KUALA LUMPUR, 19 March 2009: Eleven National Service (NS) trainees had died while undergoing training since the programme was introduced in 2004, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Abdullah, who is also Defence Minister, said seven of them died due to health problems and the rest, from accidents.
The trainees who died were six boys and five girls, he added in his written reply to Sim Tong Him (DAP-Kota Melaka) who asked about measures that were and would be taken to ensure the safety and health of trainees and the number who died or were injured since the programme began.
Abdullah said 284 trainees had injuries that were mostly sprains, while a few suffered bone fractures.
“For the Honourable Member’s (Sim) information, all NS trainees are covered by a group insurance scheme sponsored by the National Service Training Department,” he further said in his reply.
Abdullah said the Defence Ministry paid serious attention to the health and safety of the trainees while undergoing training at the camps by providing health/medical facilities and insurance coverage, and undertaking safety precautions.
He said to ensure the trainees received proper treatment, the NS Training Department with the cooperation of the Health Ministry, stationed three full-time medical assistants and two nurses at the clinic at each training camp.
To ensure that all the NS training camps were fit for occupation and safety as certified by qualified consultant engineers appointed by the camp operators, the department appointed the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to inspect all the training facilities at the camps to further ensure they were safe for use, he added.
Abdullah said the camp operators were required to provide security surveillance and control at the camps, while a policeman was stationed full time at each camp to also watch over security at the camp and to act immediately on any untoward incident.
He said the camp operators were also required to take insurance coverage to protect the camp users, including the trainees, and staff, effective three days before the commencement of training until three days after the training session ended. — Bernama