New initiative to replace NS and BTN programmes


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 23 Oct 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The Youth and Sports Ministry will soon launch a new “specialised programme” for youths to replace the scrapped National Service (NS) training and National Civics Bureau (BTN) programmes.

“This will be an intensive programme to create multi-talented youth leaders,” said Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (pic) .

The ministry, he said, was working with strategic investment fund Khazanah Nasional and Ernst & Young, and several other stakeholders such as the Outward Bound School to make it the “best youth leadership programme”.

“It will be non-partisan and free from political indoctrination as BTN unfortunately was. In fact, we will be inviting representatives from all parties to be a part of this initiative,” he said after launching the annual United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Malaysia State of World Population 2018 report at Universiti Malaya yesterday.

Syed Saddiq said the youth leadership programme would cost about RM70mil, a fraction of the budget of the former programmes.

“It costs about RM85,000 to train one National Service trainee ... even my four-year law degree was cheaper!” he said.

Meanwhile, acknowledging a need to intensify sexual and reproductive health education programmes among young Malaysians, Syed Saddiq said the issue was already being discussed by the Cabinet.

He was responding to the speech of UNFPA Malaysia country head Marcela Suazo, who said young people in Malaysia were unable to make “the right choices” as they were ill-equipped with basic knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

A survey by the National Population and Family Development Board found that one in three people aged between 13 and 24, who were engaged in sexual activity, did not know a girl could get pregnant from their first time.

“This shows a gap in their access to information and knowledge. We’re not talking about Sub-Saharan Africa here; we’re talking about a country like Malaysia that has a lot of capacity and opportunity.”

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