Malaysia introduced a novel form of conscription earlier this year. Unlike most other countries with military conscription, Malaysia's National Service scheme is a short 3 months service that is meant to help instill better relationships amongst the youths of various ethic and social groups, and is co-educational. There is some physical and military training, but for the most part, conscripts attend 'National education' seminars and do community work.
Things started out reasonably well, with only a few minor incidents reported, such as a group of conscripts getting lost in a jungle overnight. It now seems, however, that things are going downhill. Cases of food poisoning and fights amongst conscripts were followed by one camp full of conscripts rioting after three of their number were beaten up by medical staff. Now reports have emerged that one 17 year old girl died from a drug overdose, while another 17 year old female conscript was raped by an instructor. -Shawn Chung