MALAYSIAN SUSPENDS NATIONAL SERVICE TO SAVE $400 MILLION RINGGIT

Malaysian Prime Minister announced during his budget speech that the National Service programme will be stopped this year to save RM400 million in federal spending.

He also added that grants to GLCs, federal statutory bodies and government trust funds will be reduced, resulting in savings of about RM3.2 billion.

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Najib said in his telecast: “The National Service programme will be frozen in 2015, which will give us savings of RM400 million, so as to enable a review and improvement of the programme."

The National Service programme has had a a tumultous history since its introduction in 2003. In September 2013, 23 deaths at National Service camps nationwide have occurred so far, mainly caused by drowning or health problems, aside from rape cases and fights.

The opposition bloc proposed back in October 2013 a moratorium on the National Service programme in a bid to slash the budget deficit to 3 per cent of the gross domestic product by 2014.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted his “guarantee” to National Service stakeholders that the deferment of the government programme would not affect the positions of camp operators and trainers.

The government budget was revised today in light of drastically reduced earnings from oil and gas as Malaysia is an oil exporter.

Najib said the amended budget would be based on a projected crude oil price of US$55 (RM197.6) per barrel this year, compared to the US$100 per barrel used in the Budget 2015 announced last October.

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