would have changed their character and outlook in life immediately and in the long-term, it must be difficult to ascertain by whatever method of monitoring modality one wishes to employ.

Rather than playing the guessing game about the present and future effectiveness of the National Service Scheme, why don't the government take a bold decision to mobilize them as National Conscripts for the reasons I have enumerated in my earlier posting.

It would be good for patriotism and national unity to have our young people from all strata of our society doing their bit for the country, by serving as soldiers in the MAF.

maurice said...

It is unfortunate that the Government sees it fit to give the Chairmanship to a politician.

I agree that the job should be given to someone who has proven himself in public service, in particular in the area of national unity.

Anonymous said...

Dato Arshad,

It is sad that Malaysian leaders cannot think straight,wisely and honest for the sake of our future generation well being.Give me a chance. I think the Military leaders are not forceful enough to tell the Government of the day what to do with the national defence in a more balanced and fair manner where all Malaysian citizen irrespective of race , colours and background shall serve in the military as regulars or reserve.

As it is now PLKN ,which I can deduce from the advert which appears in our television only serve like a picnic ventures for our youngsters.A place where they could sing and dance in a stream or sing "dikir barat" together harmoniusly. Do you think it is justifiable to spend taxpayers money by the million annually just to make our youngsters become boys scout or girlguide? I think it is wise to include Military module inside PLKN training to inculcate discipline to our youngsters.

This PLKN issues and its future must be debated wisely by our politician in Parliament to consider whether this programme shall be continued or scrap for the sake of our nation and money well spent.

Luke said...

Dear sir,

As a member who had join PLKN, in terms of racial integration, i would say it was effective for me, it was the first time i work closely with people of other races. Here. i would say that 55% is based on physical activity like exercise,kayaking, and high rope activity. 40% on personal learning like personal improvement skills, religion class, patriotic class, singing and dancing and etc.5% is military skills. which is only on how to use and fire the M-16

Dear friends, pls never say PLKN is a picnic !!! nor never say to close it.

I do agree that 2 years conscript should be introduce and more military training should be introduce, all this would help improve the Army strength in times of needs