KUALA LUMPUR: The National Service Training Programme (PLKN) may be revived, says Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu.
“It is known that Pakatan Harapan said that it would scrap PLKN as part of its election manifesto as the programme did not fulfil its objectives and there was a lot of wastage.
“However, taking into account the views of parents, former PLKN trainees and related agencies, the Defence Ministry will carry out a study to evaluate the effectiveness and implications of the programme,” he said when replying to a question raised by Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera) in Parliament Thursday (Aug 2).
He said that previous studies carried out by several local universities had shown that the programme had a positive impact on trainees.
However, Mohamad said the main issue was the high cost of running the programme and leakages.
“Of the RM8bil spend on the programme over the last 14 years, 43% was for rental of PLKN camps,” he said, adding that cost of transporting trainees by buses was also “very high”.
Mohamad said the findings of the study would be tabled to the Cabinet.
“If the programme is to be revived, it must be done with improvements and cost savings,” he said.
Earlier, Mohamad told the House that a total of RM8.43bil had been spent on the programme which started in 2004.
He added that a total of 885,956 youths have undergone training.
Of this, he said 355,411 trainees had signed up with the National Service Volunteer Brigade.
The PLKN programme was temporarily stopped in 2015 due to the Federal Government's effort to reduce spending.
The programme was reintroduced as PLKN 2.0 in 2016 and was to be made optional for trainees in 2019.
Under the programme, 18-year-olds were drafted to undergo three months’ training at over 100 camps nationwide.