Introduce Conscription in Sri Lanka to Weed Out Anti-National Elements
Posted on October 29th, 2010

– Kumar Moses

Switzerland and Singapore are small nations compared to their neighbours, but proud ones. They are highly multicultural. But the first thing that comes to mind when their names are mentioned is law and order. Maintenance of law and order in these two nations is the envy of the world. Social discipline wise, these countries are unparalleled to many countries. This was partly responsible for their rapid development; especially the service industry.

It is high time Sri Lanka introduced or reintroduced conscription or compulsory military service (CMS). ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Upon the historical victory in 2009 the president correctly stated that there are no more racial majorities and minorities and the only two types of people are those who love Sri Lanka and those who donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t. It is time to separate them. It is time to separate patriots from parasites!

Religious dogma, conscience, political views or other nonsense should not be allowed to interfere with national security. Apart from cases of severe disability making persons unable to attend CMS, all others must be taken in. Even all other disabled persons must be conscripted for military service not involving a great deal of physical activity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea and Sri Lanka

The first three countries have CMS, they are highly developed countries, smaller compared to neighbours, democracies, stand up proud against any potential threats from the neighbourhood, have very high literacy rates and maintain a very high degree of social discipline. Sri Lanka can be the next Switzerland, Singapore or South Korea by emulating them. All their striking characteristics are highly desirable for Sri Lankans. So why not start with conscription?

Of course conscription was not the only thing that made the first three nations what they are, but it played a pivotal role in creating the necessary social infrastructure conducive for development.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Switzerland has mandatory military service for all able-bodied male citizens though women may volunteer. Others pay a 3% additional annual income tax until the age of 30, unless they are affected by a disability. Swiss citizens living abroad are exempted from conscription but no exemption for persons holding dual citizenship. Switzerland reaped enormous benefits from its long tradition of CMS. During WW2, HitlerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s forces attacked larger countries with smaller armies than Switzerland but spared the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-little pigƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ (as it was called by the frustrated Nazis partly due to its shape). Nazi forces realized the unnecessary danger of confronting a very large army since most Swiss men were military trained. Had the far superior German army taken on the tiny state of Switzerland with a large army (and pride), Nazis would have suffered very heavy casualties making them weaker in the long battles it engaged and planned to engage.

Conscription in Singapore requires all male citizens who have reached the age of 18 to enrol in the military. They serve a two-year period as Full Time National Servicemen (NSFs).

Singapore has a long military service exceeding 18 months, just behind Israel and South Korea.

In South Korea military service is one of Four Constitutional Duties. Interestingly other duties are taxes, education, and labour.

Sri Lanka has so much in common with these nations and many are the benefits of conscription.

How Conscription Can Benefit Sri Lankans?

It is no secret conscription is a very unpopular concept in Sri Lanka. However, it can be of immense benefit to the conscripts more than to the nation. CMS provides almost all youngsters with an opportunity to sharpen their leadership, interpersonal, communication, teamwork, physical, psychological and life skills at no cost to them. All these skills are highly valuable in everyday life. They can produce complete citizens, instead of lopsided citizens. It can inculcate in young minds the worth of sacrifice, hard work, patriotism and discipline. It will give youngsters the valuable opportunity to closely interact with each other across cultures and the racial divide. Such interactions can dispel many age old dogmas that are holding us back. What more the fractured Sri Lankan society needs than this?

CMS will not be confined to a few months but will be reinforced with annual boot camps. Their worth is immeasurable in the local context. The biggest health risk for Sri Lankans comes from heart disease. Regular exercise is not a part of most Sri LankansƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ lifestyle.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  An annual high intensity physical activity will put them in the routine of regular exercise. Saving of health costs would be enormous in addition to a generally healthier workforce.

Every individual conscripted will be aware of his rights and responsibilities. This is a huge problem in Sri Lanka as a significant number of people donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t know their rights and opt to suffer in silence. An even higher number of them donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t know and care about their responsibilities. A society that is aware of its rights and responsibilities will uphold human rights, fundamental rights of all citizens and will be a caring society. Malpractices in the police, state sector, etc. will not go undetected and unpunished as easily as today.

New friendships will be formed that will last a lifetime.

Mobilisation of a large disciplined populace helps in disaster relief and other social services. It can also spread good health practices throughout the country at no additional cost. It will be an ideal opportunity to spread knowledge on family health, STDs, nutrition, basic psychology, channels of help, etc. The hidden social menace of high suicide rates, needless snake bite deaths, mosquito related diseases, etc. can be easily avoided with a little bit of knowledge spread in the society at large.

In addition, How Conscription Can Help Sri Lanka as a Nation?

In addition to the benefits individuals gain, Sri Lanka as a nation can benefit from conscription. A large number of military trained citizens means less attempts of outside interference. Obviously the island nation is not interested in confronting any other nation, but deterring as many instances of outside interference is still a very desirable outcome. As a rapidly developing nation, there will be many threats facing the nation including but not restricted to espionage, sabotage and various forms of terrorism. It doesnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t make sense to increase the armed forces, etc. in proportion to the anticipated threat level. Instead if almost every man in the country is well trained militarily, they can be ears and eyes of the defence establishment at no cost. A vigilant populace is the best prevention for all forms of undesirable elements.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

The higher quality of life, social discipline and better health of the population translate into an all-round better nation.

Violence in universities will be a thing of the past. University students may be attending CMS for the require period.

