Najib should intervene to exempt from the first batch of the National Service students who have already made arrangements for the South Australian matriculation course in January, whether locally or in Australia
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad has said that the Education Ministry would announce new admission dates for next year’s Lower Six and matriculation programmes so that classes do not overlap with the National Service training.
It is most unfortunate and just bad planning that the first batch of 85,000 national service recruits could not be conducted without disrupting the educational plans of students for private studies, whether locally or overseas.
Every year, some 1,500 students in Malaysia prepare for the South Australian matriculation certificate for further studies in Australian universities, starting their courses in the first week of January with the examination in November.
The least the National Service Training Department and Council should have done is to announce the selection of the national service recruits before students have already made plans for the matriculation course, whether locally or in Australia, with many paying not only the registration fee but also the costs of the whole course ranging between RM8,000 to RM10,000 locally.
The Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak., who is Chairman of the National Service Council, should intervene to exempt from the first batch of the National Service students who have already made arrangements for the South Australian matriculation course in January, whether locally or in Australia, so as not to disrupt their educational plans. It has been estimated that the numbers will only be in the region between 150 to 200 18-year-olds.
Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, has not announced his choice of No. 2, I have no doubt that Najib would be named the Deputy Prime Minister, either by next week or by the end of the month. As Abdullah has set the tone for a “people-friendly” government responsive to the problems of the people, Najib should be receptive to the problem of educational disruption involving the waste of one year faced by this batch of students intending to prepare for the South Australian matriculation examination, either by exempting them from the first batch of the national service or allowing them to undergo the three-month national service after the matriculation examination in November and before they enroll for Australian universities early next year.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman