Doctors and dentists still subject to National Service since Confrontation

Adjournment Speech by DAP Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Ra’ayat on 14th December 1971

Doctors and dentists still subject to National Service since Confrontation

During the Indonesian Confrontation, Malaysians born between 18.11.1934 and 18.11.1942, i. e. those now between 29 and 37 years of age, were required to register for National Service.

Indonesian Confrontation has ended six years ago, but those in this age group are still technically subject to call-up. For all practical purposes, this provision is just irksome, as all those registered in this age group must apply for a exit permit before leaving the country.

What is shocking is that for six years, when the purposes for the national service has ceased to exist, a government department continues to operate to issue exit permits to those in this age group, serving no purpose whatsoever.

However, two groups of people are closely affected, namely the doctors and the dentists. They are still called up to serve national service, causing a lot of hardships to the young doctors they have, as many of them have to give up practices which spent a lot of money, or got deeply indebted, to establish.

It is a manifest injustice, as others in their age group are not liable to call-up for practical purposes, and while other doctors and dentists are not subject to the provision.

I do not understand why this anomaly and injustice is allowed to go on for six years. I urge the government to take steps to free these doctors and dentists, whose fault was to be born in the wrong age group, so that they can continue with their private practice without personal hardships and financial embarrassment.

If the government needs doctors and dentists for their armed services, there must surely be more just and equitable methods of securing them.

In conclusion, I also call on the Minister concerned to do away completely with the confrontation national service registration, as it is a blot on the efficiency and competence of the government to allow a measure which has ceased to have a purpose to continue to involve government expenses in terms of staff.