Review NS programme or scrap it, say ex-servicemen

Two members of the National Patriots Association say the National Service programme should be revisited in five years’ time after a proper study. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Two members of the National Patriots Association have called on the government to suspend the National Service Training Programme (PLKN) pending a review for improvements.

Lt-Col (Rtd) Mohamad Sani and Capt (Rtd) Dr Wong Ang Peng said the programme had not achieved its purpose and was a waste of resources.

Mohamad said the government should enhance the programme to benefit the country in every aspect.

However, if the programme needed to be reviewed, it must be done by experts, he added.

“Let’s learn from the best examples, Switzerland and Singapore, where their national service (NS) trainees are qualified enough to be front-liners.

“Their trainees can be called up to serve in the armed forces if their countries come under attack.

“But we have not reached that level yet. This has to change, otherwise we are just wasting our resources,” he told FMT.

Mohamad said Malaysia could reduce its regular armed forces if NS trainees were trained well enough to be called up for active duty when the need arose.

He said at least six months were needed to train NS trainees if Malaysia wished to build a strong army.

“Singapore, for instance, only has a 67,000-strong standing army which could be expanded to 400,000 personnel if they take in their qualified NS trainees. The resources spent on training are not wasted,” he said.

The PLKN Third Group Series 15/2018 has been postponed until further notice, according to an announcement by the National Service Training Department.

This is because the intake of trainees for the year has exceeded the target of 20,022 people, it said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Wong said the government should postpone the programme for the review or scrap it entirely.

“It must be improved, don’t simply give a contract to someone to supply the uniforms and meals.

“With the limited resources that we have now, it is better to scrap the programme.

“Let’s revisit it in five years’ time after we have studied it,” he said.

National service training programme 2.0 postponed