More Malaysians want Peace Corps back in the country

PETALING JAYA - Calls for the US-sponsored Peace Corps initiative to be revived here are being heard again.

The revival was proposed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during his meeting with US President Barack Obama at the US-Asean lea­ders meeting in New York in September 2010.

Najib mooted the idea in response to the President's query over how the United States could foster closer relations with South-East Asia.

Between 1961 and 2013, over 210,000 Americans joined the Peace Corps and served in 139 countries.

N.G. Segaran, who was taught English by Peace Corps volunteer Dan Hallgrinson in 1966, backed the idea of bringing back the programme, which ceased in Malaysia in 1983.

"I was in Form two at the Malacca High School and I remember Hall­grinson as being a very dedicated teacher," he said.

Former Peace Corps volunteer Karen Palko, who came to Malaysia in 1979, suggested using the programme to help improve the standard of the English in Malaysia.

"Yes, it should be brought back for that reason," said the 55-year-old who currently works at an international school here.

It was established in 1960 to provide technical assistance, help foreigners understand US culture and vice versa.