Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and LOSHANA K. SHAGAR
THE Defence Ministry is putting the brakes on scrapping the National Service Training Programme (PLKN) after taking into account the views of parents, agencies and former trainees.
Its minister Mohamad Sabu said although Pakatan Harapan had promised to scrap the PLKN as part of its election manifesto, a study would now be carried out to evaluate its effectiveness and implications.
“Pakatan has said that it would scrap PLKN as part of its election manifesto as the programme has not fulfilled its objectives and there was a lot of wastage.
“However, taking into account the views of parents, former trainees and related agencies, the Defence Ministry will carry out a study to evaluate the programme’s effectiveness and implications,” he told Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera).
Previous studies by several local universities, he said, had also shown that the programme had a positive impact on trainees.
The findings of the study would be tabled to the Cabinet, said Mohamad.
“If the programme is to be revived, it must be done with improvements and cost savings,” he said.
Earlier, he told the House that RM8.43bil had been spent on the programme for 885,956 youths since it started in 2004.
“Out of this, 43% was for the rental of PLKN camps,” he said, adding that cost of transporting trainees by buses was also “very high”.
He said 355,411 trainees had also signed up with the National Service Volunteer Brigade.
The PLKN programme was temporarily halted in 2015 due to the federal government’s efforts to reduce spending.
The programme was reintroduced as PLKN 2.0 in 2016, and made optional for trainees in 2019.
Under the programme, 18-year-olds were to undergo three months’ training at over 100 camps nationwide.
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