by DASHVEENJIT KAUR / pic by BERNAMA
The government has abolished the National Service Training Programme (PLKN) and National Civics Bureau (BTN) effective immediately.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the decision was made during the Cabinet meeting held two weeks ago.
He said civil servants who are attached to both government initiatives would be absorbed into his ministry.
“This can reduce excess expenditure and avoid unnecessary indoctrination of certain beliefs among the youths,” he told reporters in a press conference at the Parliament yesterday.
Syed Saddiq revealed that 50% of the allocated budget for the programmes were used for the rental of campsites and transportation, and that some of the contracts were not done through an open tender.
“Most of the dealings were way above the market prices. Hence, there is a need to restructure both entities,” he added.
Syed Saddiq also stated that PLKN and BTN would be replaced with new programmes which would focus on shaping visionary youths with a proper indoctrination on leadership and patriotism.
“As for now, PLKN and BTN officers and assets will be placed under the jurisdiction of the Youth and Sports Ministry before new programmes are introduced.
“There will be an engagement with all stakeholders and we will be meeting with Khazanah Nasional Bhd to collaborate in halting these programmes for good,” he said.
Syed Saddiq said he will be discussing new programme modules with stakeholders to ensure that taxpayers’ money aren’t wasted unnecessarily on initiatives which are not beneficial.
Initiated in 2004, PLKN has trained over 885,956 18-yearsolds who underwent a threemonth training programme at over 100 camps nationwide.
The amount spent since the PLKN implementation has so far amounted to RM8.43 billion.
The programme was temporarily halted in 2015 due to the previous federal government’s efforts to reduce expenditures.
The project was reintroduced as PLKN 2.0 in 2016. It was also proposed to be optional for trainees in 2019.
BTN, on the other hand, was formed in 1974 as a coalition under the Prime Minister’s Department with an objective to nurture patriotism.
However, the new government terminated the controversial agency as it was known to spread political propaganda among the youth.
On 1Malaysia for Youth (iM4U), Syed Saddiq confirmed that it would also be restructured to ensure that proper implementation with the actual objective is done.
“iM4U had been misused for political purposes and we would like to entirely avoid that. We would like to instil voluntarism among young people through this initiative,” he said.
Syed Saddiq added that he would also focus on the removal of political appointees in PLKN and BTN.
“We will identify and differentiate between contract staff and those who are permanent, but there are no exact projections on who will be absorbed, and which political appointee will be removed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Land Public Transport Commission (Dissolution) Bill 2018 to dissolve the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) was also tabled for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat by Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
With the Land Public Transport (Amendment) Bill 2018, the functions, powers, rights, duties, liabilities and obligations of the commission will fall under the jurisdiction of the DG of the Road Transport Department (JPJ).
In an explanatory statement, the government seeks to repeal the Land Public Transport Commission Act 2010 (Act 715), consequential to the repeal of the SPAD Act 2010 (Act 714) and the dissolution of the commission.
Under the Land Public Transport (Amendment) Bill, the minister of transport will be given more power to make regulations on relevant matters.
It stated that the DG is responsible for the direction, command, control and supervision of all matters relating to land public transport under this Act.
All money standing in, or due to be paid to, will also be absorbed by the ministry.
The bill also stated that the minister may authorise any person to carry out the duty of the DG of the SPAD in respect of licensing matters.
This includes the licensing of terminals, operators of public service vehicle services, tourism vehicles, operators of goods vehicle services, operators of railway services and railways.
The DG can also deal with matters pertaining to payment, or charges. The amendment bill also seeks to revoke any policies or plans including the National Land Public Transport Master Plan made by SPAD.
According to Loke, the bill will be tabled for the second and third reading during the current sitting which ends on Aug 18, 2018.