File Photo: Trainees from the National Service Training Centre (PLKN) leaving the Gagah Samudera Training Ship (KLGS) after a visit during Navy’s Open Day at Pending Port, Kuching.

KOTA BHARU: For a country to effectively condition their citizens character and discipline, a mandatory conscription and military duty for both male and female citizens upon attaining the age of 18 was enforced to reach this goal.  

Propagated by American and British governance during the WW2 period, today, Singapore and South Korea are among the only few countries that still enforce their national service programme. In the early days of the new millennium, Malaysia too enforced this agenda. However, the country also had it lapsed early.

Yesterday, former director-general of the Malaysia’s National Service Department (JLKN) Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil said that national unity is more fragile without any structured programmes and there is a way to curb the matter from escalating.

The National Service Training Programme (PLKN) should make a comeback as it was successful in teaching youth to love the country.

“PLKN was established as a result of the Youth Patriotism Convention held following the Kampung Medan riots. Let’s not wait for another Kampung Medan incident to happen before the government begins to think of a solution,” he said in a statement to Bernama here yesterday.

The statement was issued in response to Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan’s remarks in Dewan Rakyat yesterday which called for the revival of several programmes, including the PLKN, which were stopped during the Pakatan Harapan government for being too costly.

Abdul Hadi said that a 2010 study undertaken by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) researchers, involving 60,000 respondents including former trainers, parents, community leaders and others, revealed that each objective of PLKN had achieved more than 80 percent success rate.

Abdul Hadi said that in 2013, another study was conducted by Universiti Malaysia Perlis research experts. It involved 4,000 respondents in eight universities in the country to see the effectiveness of former PLKN trainees. The findings showed that from a maximum score of 10, the PLKN’s objective of Identity Development achieved a minimum score of 8.89, while Patriotism had a score of 8.68. This shows that PLKN was not a failure and not a waste.

“There is no denying that PLKN involves high expenses but the scope of training and the number of trainees can be restructured to suit the current capabilities of the government.

“However, stopping the PLKN directly for the purpose of saving government expenses can be considered a waste of logistics and infrastructure expenses that have been spent so far either by the government or the private sector,” he added. – Bernama