From four to five decades after the introduction of this scheme, almost all Sri Lankans would have gone through CSM. They can be given a separate identity card with a simple microchip and fingerprints. Those assessed as severely disabled and hence could not attend any form of military training should also be given a similar identity stating the disability. At any point in future, those who are without these IDs should be thoroughly investigated for illegal immigrants and the law must be applied to them. The South Indian illegal immigration menace can be resolved thus. Those who donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t have this ID but are citizens of the country must be investigated for defrauding the system and should pay an additional tax/other surcharge. They may be barred from certain rights of citizens. Equity and fairness to all is the cornerstone of success of CMS. No one should be allowed to evade or defraud the system including ministersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ children. Issuing of ID cards must be strictly monitored and must be independently verified electronically at the annual follow up training. If people are of the view that the system is manipulated by the rich and the powerful, they will go against CMS ending it in disaster.

Sadly, there are hundreds of thousands of anti-Sri Lankans living, profiting and disrupting Sri Lanka. By introducing CMS, they will either be remoulded into worthwhile citizens who love the country or force them to leave the country. With a very high population density and a severe lack of resources, there is no room in Sri Lanka for those who donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t love it. Opportunities and resources freed-up by their departure will benefit those who dearly love this country.

Chronic anti-national views of certain media will automatically disappear as they will not have a sizable audience to please. It can self regulate the media and NGOs.

SeparatistsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ propaganda claim of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Sinhala armyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ will dissipate in no time as the army will gradually come to be representative of all communities driven by the enthusiasm created by CMS.

6 Responses to “Introduce Conscription in Sri Lanka to Weed Out Anti-National Elements”

  1. Siri Says:

    Your idea is very good Mr. Kumar Moses, but the way you propose to go about it is flawed. We have to learn to walk before we can run. I was a member of the Ceylon Cadet Corps in the period 1954 to 1958. After the hartal we were disbanded and the government at the time decided that it was not wise to train youth to carry arms. Later while I was in college I heard that they had recommenced, but used wooden rifles instead of real ones to train, unlike in our time. During my service in the cadet corps I learnt a lot about team work and how to get along with others different from us. We did not think of ourselves as Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Buddhist or Christian, but as a group of youth with a common goal. This in itself is a good training for all our youth, but cannot be forced on them. They have to be enticed to take part with extrapriviledges and benefits offered. Those who do not join cannot be regarded as unpatriotic and just because they join does not mean that they are more patriotic. It is a matter of personal preference. This should be purely voluntary and if it does not get enough attention or sufficient volunteers amongst the student population, the deal can be sweetened by offering additional benefits such as credits to enter the university, preference for government employment etc. It has to be progressive until we have most of our youth involved. Conscription will be very unpopular and unjustified in peacetime. It can be done only in a dire war situation. Conscription will be a step backwards in a free society.

  2. jayt Says:

    these two countries have two deferent history and noway fit for Sri lanka. Singapore was created by Uk and supported by US and it was created serve the military and economic interest of the west. Switzerland is same. It is part of the main western powers. It have been promoting hatred against Sinhalese alone with some other western countries. and it has been one of main Tigers supporters of the West.
    Singapore too on and off were attacking Sinhalese under the instruction of same western elements who gave orders over the years to swiss to attack Sinhalese.

    These elements brought these proposals in the past: they attack Sinhalese and then put forward proposal like do like Canada, do like Singapore, do like Switzerland.

  3. De Costa Says:

    Kumar,
    My friend, you are looking at what you are able to see only. I fully accept that law and order is of utmost importance and I also support your CMS to SriLanka.
    But your expample countries are robber countries. They immensely benifitted from back deposits from billions of dollars from robbers all over the world. This is one of the main factors for their wealth. After the current crisis robbers suddenly dumped so much money in Singapore.
    I agree that secure natrue of SriLanka now must be followed up with excellent law and order. Then we too can enjoy “robbers money”. Nothing wrong in that.

  4. Sajith Says:

    This is a plan to chase us away from Sri Lanka if we don’t join Rajapaksha’s army. We have better things to do than waste our time in a check point. Why do we need a big army now if Rajapaksha says there is peace? Does that mean even Rajapaksha knows that there is no peace?

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    While Cadet training with a wooden rifle may be a good idea to bring together youth from different areas, isn’t it a good idea to also have an Oath of Allegiance taken by every school child & teachers in every school ?
    This Oath should be taken by every child, every morning before classes begin, and should be a very simple one. The Oath should also be taken by Parliamentarians, the Armed Forces, workers at the work places (govt & private), and even by clergy.

  6. sena Says:

    Another similarity is that all these countries do not have much natural resorces other than human capital and that wher the similarity ends, whilr profesionals have devoloped knowledge based economie in the se countries, our professionals for the last seventy odd years since independence have contributed very little to the economy as a pay back for public investment in education. Instead once graduated they demand jobs from the very people who finance their education. And once in these jobs they langiush until retirement without much productivity. Let us take physicians, many countries have made significant andvances in healthcare industry, but not Sri Lanka. Our doctors just go through the motions and only interested in doing private practice at their backyards. Take engineers there is hardly and industrial base of any significance in Sri Lanka. Most engineers are reduced to doing date to day office management in public sector and customer service in private sector. There is no significant contribution from science graduates either. We have hardly and financial and banking service industry. As a result of the absence of any significant industrial and research base international recognition of our medical and engineering degrees have steadily decreased over the years.
    As the writer says along with instilling discipline and accountability (in the absence of which no one can develop), our professionals must step into apply their knowledge to make positive contributions to the economy rather than depending on the productivity of blue collar workers in garments, agriculture, plantations and middle east etc.
    Also as a component of conscription, the nutrion level of people in Sri Lanka should be significantly improved as under nutrition seems to be a grave problem which will cause significant health and productivity issues in the future. All you have to do is to go through the group photos of sport teams (who are mostly middle class) over the decades to see how physically small the people have become, a clear indication of inadequate or impropper nutrition

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