About 350 default on National Service obligations each year: Ng Eng Hen

About 350 default on National Service obligations each year: Ng Eng Hen

Soldiers BMT basic military training saf Singapore
Soldiers on a route march in Singapore. (Photo: Facebook/Basic Military Training Centre)

SINGAPORE: Over the past 10 years, there has been an average of about 350 National Service (NS) defaulters each year, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in a written parliamentary reply on Monday (Sep 10). 

These defaulters either failed to register or enlist for NS, or failed to return after their exit permit expired.

Dr Ng was responding to questions by Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng on the number of NS defaulters, how many have been charged or pardoned, and the criteria for providing clemency, if any.

Among those who defaulted, about one-third have been arrested or have come forward to address their offences, Dr Ng said.

He added that efforts to contact NS defaulters include sending registered mail to their last known place of residence, including their overseas address. 

Authorities also make house visits to their local addresses and contact tracing is done through the educational institutions that they attended.

"The enforcement and punishment of NS defaulters is governed by the Enlistment Act and judicial processes. MINDEF (Ministry of Defence) works with the police to arrest these defaulters. Those who are charged have their punishments meted out by the courts in accordance with the Enlistment Act," Dr Ng added.

There has been greater public attention on the issue since it was reported last month that the author of Crazy Rich Asians Kevin Kwan had failed to register for NS in 1990 and is wanted for defaulting on his NS obligations.

Source: CNA/hm/(gs)