January 09, 2005

Malaysian national service teenagers
to head to Aceh

KUALA LUMPUR (AP): Malaysia will send hundreds of teenagers who served in a national service program to Indonesia to help tsunami relief operations, news reports said on Sunday.
The recruits are expected to set up a relief center with tents that could shelter 15,000 homeless victims in Aceh province on Sumatra island, Kamal Amir Hijaz, an official involved in the program, was quoted as saying by The Star newspaper.
The volunteers will be selected from more than 85,000 teenagers, mostly 18 and 19 years old, who were drafted last year for three months of boot camp training that was aimed at teaching them discipline, patriotism and racial unity.
However, only up to 500 participants will likely head to Aceh soon, since they need to obtain their parents' approval and must also undergo an interview to determine their suitability.
"They must ask themselves if they are prepared to face such a challenge," said Omar Abdul Rahman, deputy director general of the National Service Training Department.
Indonesia suffered the most deaths of any country from the tsunami - more than 100,000. In Malaysia, 68 were confirmed killed and more than 200 injured on its northwestern coast, which is separated from Sumatra by a narrow strait.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"