What is PLKN Age Range and Duration?
The PLKN, or Program Latihan Khidmat Negara, which translates to National Service Training Programme, was a national service program in Malaysia. The age range of participants in the PLKN program between 16 to 35 years old. PLKN was mandatory when it was introduced in 2004, and it requires selected 18-year-old youths to undergo a three-month training program. Its objective is to foster unity and patriotism and promote friendship among different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
PLKN 3.0, or Program Latihan Khidmat Negara 3.0, is the latest iteration of Malaysia’s National Service Training Program. The duration of PLKN 3.0 was revamped to 45 days, with training modules that include physical training, nationhood, character building and community service. The training is conducted in military camps and police training centres and facilitated by military personnel as instructors.
What is the Meaning of PLKN?
PLKN stands for “Program Latihan Khidmat Negara” in Malay, which translates to National Service Training Program in English. It’s a program initiated by the Malaysian government to offer structured training to Malaysian youths. The program aims to foster unity among Malaysia’s multicultural population, instil patriotism, and promote positive character development among the participants. Over the years, the program has undergone several iterations, with the latest being PLKN 3.0, which was reintroduced in 2023 with a new framework and objectives.
History of PLKN
The Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN), or National Service Training Programme, was introduced in Malaysia as a means to promote unity, patriotism, and social cohesion among the youth. Here’s a brief history of PLKN:
The idea of a national service program was first mooted in 2001, and the PLKN was officially introduced by the Malaysian government in 2003, with the first batch of conscripts being called up in 2004.
In late December 2003, the names of 85,000 conscripts for the first National Service program were made public. These individuals were randomly selected from roughly 450,000 youths born in 1986 via a computerized process. Conscripts were informed of their participation by mail, or they could check their status on the program’s website or via SMS. The names and ID numbers of conscripts were also published in major newspaper.
The program was envisioned to be a two-year program but was later reduced to a one-year program, then six months, and eventually settled at a three-month program.
The program randomly selected 18-year-old youths to undergo a compulsory three-month training program that included physical training, nation-building modules, character-building, and community service.
PLKN involved the random selection of 18-year-old youths for a compulsory three-month program, which was halted in 2015. It was reintroduced the following year with participation intended to be made fully optional by 2019. Starting 2023, the program duration will only be 45 days.
The primary goal was to promote unity among Malaysia’s multiracial communities, foster a spirit of patriotism, and instill positive character traits among the youth.
Over the years, the program underwent various adjustments in terms of structure and content to better meet its objectives and address public concerns. In 2015, the program was temporarily halted due to budget constraints and criticisms.
In 2016, the program was reintroduced as PLKN 2.0 with some modifications, including making participation optional by 2019.
Abolition and PLKN 3.0
The program was again abolished in 2018 due to claims of racial indoctrination among other criticisms. It was later revamped and reintroduced as PLKN 3.0 in 2023. It introduces different training approach focusing on cost efficiency, better utilization of resources, and a renewed emphasis on instilling values of unity, integrity, and humanity among the youth.
The program had mixed reception over the years, with some praising its objectives of promoting unity and others criticizing it for its cost, effectiveness, and alleged racial indoctrination.
The primary objective of the PLKN (Program Latihan Khidmat Negara) and its latest iteration, PLKN 3.0, is to foster discipline, patriotism, and unity among Malaysian youth. The program is seen as a tool to bridge racial and cultural divides by promoting friendship and understanding among youths from different ethnic backgrounds. The revamped PLKN 3.0 specifically aims to equip youth with values of unity, integrity, and humanity, and to prepare them for future employment in government agencies, aligning them with a mindset to serve the nation effectively.
By organising PLKN 3.0 in military camps and police training centres, and employing military personnel as instructors, the government aims to cut annual spending from RM500 million to RM100 million, thus making the program more cost-effective while still benefiting participants.
PLKN Training Structure
The original PLKN was envisioned as a two-year program but was reduced over time to a three-month program due to resource constraints. The conscripts, selected at 18 years of age, underwent a three-month training program focusing on promoting unity among different ethnic groups and addressing racial polarization issues.
The new PLKN 3.0 is structured in phases, with the first phase integrated within the school curriculum for Form Four students to enhance existing uniformed body programs. The second phase takes place in military camps and police training centers, to experience in military training and nation-building initiatives.
