Another serious misfortune has befallen on one of our National Service trainees. This time, a death.
The death of Mohd Rafi Ameer a trainee at the Cheneh Cemerlang camp in Kemaman last Saturday is said to be the twentieth since the National Service was started by the government.
I can just hear the defensive mode of the people in charge getting into overdrive here: “death occurs everywhere”… “the safety and interests of trainees are always on the top of our mind”…“some trainees do not properly declare the sickness that they have” etc. etc.
The truth is, we parents are being taken for a ride – and sometimes even – taken for fools, I might add.
And I’m talking from experience, here. For, my daughter Sakinah went through an ordeal herself at the National Service camp in Pasir Puteh, Kelantan. It was an experience which made me feel betrayed, and one which moved me to write to Malaysiakini in March of this year.
You see, when I encouraged her to go I was confident that she would be well taken care of. After all, these are teenagers we’re talking about. Hardly the G.I. Joes or Janes. But nothing could be farther from the truth – well, at least not at that Pasir Puteh camp, anyway.
The dinning hall was so filthy that the local authority had it sealed (as in closed down!). The equipments for training were next to non-existent.
But the saddest part is, a trainee girl from Cheras (staying not far from our place, actually) died in a bathroom. Whatever happened to her that fateful night, nobody really knows until today. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s being conveniently forgotten.
Please buck-up, the powers that be. You are gambling with the lives and safety of our children! Would you do the same with your children?