The Government should quickly announce the grounds for deferment of national service and not continue to keep anxious trainees and their parents in the dark

Media Statement
John Chung

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Today’s Star reported that three major groups of trainees may be allowed deferment of national service if a proposal by the National Service Council at its first meeting is accepted by the Cabinet Committee.

The three groups cited in the report are those will be sitting for their SPM examination next year at the age of 18, those who have already made arrangement to study overseas, and pre-university students (including those entering Lower Six) who will commence their classes before the start of the programme.


However, as the recommendations of the Council are subject to the approval of the Cabinet Committee, the public is still anxiously awaiting the formal decision of the government on the grounds to defer national service until a later date.


For the past two days, DAP had received many inquiries from those selected as trainees and their parents expressing their concern and worry about the programme and asking about the circumstances in which they can apply for deferment and the procedure to go about it. Most of the callers cited education and physical impairment as the grounds on which they hope to receive deferment or even exemption.


Clearly the government should not continue to keep these anxious trainees and their parents in the dark and should announce the grounds for deferment and the procedures of appeal. Particularly, the government should not waste time in revealing whether the three groups mentioned above, who are most affected by the programme, can automatically defer their enrollment into national service.


Additionally, the government should decide on a fourth category of persons who should be allowed deferment or exemption due to special circumstances, i.e. those who would suffer hardship such as pregnant ladies and mothers who had just given birth and need to take care of their newborn child.


* John Chung, DAP National Publicity Bureau Assistant Secretary