- Phase 1: Targets Form 4 students, focusing on uniformed extracurricular activities like scouting, law enforcement, and firefighting, which are conducted in schools.
- Phase 2: For SPM graduates, the duration will be extended to 45 days with 90% dedicated to fundamental military training and 10% to nation-building endeavors. Training in this phase is conducted at 13 Territorial Army Camps (Wataniah) that can accommodate 4,000 trainess and the Police Training Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
PLKN Conscript Selection
The original PLKN conscripts were 18-year-old youths randomly selected from a national database. They were informed of their selection through mail, and lists of conscripts were published in major newspapers. Under PLKN 3.0, the selection process begins when youths are in Form Three and Form Four, as part of the integration of the program into the school curriculum.
What are the PLKN Age Range?
According to the National Service Training Act (NSA) 2003, the age range of participants in the PLKN program is specified to be between 16 to 35 years old.
PLKN Age 35
The inclusion of individuals up to the age of 35 in PLKN 3.0 has stirred discussions and brought about a range of reactions from the public. The extension of the age range to 35 has elicited reactions on social media, with concerns being raised regarding the practicality and implications of such a broad age range. Many found the idea of adults aged 25 and above being placed together with teenagers aged 16 in a camp amusing. Others were concerned about how this move would impact individuals who already have established commitments in their lives, such as employment or family.
The extension of the age range is seen as part of the two-phase approach of PLKN 3.0, to engage Malaysian youths and young adults in a comprehensive national service program. Despite the reactions, the age range of 16 to 35 for PLKN participants has always been stipulated in the National Service Training Act (NSA) 2003, and the Defense Ministry re-emphasized this in a written reply to a question in Parliament.
Specific Starting Year of Birth for PLKN 3.0 Trainees
If PLKN 3.0 is implemented in 2024, only teenagers born in 2007 will be eligible. If selected trainees cannot participate for valid reasons, they can apply for deferment.
Is PLKN 3.0 Only For Youth Born in 2007?
Yes, PLKN 3.0 is specifically designed for youths born in 2007 if implemented in 2024. The Defence Ministry clarified that trainees for PLKN 3.0 would be selected based on their birth year. If the program is implemented in 2024, only those born in 2007 will be chosen for training. The selection process is based on a specific year of birth at the start of PLKN 3.0, and this approach has been taken to manage the enrollment and training process effectively. If selected trainees cannot participate in national service training for valid reasons, they can apply for deferment, and the maximum age to be a trainee is up to 35.
Is PLKN Mandatory?
No, the implementation of PLKN 3.0 (Program Latihan Khidmat Negara 3.0) has shifted away from the mandatory conscription that characterized earlier versions of the program. It is now adopting a voluntary approach. This change is meant to foster more meaningful and productive training experiences. If the number of volunteer responses exceeds the quota of 25,000 trainees, then a selection can be made from those who have applied. This shift towards voluntary participation is further echoed in discussions suggesting that the revised PLKN 3.0 will likely be on a voluntary basis, although there hasn’t been an official confirmation regarding its mandatory or voluntary nature.
Youth sitting for their SPM exams, will not be selected for basic military training under PLKN 3.0, as per the Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan. Although the new PLKN focus at engaging youth between 16 and 35, those in Form Five will be exempted. This voluntary nature of participation in PLKN 3.0 is reiterated which mentions that there is no compulsion in the program. Always adhere to the law to avoid legal complications.
Should I Join PLKN If I Have a Job?
There are provisions within the National Service Training Act (NSA) 2003 to accommodate those selected for national service training who are working. If an employee is selected for national service training and must stay away from work, the employer is required to provide the employee with leave to complete the training, without any deductions from the employee’s salary, other compensation, or yearly leave.
Does PLKN Provides Allowance to Trainees?
Yes, the PLKN program does provide allowances to trainees. Initially, trainees were given a RM300 allowance by the government. Beginning in January 2008, this amount was raised to RM150 per month, totaling RM450 for the entire program. The allowance is provided in the form of a Sijil Simpanan Premium (Premium Savings Certificate) from Bank Simpanan Nasional or an account with Agro Bank Malaysia or Bank Pertanian Malaysia.
It’s important to note that the mentioned allowance rates are from past iterations of the PLKN program, and there might be changes in the allowance structure for PLKN 3.0.
