Following MACVA’s last Malaysian Youth Recruitment (MYR) Program at SMJK Sin Min, Sg Petani, Kedah on 10 Nov 2018, MACVA together with Cawangan Tenaga Kerja – Bahagian Perkhdmatan Anggota, Markas Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (CTK-BPA, MK ATM) and teams from Sel Promosi MK Tentera Darat (MKTD)/ MK Tentera Laut (MTL)/MK Tentera Udara (MTU) and Maktab Tentera DiRaja (MTD), had again concluded another MYR program on 23 Jun 2019.
It must be noted that SMJK Sin Min had approached MACVA directly to follow through from the previous year’s MYR exercise – this provides a clear sign that Sin Min does support the MACVA initiative and that they do see these initiatives as a good career opportunity for students graduating from their School.
The MACVA MYR team was led by its advisor, Capt Dato’ Lee Kwang Lock RMN (VP Navy) and the MYR Project leader, Lt Col Carol Loo Lee Fum. The attending MYR team members were made up with the participation of Lt Col Wong Ah Jit (Hon Sec), Maj David Chow (VP Army), Maj Godfrey Chang, Maj Wong Kwai Yinn, Lt Soon Tet Leong RMN, all from Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh respectively and voluntarily.
The local support and team members were Maj ST Leong (MYR Coordinator in Sg Petani), Maj Lee Man Tat and Capt Tei Poey Eong RMAF (Chairman of MACVA, Northern Chapter), again voluntarily.
The entire team, upon arrival on 22 Jun 2019, held a brief coordinating meeting at the Sg Petani Club, which was then followed up with a dinner. Puan Li Lee Ching, the school Principal and her student councillors, Puan Goh Chew Tian and Puan Choo Joo Ing, were invited guests at the dinner. After dinner, a short joint recce was then undertaken at the school grounds to review the area dedicated by the school for the MYR program.
The following day, 23 Jun 2019, the entire team had assembled in the school just before 6.30am. We were warmly received by Puan Li, Puan Goh and Puan Choo around dawn.
The teams from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and all other representatives had arrived a little later due to a very heavy down pour that morning. A number of them had also started their journey from Kuala Lumpur early in the morning due to a prior recruitment program held the day before.
Meanwhile, the students arrived slowly and progressively in an orderly manner into the assembly hall. They then regrouped themselves according to their classes seated at the venue, which also served as the school’s basketball court. A total of 1,102 students, (made out of boys and girls from Form 3 - 333, Form 4 - 354, Form 5 - 367 & Form 6 - 48), participated in the program under the watchful eyes of the Principal and her entire Teaching Staff. The students were mostly dressed in blue - their extra co-curriculum uniform. From our observations, the students were generally more at ease and relaxed when compared to the previous MYR exercise conducted in Nov 2018.
What was disappointing to us was the absence of parent’s participation. This was despite the School Parents Teacher’s Association (PTA) disseminating invitations, following the persuasive advice from MACVA. It has been MACVA’s contention all along that the MYR exercise must also be subscribed and fully participated by parents; ultimately they would be the guardians that eventually help or influence their children the ways forward in their future.
This year’s program, though not much different from the previous year, started off with the military career talks by CTK-BPA, specific Army, Navy, Air Force and MTD representatives. Exhibition of military assets - Royal Signal Command Rover from the 6th Infantry Brigade, scrambler motorbike, banners, uniforms, small arm weapons and miniature ship models - were all displayed with quite some excitable interactions from the students. Chinese career officers and a MTD Cadet had inadvertently become icons, and had attracted much attention from the students after they had individually opened up, and shared their personal experiences and feelings since joining the ATM Services.
There was an understanding that the Army would assist and avail an Armoured Vehicle as display to support this year’s program. In fact, the vehicle from a local unit nearby, had even undertaken a recce to identify a suitable location to park and display a day before, however, the vehicle was nowhere to be sighted, and this was despite some frantic phone calls being made.
Puan Goh, the Emcee of the day welcomed the visiting team’s presence, and then invited Puan Li Lee Ching to officiate and kickoff the program. Puan Li, in her welcoming speech, had advised the students to take this opportunity to learn specifically the continued education and training programs provided by the Armed Forces, and also how the different Services could offer professional career options to them. She reiterated that the defence of the country is the duty for all citizens, irrespective of race or religion. She lamented that the often quoted saying – “a good son does not join the armed forces” as being a myth and cannot apply in today’s world. She welcomed the MACVA initiatives and looks forward that this be continued as a yearly affair between SMJK Sin Min and MACVA.
Capt Dato’ Lee, in his speech, thanked the school for the warm welcome, and the MINDEF team members committed in this joint effort. He hopes to see this program and the joint efforts continued in the years to come. As ice breaker, he even intimated to the students that his naval career facilitated him to travel to 30 different countries; this was his “join the navy to see the world” moment that not many can truly claim!
|Putera Nicholas Ong Yong Xen (now Form 4), telling his stories and college life confidently to the audience - generated a lot of interest amongst the boys and girls mongst the students and teachers|
The followings are candid shots from the exhibition stands, take note the facial expression of the students when handling military assets including the Signal Command Vehicle.
Gifts exchanged between the school and MINDEF.
A token of appreciation from MACVA to the school and MINDEF.
Finally, we would like to record our sincere appreciation towards Maj ST Leong, Maj Lee Man Tat and Capt Tei Poey Eong RMAF who have all jointly put in a lot of effort to make this event taking place. Their commitment, dedication and successful execution of this MACVA mission set good examples for all other chapters to emulate. The hard work from all the team members - MINDEF (CTK, Sel Promosi from the Army, Navy and Air Force), MTD and the school Principal, Puan Li and her staff, Puan Goh and Puan Choo must all be recorded as thoroughly contributory. A special mention of Puan Goh, who apparently had an important ongoing program in Kulim, she came back all the way to ensure the prearranged program was properly executed, only to return to Kulim again the same day to continue where she had left off.
To conclude, the MYR program at SMJK Sin Min has advanced to a new level, despite only limited and direct support from MINDEF. The school has shown very positive reception. Due to space constraint, the school was unable to accommodate all her 1,800 students. The Principal has indicated that once their new auditorium is completed, she will ensure that all students attend such talks in the future. She will also look into how to cajole parents to come and participate in the next MACVA MYR program.
FINDINGS - Lesson learnt - too many red tapes to penetrate at MINDEF working level. Last minute approvals are not conducive for MACVA arrangements. It will be embarrassing to cancel prearranged programs beyond the control of MACVA.
● It is recommended that the MACVA President and MYR Advisor quickly pay a courtesy call to all the top brasses in MINDEF involved in the recruitment of servicemen program so that the joint activities will be seamless to support MACVA’s effort in this program.
● The staff working level in MINDEF should share their Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) to beef up this joint effort.
Lt Col Loo Lee Fum (Rtd)
MYR Project Leader
28 Jun 2019