October 11, 2023
KUALA LUMPUR – A revived National Service Training Programme will see Malaysian youth undergo basic army training for 45 days, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
The Defence Minister said this was among the proposals submitted by the special committee set up to look into reviving the programme that was first introduced more than a decade ago.
“This time around, we plan to do it in the army camps, as there are many Territorial Army (Wataniah) camps that are ideal for the programme,” he said when replying to a question raised by Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (PH-Ledang) in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
The programme was introduced in 2004 and randomly selected youth aged 18 for a compulsory three-month period of training.
It was halted in 2015 and reintroduced the following year, with participation to be made optional by 2019.
However, the programme was scrapped entirely in August 2018 (see timeline right).
In 2021, the previous administration agreed that the defence minister would set up a committee to study the possibility of reviving the programme with a new template.
Unlike the previous programme which was more akin to a “summer camp”, Mohamad said this revived programme would be geared towards providing our young people with actual army training.
Under the proposal, the army training would involve the second phase of the programme, particularly for those who had completed their SPM examination.
Under the first phase, he said that school uniform bodies would be taught to prepare youth for the second phase.
“Some 90% of the camps will be more army training, while 10% will be nation-building,” he said.
He said that there are currently 13 Territorial Army camps nationwide, which can handle some 20,000 young people annually.
Previously, running the national service training programme cost RM500mil a year, but this new proposal using the army camps would bring that down to RM100mil, said Mohamad.
He added that the committee’s working paper to revive the programme would be presented to the ministry before it is submitted to the National Security Council for approval.
However, there is no time frame for this procedure, as the minister has agreed to the suggestion that the matter be further scrutinised by the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for further input from various quarters.