|Jabatan Latihan Khidmat Negara|
|Formed||30 October 2002|
|Dissolved||13 August 2018|
|Jurisdiction||Government of Malaysia|
|Headquarters||Bangunan Zetro, 2-5, Jalan 9/27c, Wangsa Maju, 53300 Kuala Lumpur.|
|Deputy Minister responsible|
|Parent department||Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)|
|Royal Malaysian Navy|
|Royal Malaysian Air Force|
|Military history of Malaysia|
|Awards & decorations|
|Special Operations Force|
The National Service Training Programme, or Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN), known locally as the Khidmat Negara ("National Service") was Malaysia's national service program under the Barisan Nasional (BN) government. The programme was handled by the National Service Training Department, or Jabatan Latihan Khidmat Negara (JLKN) under the Minister of Defence (MINDEF). The conscripts are 18-year-old youths that are selectively drafted. The three-month program, which started in December 2003, began as way to encourage friendship between youths of certain ages from different races and ethnic groups and address concerns that the country's multi-ethnic and multi-cultural groups who were seen of "becoming increasingly isolated from one another".
The program was halted for one year in 2015 due to the federal government's efforts to cut spending. The program was reintroduced as PLKN 2.0 in 2016, with participation to be made fully optional by 2019.
On 13 August 2018, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman of the new federal government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) announced that the PLKN and National Civics Bureau (BTN) programmes were abolished.
The national service program, first proposed in late 2002, came to committee[which?] the following year, and was finally implemented in 2004. Initial proposals envisaged drafting all youths of a certain age, but later lack of resources led to restricting the numbers of the intake. The program, planned around a two-year program, was later reduced[by whom?] to a year, then to six months, and then to its present three-month length.
Conscription has long been a sensitive political issue in Malaysia because of the ethnic divisions of the country. Proponents of National Service promoted bonding the youth of Malaysia together and creating a Malaysian nation, as the problem of racial polarisation was found[by whom?] to pervade educational institutions in Malaysia.
In late December 2003, the names of 85,000 conscripts for the first National Service program was made public. The government announced that these youths were randomly selected out of the roughly 450,000 youths born in 1986, through a computerised process. Conscripts are 18 years of age and picked from a national database that includes all citizens registered with a Malaysian ID card, whether born locally or overseas. Conscripts were informed of their participation in the program by mail at the address listed on their identification card. They are also able to check their status on the program's website, or by SMS. Lists of conscripts names and ID numbers are also published in major newspapers.
Deserters and draft dodgers are subject to punishment of a fine of up to but not exceeding RM 3000, and/or up to six months of jail. Deferrals to a later date are allowed. Exclusion from the program requires that the conscript fall under one of the following ten categories:
Non selected civilians are also allowed to volunteer to enter the program after filling out certain forms in camps. During the first year pilot of the program, three teens from the north, Lee Poa Ting, Nyiau Kean Wei, and Goh Liang Kia expressed disappointment for not being drafted, gaining widespread attention and becoming national news. Since then, a voluntary option to participate was implemented.
The program has its own theme song and logo. Conscripts are issued two pairs each of three different types of uniforms: a class uniform, a sports uniform, and a combat uniform. The combat uniform's design is of blue camouflage stripes, made out of light blue, dark blue, white, and black. The general color scheme for the class and sports uniforms is blue, and black. Criticisms[by whom?] against trainees' uniforms are apparent as blue clothes are easily spotted in jungles and verdant vegetation areas except the sky and water.
Conscripts exhibiting promising leadership capabilities are promoted to rank-holders during the early course of the training. These rank-holders are entrusted with military officer-like responsibilities and authorisations throughout the remaining course of the training. The ranking system however differs slightly among camps throughout the country according to each camp commandant.
Among the ranks available are:
Other ranks (varies from camp to camp, not all camps have the following officers):
The program is split into four modules:
In the 2004 program, conscripts (referred to as "trainees" or "Wira" for boys and "Wirawati" for girls) spent 2 months in physical training camp, followed by a final month in a university setting. The program consisted of three separate, overlapping batches. The first batch of 24,000 began in mid-February and ended in the beginning of May, while the second and third batches began in March and ended in June. Trainees were divided among 79 training camps scattered all over the country. Each camp was supposed to contain a good mix of youth from different ethnic groups and locations.
