SINGAPORE - Broken toilet doors. Clogged sinks and toilets. Broken beds and filthy pillows. And to add to their misery - worms in food.
For almost a month, about 200 young men and women undergoing national service training at Malaysia's PLKN White Resort camp in Balik Pulau, Penang, have been living in squalid and deplorable conditions, the New Straits Times reported.
They even packed their bags to leave the camp on Wednesday, but officials convinced them to return to their dorms.
They assured the trainees that their complaints will be looked into.
A brother of one of the trainees who declined to be named told The Star that he received a call from his sister on Tuesday night, asking him to pick her up from the camp.
He said: "She had told me that she could not stand the camp's unkempt condition. She even found worms in her food. It's a miracle no one came down with food poisoning."
He added she had also complained that some of the toilet doors were broken and could not be locked.
Most of the trainees are from Penang and Perak.
A source told The Star that the camp used to be one of the best NS sites when it was opened about five years ago.
"It is now so badly maintained that it can be considered one of the worst in the country now," he was quoted as saying. "Clogged sinks and toilets are a daily occurrence here. Even the broken bed frames are not replaced."
The source also alleged that the amount of food for trainees had also decreased. In the past, he said, each trainee received about 125g of chicken for their meal but this had been reduced by a third.
The New Straits Times reported that worried parents were seen at the gates of the camp on Wednesday, wanting to take their children home.
The father of one trainee who declined to be named said he was concerned about the food, which his son said was poorly prepared.
"I regret having to send my son to the camp. From what I heard, prison conditions are probably better than this camp's."
A trainee from Johor Baru said: "Most of the things here are covered with rust. A leg on my bunk bed is broken. Our mattresses and pillows are filthy and full of stains."
Camp commander Mej Abdul Hamid Man said the matter "will be dealt with internally".
PLKN acting chief Rozainor Ramli assured the trainees and their parents that immediate measures would be put in place to improve conditions at the camp.
An investigation would also be carried out following the trainees' complaints about the food.
But Mr Rozainor said the trainees should give some leeway if conditions at the camp were not up to scratch. After all, the conditions are akin to a military training camp, he said.
"Trainees cannot expect to get the feel and comfort of home."
The three-month training of the batch of trainees is scheduled to end on Oct 31.
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