Malaysiakini News

Defense Minister: National Service to undergo review

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The Defense Ministry has announced that the National Service (NS) Programme is next on its list to undergo a full review.

Its minister Mohamad Sabu today said his ministry aimed to evaluate the curriculum, to better focus on the young.

According to Channel NewsAsia, Mohamad Sabu, or Mat Sabu as he is more fondly referred to, stated that a review of the entire programme would be raised in the cabinet.

"Maybe we will change our curriculum...we want young people to attend, we want all races.

"It's very important because we want to keep the young generation involved nationally, (so) they love this country. They have to have very high civic behaviour so maybe through national service, we can introduce that," he was quoted saying.

He reportedly stated the new curriculum would focus less on military training, but on democracy, saying: "If the system is not good, they (recruits) must have the ability to change through democratic means."

Meanwhile, according to the Free Malaysia Today, Mat Sabu said the government was hoping for more Chinese, Indian, and Sabah and Sarawak native participation, as he acknowledged the programme mostly involved Malays.

He added, too, that the ministry would look to Japan for ideas on instilling discipline and patriotism in citizens.

Conceived in 2003, the NS was initially made mandatory for teenagers aged 18 in randomly selected batches.

However, it courted a number of controversies including the nature of the training as well as the deaths of several recruits.

It was converted into a volunteer programme in 2017 under the revamped National Service Training Programme (PLKN 2.0).

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