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IPPT may be made simpler, says Dr Ng Eng Hen

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the yearly fitness test may include fewer test stations, and more details will be announced in the next few months.

SINGAPORE: The yearly Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) may be made simpler, with having fewer stations, as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) moves towards being more flexible and listening to feedback from National Servicemen, according to Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

Dr Ng, speaking to the media ahead of SAF Day on July 1, said Singapore is moving away from taking a strictly dogmatic approach by listening and responding to feedback by NSmen, such as on issues concerning IPPT. While the gold standards for IPPT will not change, the overall fitness test may be made simpler, he said.

"IPPT is not a be-all and end-all of fitness. It is a measure of fitness. So if we treat it that way, can there be simpler tests? Do other militaries use less stations? And as we look deeper into it, other militaries do use less. We are among the few militaries that use five (stations). Others use three, some more. But a majority of militaries actually use simpler tests," Dr Ng said.

More details will be announced in the next few months, he added.

The IPPT was launched in 1979 and taken by about 116,000 SAF personnel annually. The test format, unchanged since 1982, requires servicemen to go through the five stations of sit-ups, standing broad jumps, pull ups, a 4x10 metre shuttle run and 2.4-kilometre run.

HOME AWARDS DISBURSEMENT FROM SEPTEMBER

Dr Ng also gave some updates on the recommendations made by the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS), which were accepted by the Government earlier in June.

In terms of the NS HOME (Housing, Medical and Education) Awards, the minister said disbursement of the incentives will begin from September. Eligible NSmen will receive a total of S$15,000 in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts across three milestone moments - when one completes full-time NS; at the mid-point of the Operationally-Ready NS Training Cycle; and upon completion of his NS obligations.

NSmen going overseas for less than two weeks will no longer need to notify the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) from July. Only those travelling for between two weeks and six months will need to do so.

Dr Ng said: "People know that they are NSmen and, with new technology, we are able to contact people if we need to. So if you can meet those goals, do you still need that notification for short trips? And as we evaluated, we said no, so we moved. We don't think it's getting soft. It's getting practical."

He added that NSmen must still apply for an exit permit if they are travelling and remaining overseas for six months or longer in a single trip.

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