KUALA LUMPUR, 5 NOV – Only 16-year-old teenagers born in the year 2007 would be selected to attend the new National Service Training Programme (PLKN 3.0) next year.
Although the programme is compulsory for those selected, those unable to attend on valid reasons can apply for a deferment until the maximum age of 35 years.
The Defence Ministry clarified this matter, putting to rest public confusion when the programme resumes, in accordance with the National Service Training Act, 2003.
“All 16-year-old trainees in the programme will be selected based on their birth year and can apply to defer to a later year, with valid reasons,” the ministry said in a statement.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan announced on October 9 that PLKN 3.0 would be implemented in three phases.
A total of 14 training centres had been identified for the 45-day programme at Army camps, including the Police Training Centre at Jalan Semarak, which can accommodate over 4,000 trainees.
PLKN, introduced in 2004, was abolished in 2018 and replaced with a youth leadership programme during the Pakatan Harapan federal government administration.
The defence ministry has clarified recent reports on the age limit for national service training programme (PLKN) trainees being up to 35.
In a statement, the ministry said trainees will be called up according to their year of birth, and that only teenagers will be enrolled when the programme commences again.
“For example, if (the revamped) PLKN is implemented in 2024, then only teens born in the year 2007 will be called up to participate in the programme.
“If trainees are not able to participate in the programme due to permitted reasons, they can request a deferment. (In such cases,) the maximum age to serve as a trainee is 35,” it said.
The age limit is not new as the National Service Training Act passed in 2003 had already stipulated that trainees are to be between the ages of 16 and 35.
Many Malaysians took to social media earlier this week to express their fear that anyone in their 30s could also be forced to join the programme if they were called up when the programme is officially revived.
Previously, defence minister Mohamad Hasan said the revamped national service programme could cost Putrajaya less than RM100 million a year, as opposed to RM500 million annually previously.
The programme had been criticised by various quarters in the past, and was abolished by the former Pakatan Harapan government in 2018. – airtimes.my
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