New national service model won't be confined to school students, says deputy minister

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Service Training Programme (PLKN 3.0) will not be confined to school students but those who are in university as well as youths who are not pursuing tertiary education, says Adly Zahari.

“Once (the modules) are finalised, these training will not only involve students in secondary school, but it will also involve those in universities and those who are not,” the Deputy Defence Minister told the Dewan Rakyat during question time on Monday (March25).

"We have the timeline and age bracket to ensure that the programme is implemented well,” he added.

In a supplementary question, Datuk Khlir Mohd Nor (PN-Ketereh) had asked the Defence Ministry to clarify whether the programme was only confined to school students or the youth as a whole.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin previously said the PLKN 3.0 training will only begin next year.

On the mid-term review of the Defence White Paper, Adly said the ministry is looking into certain strategies related to the policy document.

“We had a kick off ceremony for the mid-term review on Feb 13,” he said.

“There were a few factors that were beyond our expectation such as Covid-19. We also saw some important aspects related to our cybersecurity especially on Artificial Intelligence as well as other factors related to climate change and so on,” he added.

On engagements with stakeholders, he said the views of relevant stakeholders will be considered.

“We will take certain approaches including by bringing it to the Parliamentary special select committee (PSSC) before we table the findings in Parliament,” he added.

He was responding to a supplementary question by Oscar Ling (PH-Sibu) on whether MPs, the PSSC on Defence and academics will be involved in the engagement process of the mid-term review.

Earlier, Ling had also asked about the measures taken to implement the targets of the Defence White Paper.

Adly said the government is committed to enhance the capacity of the military based on the targets outlined in the document.

He said the procurement of defence assets such as the Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial System, Light Combat Aircraft and Littoral Mission Ship Batch 2 (LMSB2) has been listed under the 12 Malaysia Plan, while the procurement of other assets will be conducted under the 13th Malaysia Plan.

This will be in line with the first strategy of the defence white paper which is concentric deterrence.

He said in line with the second strategy which is comprehensive defence, Adly said the ministry will increase awareness of the people on the second pillar of the white paper through Civil-Military Cooperation.

“These will be done through activities such as community empowerment programmes, expanding the voluntary force and collaborating with government and private agencies.

"Besides that, the ministry is also in the midst of preparing for the PLKN 3.0 to instill patriotism among youth,” he said.

As per the third strategy, which is credible partnership, he said the ministry and the army had forged new ties and strengthened existing ones with other countries.

“The United States, Australia, China, Japan, Germany, South Korea and Vietnam are among the countries involved,” he said.

“In the short term, the ministry has concentrated efforts to strengthen cooperation with Asean, the Five Power Defence Arrangements and other sub-regional initiatives such as the Malacca Straits Patrol (MSP) and Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA),” he said.

The White Paper began in 2019 and is scheduled to conclude in 2030.

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