Trainees were initially given a RM300 allowance by the government. Beginning in January 2008, this amount was raised to RM150/month, or RM450 total. Trainee allowances come in the form of a Sijil Simpanan Premium (Premium Savings Certificate) from Bank Simpanan Nasional, or an account with Agro Bank Malaysia. The accounts with Agro Bank Malaysia have been criticised for taking out RM 20 from each account, for processing and ATM card fees.[by whom?]
According to then-Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, RM2.37bil has been spent to finance the National Service program since it was introduced in 2004. RM608.6mil was spent in 2004, RM604.8mil in 2005, RM588.2mil in 2006 and RM565mil in 2007. Then-former Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said earlier that the programme would not exceed RM500mil a year.
|Total (as of 2008)||RM2.37 bil|
Initially, the program involved a two-month placement in a rural outdoor camp, followed by one month in an urban setting (a university, or sport facility). Following university complaints of vandalism, the urban setting placement was discontinued after the 2004 program. The canvas tents in the outdoor camps that housed 10 trainees each were replaced with concrete dormitories that housed 20 trainees each. Trainees are now housed at only one location throughout the duration of the program.
|Johor||Mersing||Pusat Bina Semangat YPJ|
|Mersing||Kem Rekreasi Pertanian Teluk Sari|
|Desaru||Kem Desaru Gerak Khas|
|Batu Pahat||Semberong Camp|
|Kluang||Kem PLKN Pth Padang Hijau|
|Tangkak||PLKN Kem Sri Ledang|
|Kedah||Langkawi||Beringin Beach Resort Camp|
|Sik||Rimba Taqwa Camp|
|Kuala Nerang||Dusun Resort Camp|
|Kulim||PLKN Bukit Besar Camp|
|Merbok||Damai Park Resort Camp|
|Sintok||PLKN Universiti Utara Malaysia Sintok Camp|
|Baling||Kem Rekreasi Belia|
|Langkawi||Kem Lagenda Seri Negeri|
|Kubang Pasu||Sri Kandi Camp|
|Kubang Pasu||Gardenia Camp|
|Kubang Pasu||D' Jelapang Camp|
|Kelantan||Pasir Puteh||Kisana Beach Resort Camp|
|Gua Musang||Etnobotani Training Camp|
|Pasir Mas||Cancun Park Camp|
|Kuala Krai||Batu Jong Training Camp|
|Melaka||Masjid Tanah||Warisan Camp|
|Ayer Keroh||Ayer Keroh Recreational Park Camp|
|Pekan Asahan, Jasin||Kem Lagenda Gunung Ledang, Asahan|
|Alor Gajah||Kem PLKN Putra-Putri|
|Negeri Sembilan||Jempol||De Bana Camp|
|Rembau||Ulu Pari Camp|
|Port Dickson||PDS Resort Camp|
|Kuala Pilah||Karisma Camp|
|Mantin||Seri Perkasa Camp|
|Tanjung Tuan||Rachado Bay Camp|
|Pahang||Raub||Benum Hill Resort Camp|
|Bandar Muadzam Shah||Pinggiran Pelangi Camp|
|Kuala Rompin||Summerset Resort Camp|
|Lake Chini||Lake Chini Resort Camp|
|Gambang||Gambang Camp (Agro Resort Sungai Semuji)|
|Cherating||Kem Cahaya Gemilang|
|Maran||Indera Pahlawan Camp|
|Penang||Sungai Bakap||Sri Impian Camp|
|Balik Pulau||Kem PLKN White Resort|
|Balik Pulau||Kem PLKN Sri Mutiara|
|Bukit Mertajam||Syruz Camp|
|Perak||Manjung||Kem Akademi Kepimpinan Segari|
|Ayer Tawar||PLKN Kem Kg Baharu (De Air' Resort)|
|Sungai Siput||Terkok Camp|
|Lumut||Teluk Rubiah Camp|
|Gopeng||Kem Taman Kepimpinan Gemilang|
|Sungkai||Kem Sinaran Suria|
|Selama||Tegas Mesra Camp|
|Gunung Semanggol||Jiwa Murni Camp|
|Perlis||Wang Kelian||Tasik Meranti Camp|
|Padang Besar||Guar Chenderai Camp|
|Sabah||Sandakan||Bagai Budi Resort Camp|
|Tuaran||KK Dibawah Bayu Camp|
|Papar||Ovai Wawasan Camp|
|Tawau||San Shui Camp|
|Kota Belud||Sinar Jaya Camp|
|Sarawak||Betong||Bukit Saban Resort Camp|
|Miri||Miri Camp, Batang Rait|
|Sibu||Junaco Park Camp|
|Sematan||Putra Sentosa Camp|
|Bau||Puncak Permai Camp|
|Selangor||Kuala Langat||Paya Indah Camp|
|Kuala Kubu Bharu||Kem Bina Semangat, Kem Pelangi Hill Resort|
|Rawang||Temasya Rimba Templer, Templer Park|
|Sepang||PLKN Princess Haliza Camp|
|Banting||Jugra Banting Camp|
|Behrang||Geo Cosmo Camp|
|Semenyih||PLKN Setia Ikhlas Camp|
|Terengganu||Setiu||Merang Suria Holiday Camp|
|Setiu||Kem Peladang Setiu Agro Resort|
|Kemaman||Cheneh Cemerlang Training Camp|
|Kerteh||Bakau Resort Camp|
