SINGAPORE: The death of actor and national serviceman (NSman) Aloysius Pang hit close to home for Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh, who is currently on reservist duty.
In a Facebook post on Thursday (Jan 24), Mr Singh said he has been back in camp since Monday.
“Like many Singaporeans, I have been both anxious and worried about one of our NSmen who suffered a training accident in New Zealand, particularly after his medical condition deteriorated,” he wrote.
“Having been in uniform for the last four days, the news of his death last night is more acute, with the loss of a fellow NSman hitting closer to home.”
Pang, 28, died on Wednesday from injuries he sustained during a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training exercise in New Zealand.
He had been carrying out repair work inside a howitzer - an artillery gun mounted on an armoured chassis – and was injured when the gun barrel was lowered, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said.
Mr Singh, an NSman who serves as a combat engineer and holds the rank of major, said National Service training has evolved to become more focused.
“The food quality has increased by leaps and bounds. We have become more conscious of safety and balancing it with realistic training. The quality of our personal equipment, uniforms etc. is better than before,” the WP secretary-general wrote.
However, one thing remains constant, he said. “That sense of camaraderie - regardless of rank, race or religion when we swap our civvies for uniform, even if it is only for a few weeks a year.
“Like all NSmen and NSF personnel who have passed on while on duty, we pray for strength for their families and loved ones through difficult times. And we stand with them.”
MINDEF said an independent Committee of Inquiry (COI) will be convened to investigate the circumstances leading to Pang’s accident.
Preliminary findings will be shared in a press conference chaired by the Chief of Defence Force on Thursday afternoon.