THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Monday, March 26, 2007

National Service


Lee clarifies sexual assault report

I REFER to Sunday Star’s report “All-girl national service camps proposed” (March 25). Allow me to clarify paragraphs of the report concerning safety and instances of sexual assault and harassment.

I was quoted as having said that having all-female camps will limit instances of sexual assault. When disclosing the council’s recommendation on the settingup of all-female camps, at no time did I mention anything about “instances of sexual assaults”.

If not clarified, the news report implies that there were several instances of sexual assaults in national service training camps.

To the best of the National Service Training Council’s knowledge, other than one reported case of rape outside a national service camp in Terengganu in 2004 there were no other reported instances of sexual assault of female trainees in any national service training camps.

The trainer involved in the Terengganu sexual assault case was charged, found guilty and was imprisoned.

The council at its recent meeting merely recommended to the National Service Training Department to look into the feasibility of all-female national service training camps.

Whether such camps can eventually be set up or not has to depend on a number of factors which will be studied by the Director-General of the National Service Training Department who will report to the next council meeting in June.

Even if the report is favourable the council still needs to refer to the Minister of Defence for his approval.

I hope this clarification will help put right any unfounded fear or concern on the safety of all trainees arising from the report quoting me on a comment which I had not made.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE,
Chairman, National Service Training Council.


THANK YOU FOR THE CLARIFICATION, TAN SRI. I THINK A TIME HAS COME FOR THE COUNCIL TO TAKE UPON ITSELF THE DUTY TO ENSURE NO FURTHER DEATHS AND CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE OCCURS IN THE NATIONAL SERVICE PROGRAMMES TO THE EXTENT OF EVEN CLOSING DOWN THE ENTIRE PROGRAMME IF ONE MORE DEATH OCCURS. PARENTS ARE NOT SENDING THEIR CHILDREN TO BE KILLED BY THE PROGRAMME.

Rajahram Ramalingam