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Ministerial statement: Ng Eng Hen on liability and contributions of new citizens to National Service

07:35 Min

All young male Singaporeans, including new citizens, must do National Service (NS), said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 2). In a ministerial statement, he said recent assertions to the contrary by NCMP Leong Mun Wai were misleading and had to be corrected as they could weaken NS, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Home Team. In a previous sitting, Mr Leong had said “citizens by registration are not doing NS”, after Dr Ng spoke on the topic of deferment for NSmen to pursue sporting goals. He had also made similar claims on Facebook. Dr Ng said Singapore’s NS policy is a long-standing one that has also been well-publicised. Males who become citizens as mature adults, typically in their 30s or 40s, are not enlisted as they are not suitable for full-time NS at that age and did not previously enjoy any economic and social benefits in Singapore. Dr Ng noted that permanent residents and young male new citizens have formed an increasing proportion of NS enlistees - from about five per cent in the early 2000s to 20 per cent today. Without this, he said, Singapore’s smaller birth cohorts would have impacted the SAF’s manpower needs more acutely.

All young male Singaporeans, including new citizens, must do National Service (NS), said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 2). In a ministerial statement, he said recent assertions to the contrary by NCMP Leong Mun Wai were misleading and had to be corrected as they could weaken NS, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Home Team. In a previous sitting, Mr Leong had said “citizens by registration are not doing NS”, after Dr Ng spoke on the topic of deferment for NSmen to pursue sporting goals. He had also made similar claims on Facebook. Dr Ng said Singapore’s NS policy is a long-standing one that has also been well-publicised. Males who become citizens as mature adults, typically in their 30s or 40s, are not enlisted as they are not suitable for full-time NS at that age and did not previously enjoy any economic and social benefits in Singapore. Dr Ng noted that permanent residents and young male new citizens have formed an increasing proportion of NS enlistees - from about five per cent in the early 2000s to 20 per cent today. Without this, he said, Singapore’s smaller birth cohorts would have impacted the SAF’s manpower needs more acutely.

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