Earlier in January this year, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the National Service Training Programme (PLKN) aka NS was among the expenditures to be cut for the country’s Budget 2015 as it will save the government RM400 million.
Today, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced that the training programme is expected to resume next January with new modules. The programme, which was named “Transformation 2.0”, is said to be “promising based on market needs”.
During the question time at the Senate, Hishammuddin said that the new modules will serve to “prepare youths into the workforce” as students and dropouts will be given another chance to study at higher institutions, private or public institutions. He added, “They will be able to choose a higher institution of their choice to take 4 to 24 month certificates courses“.
He also stated that the programme will now focus on soft skills, granting students “a 2nd netting security”, especially for those who feel lost and aimless after graduation. When asked by Senator Zali Mat Yasin on whether or not the NS programme is really beneficial to the younger generation or if there were plans to continue the programme, he said the relaunch of the programme will help “kickstart the future of these youths”.
According to the Defence Minister, the new module will be divided into 2 phases. The 1st phase will focus on soft skills modules such as:
- Unity in Diversity
- Be Safe and Alert
- Act and Talk
- Fit for Life
The 2nd phase will, instead, allow students to study on their chosen certificates.
Students will also be exposed to elements of the world threat faced today like militancy, division of race, and religion through social media that can be exploited. Many countries are battling with unity, volunteerism, and patriotism. The programme will be one of the channels to expose students to these threats.
He further revealed that there could be 3 to 4 intakes per year, but they are currently waiting for Cabinet’s decision and approval on 8th July. The Defence Minister also hopes parents will send their children voluntarily by 2019. He added, “No compulsion. We are hoping to get the support from the public. That is what we are aiming at. It is major change and transformation from the 1.0 module”.
According to Hishammuddin, unlike the first NS programme 10 years ago, the new module is a transformation as it is “a collection of feedback from a Lab Series held with different government agencies including from the Sports Ministry, Pemandu, Human Resource, Ministry of International Trade and Industries, Rural and Regional Development, coaches, parents, various Non-Governmental Organisations, industry experts, and others”.