PUTRAJAYA, April 19 – Trainees at the National Service Training Programme (PLKN) will follow a technical and vocational skills programme to prepare them for the job market, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. He said the inclusion which was made during the PLKN Transformation Laboratory which ended on March 27, would give added value to the basic modules such as patriotism and unity where the private sector was involved.
“(The proposal for) including technical and vocational skills into the PLKN transformation was presented to the Cabinet last week and I had asked that it be included in the 11th Malaysia Plan. “We will work out soon on how the private sector will be involved in the transformation,” he said at a press conference after attending the PLKN Transformation Open Day here Sunday.
Hishammuddin said the involvement of the private sector would mean that the certificates given out would have more value, and the private sector would not simply reject job applications from ex-trainees trained by the PLKN. He also expressed confidence the new PLKN session could begin early next year after the ministry had presented the laboratory report and input from the open day to the Cabinet when the process of getting feedback from all concerned ended next week.
When tabling Budget 2015 in October last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the PLKN, which produced more than 800,000 trainees since it was introduced on Feb 16, 2004, would be reviewed and a new concept introduced to include skills and nation-building needs.
Najib, in his special message on Current Developments and National Financial Status in January also announced the PLKN would be postponed this year to save RM400 million and allow a review and upgrade of the programme. In a separate development, Hishammuddin said the government hoped the remainder of Malaysian students or citizens who were in Yemen would return here soon as the condition in those turbulent areas was very worrying.
He said although the government had no right to force them to return as they had gone through private means, the ministry had taken precautionary measures by sending the Hercules C130 Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft to Djibouti, in case the students wanted to return to Malaysia.
“Although they may feel that the situation in places they are studying in Hadramaut, Hudoidah and Sana’a is not as critical as Aden, it (the situation) can change any time,” he said, adding there were less than 150 students in the three territories. According to Wisma Putra, a total of 496 Malaysian students, including those in Aden had been moved from several territories in Yemen like Sana’a, Hodaidah and Hadramawt since April 7, following the worsening civil war in the country.