A Strong NS Training System
More Opportunities for National Servicemen to Contribute
The SAF Volunteer Corps
Recognition and Benefits for National Servicemen
Expand Community Support for National Servicemen
A Positive NS Experience: Easing Administrative Restrictions
The debate on the President's Address moved to the theme of "Safe and Secure Singapore" on 29 May and Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen shared on the recommendations put forth by the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) and the warm reception they have received.
"Overall, the response has been positive and the Committee is thankful for this. Some have said that we struck the right tone, by capturing the wide range of sentiments and ideas from the focus group participants.
"Indeed, we reproduced some of their direct feedback in our report because we wanted to capture the essence of what they said and their main points. The Committee was careful not only to recommend actions that were easy to implement," said Dr Ng.
Some of the Members of Parliament who welcomed the recommendations earlier in the week included MP for Sembawang GRC Ellen Lee, who said: "The proposed changes show more than due consideration towards Singaporeans who defend us and our homes.
"They are proof that the nation places great priority on furthering options that will increase their well-being as well as their family's well-being which in turn strengthens their sense of belonging to our nation." Ms Lee is a member of the CSNS working group which looks into recognition and benefits for NS. The other working group looks into boosting support for NS.
MP for Potong Pasir GRC Sitoh Yih Pin, the newly appointed Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs also voiced his support earlier this week: "The CSNS... is making some very far-reaching proposals that will strengthen Singaporeans' support for NS.
"I am glad that the Government is not content with what it has achieved and continues to strive to make NS even more relevant and to secure more support and buy-in from not just Singaporeans, but... (also) employers and companies that hire Singaporeans."
If accepted by the Government, the CSNS recommendations will bring about substantial recognition to national servicemen, and more importantly, boost Singapore's defence. The recommendations will cost about $4.5 billion over the next decade to implement.
One of the recommendations called for 90 percent of all future NS cohorts to be enlisted within four months of leaving school. The remaining will be enlisted within six months.
This is a significant commitment from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), said Dr Ng in Parliament on 29 May. "Such recommendations have a huge administrative impact."
He noted: "If accepted by the Government, this could be implemented as early as the middle of next year." Every year, the SAF typically calls up NS-liable males in June and September. These will be brought forward to May and August, respectively.
The recommendations also included a call for the SAF to better match the skills of enlistees to their eventual vocations. "For the first time, we will ask NSFs (Full-time National Servicemen) to indicate their preferred vocation," said Dr Ng.
"This is another headache which my commanders are grappling with. Similarly for the SPF (Singapore Police Force) and SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force)," he said.
But Dr Ng cautioned: "Any time we give choice to everyone, not all will get their first or even second choice."
He elaborated: "The Committee deliberated this, said even though some, not all, will get their first and second choice... this should not deter us. Because giving choice will better match aptitudes to vocations and allow people who want to contribute in areas that they think they have strength in to do so."
Speaking for the continued importance of NS in Singapore's fabric, Dr Ng said: "Singapore remains one of very few countries able to sustain an NS system... Others have dismantled their NS systems, not because threats disappeared but because public support waned.
"NS support (in Singapore) has been built on the service of 900,000 national servicemen who have discharged their NS duties. Everyone faithfully, dutifully, did his duties."
Dr Ng also paid tribute to all NSmen. "Here we want to place on record the appreciation of this House for all the national servicemen who have served, and recognition of their contributions."
Yup very minor changes nia, like no change almost.
btw I read 2 years to clear IPPT, does this mean I only need to serve once RT (20 RT sessions) for 2 years? This part they never mention.