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Mat Sabu Explains Why He Wants To Review The National Service Programme

The programme's budget and efficacy will be reevaluated.

Cover image via New Straits Times

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, popularly known as Mat Sabu, announced earlier today, 28 June, that the National Service (NS) programme will be reviewed to reduce its budget and reevaluate its effectiveness

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu

Image via Channel NewsAsia

Free Malaysia Today reported Mat Sabu as saying that the programme was "not a complete failure". 

According to Malay Mail, he claimed that NS could still be valuable with "the correct level of funding and suitable modules". 

"We will look at it seriously, especially the curriculum, as we want it to emphasise on the young generation and instil unity," he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.

Mat Sabu said it was his personal view that the programme should continue

According to him, the Malaysian youth expressed their patriotism by voting in the 14th General Election because they want a better future for the country.

"It's very important because we want to keep the young generation involved nationally (so) they love this country," Mat Sabu was quoted as saying by Channel NewsAsia.

"They have to have very high civic behaviour so maybe through national service we can introduce that," the Defence Minister added, before indicating that the ministry might refer to Japan for their methods of instilling discipline and patriotism in citizens.

An NS camp in Kuala Kubu Baru.

Image via Channel NewsAsia

Nonetheless, Mat Sabu stressed that the "indoctrination" will not be about military capabilities but rather on educating attendees about democracy, among other things.

"If the system is not good, they must have the ability to change through democratic means... they're the young and we must train them on this," he said.

Mat Sabu also expressed hope for citizens of all races to join the programme

According to Free Malaysia Today, he noted that the majority of NS programme attendees were Malays.

"We want the Chinese, Indians, and natives from Sabah and Sarawak to join in the programme," the Defence Minister added.

The NS programme was a brainchild of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad during his first tenure as the Prime Minister

Launched in 2003, the three-month military service programme drafts 18-year-old Malaysians to foster patriotism and unity among the multiracial communities of the country. 

It was halted in 2015 by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak to cut RM400 million from federal spending in the midst of declining oil prices globally. 

Last year, Malay Mail reported that the programme was revamped and no longer compulsory for 18-year-olds. 

What do you think about Mat Sabu's plans for the NS? Let us know in the comments below.

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