The program is staggered into several batches (kumpulan) over the year. Collectively, all batches in a year are known as a series. Batches are known as "Batch X, Series Y". For example, the pilot batch in the pilot series would be referred to as Batch 1 Series 1, while the second batch in the fifth year (2008) series would be Batch 2 Series 5.
In the 2007 program, 100,000 people will be selected out of the country's youths born in 1989. They will be placed in 79 training camps, in three different batches. Each batch will undergo three months of training. However, the 2007 batches will not overlap, as with the previous year's. Instead, the three batches will span a total of nine months. Training of the first batch started on 1 January 2007 and will end at 11 March 2007. There were delays for trainees from the East Coast due to severe flooding in the region.
Including 2008, a total of 339,186 youths have been assigned to National Service since beginning in 2004. The program is run by Jabatan Latihan Khidmat Negara (JLKN) or National Service Department, a department under the Malaysian Ministry of Defence.
Despite progress towards ethnic harmony made in Malaysia in recent times it is clear that there are still problems. Outside the Human Rights Charter Contraventions, other problems are also as follows :
After the 2004 pilot batch completed its National Service, the youth wing of the Malaysian Chinese Association, Malaysia's largest ethnic Chinese party), on behalf of themselves and 8 other Chinese-based youth organisations, issued a memorandum to the National Service Training Council calling for more non-Malay trainers. They also criticised the lack of counsellors, imbalanced diet for the participants, poor communication among the various secretariats and no code of conduct for camp commandants or directors, trainers, facilitators and supervisors.
Other main controversy issues of Malaysian National Service include the selection system where the government computer database system picks up the trainees randomly without even knowing about their social status. Some cases include poor teenagers who need to work for their living and young mothers with newborn babies who were selected for the program, which are considered as inhumane. However, selected trainees with extraneous circumstances can send a letter of appeal to be exempted from the training, which will usually be approved.
In 2005, concerns were raised in Parliament that youth were being taught to use firearms, namely M16 rifles, in National Service. Then Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak, stated that this was merely a pilot project. However, a Democratic Action Party Member of Parliament (MP) claimed that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Unity and National Service had not been informed of the project. The firearms module is now a module of the program.
Trainees are required to submit a health status declaration form but are not required to seek qualified medical opinion in completing this declaration (unlike, for example, United States Space Camp which requires qualified medical certification of health status). Trainees are required to complete a medical checkup before entering the program, which is provided for free at major government clinics. This medical checkup, however, is not reinforced.
When pressured by more calls to suspend the program because of a 16th death, Najib responded that it was not feasible to stop the program since "many parties are involved".
In August 2018, The Honourable Sir (Yang Berhormat Tuan) Syed Saddiq, the Youth and Sports Minister of Malaysia announced that the National Service Training Programme will be abolished with immediate effect following a series of discussion in the cabinet meetings. The decision was made in view of PLKN and BTN been misused by certain parties for misguided indoctrination. He also announced plans to draft a replacement programme that would focus on shaping visionary youths, which will also be in line with the Federal Constitution and Rukun Negara.