PLKN Legal Aspects: Act, Penalties, Exemptions, Deferment
The Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN) or National Service Training Program in Malaysia operates under a legal framework that regulates its structure, operation, and implementation. Here are some legal aspects associated with PLKN:
PLKN operates under the National Service Training Act (NSA) 2003, which provides the legal foundation for the program. This Act outlines the objectives, structure, and operational mechanisms of the program, including the age range of participants, which is stipulated to be between 16 to 35 years old.
Conscript Selection and Deferment
The Act also governs the conscript selection process, specifying how individuals are to be selected for training. Under PLKN 3.0, trainees will be selected based on their birth year, but they are allowed to defer their participation if there are valid reasons for doing so.
Penalties and Exemptions
There are penalties outlined for deserters and draft dodgers, as well as exemptions for certain categories of individuals.
Deserters and dodgers were subject to a fine and/or jail term. Exemptions were granted under various categories, including physical disability, undergoing drug rehabilitation, and being a full-time member or trainee of certain national enforcement agencies.
Exemption for Form 5 Students
Youths sitting for SPM exams will not be selected for basic military training under PLKN 3.0. Although the new PLKN will target youth between the ages of 16 and 35, those in Form Five will be exempted from the training.
Employers are required to provide leave to employees selected for national service training without any deductions from the employee’s salary, other compensation, or yearly leave.
The program is managed by the National Service Training Department under the purview of the Minister of Defence Malaysia, ensuring a structured operational mechanism and oversight.
PLKN 3.0 utilises existing military and police training facilities for its implementation. It aligns with legal provisions that allow for such utilisation to maximise resource efficiency.
Approval and Review Processes
The implementation and any revisions to the program, such as the reintroduction of PLKN 3.0, typically go through a process of review and approval by relevant authorities. It includes the National Security Council.
PLKN Operational Mechanism
The operational mechanism of the Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN) or National Service Training Programme involves various components to ensure its effective implementation, management, and alignment with its stated objectives. Here are some of the key aspects of the operational mechanism of PLKN, particularly the latest iteration, PLKN 3.0:
Management and Oversight
The program is managed by the National Service Training Department under the purview of the Minister of Defence. This structure ensures a centralized oversight and coordination of the program’s implementation across various regions in Malaysia.
PLKN 3.0 utilizes existing military camps and police training centers for its training sessions. This is a cost-effective approach that also ensures a structured and disciplined training environment for participants.
Military personnel are employed as instructors for PLKN 3.0, ensuring a high level of discipline and adherence to the training regimen.
The selection process for conscripts is regulated, with youths and young adults between the ages of 16 and 35 being eligible for selection. The process begins when youths are in Form Three and Form Four, and if the program is implemented in a particular year, only teenagers born in a specified year are eligible. For example, if PLKN 3.0 is implemented in 2024, only teenagers born in 2007 will be eligible.
PLKN 3.0 is structured in phases, with the first phase integrated within the school curriculum for Form Four students. This phase enhances existing uniformed body programs like scouting, cadet corps, and firefighting. The second phase, which lasts 45 days, is conducted in military camps and police training centers, focusing on fundamental military training and nation-building initiatives.
Legal Provisions for Employment Protection
There are provisions within the National Service Training Act (NSA) 2003 to accommodate those selected for national service training who are employed. Employers are required to provide leave to employees selected for training, without any deductions from the employee’s salary, other compensation, or yearly leave.
Review and Approval Processes
The implementation and any revisions to the program, such as the reintroduction of PLKN 3.0, typically go through a process of review and approval by relevant authorities, including the National Security Council.
Efforts are made to manage the costs of PLKN 3.0 by reducing annual government spending on the program through measures like utilizing existing facilities and military personnel for training.
PLKN Online System
The system to check the status and placement of trainees for PLKN 3.0 has yet to be opened. Any further details regarding this matter will be updated as soon as the government releases more detailed information.
In previous iterations of the program, conscripts were informed of their participation by mail, or they could check their status on the program’s website or via SMS. The names and ID numbers of conscripts were also published in major newspapers. However, it’s not clear whether the same mechanisms will be used for PLKN 3.0.
For the most accurate and updated information, keep an eye on official government announcements or contact relevant government departments.