Committee finalising NS support proposals

Committee finalising NS support proposals
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen chairing the committee which met yesterday to review suggestions from about 22,000 people on ways to increase support for national service.

A High-level panel is putting the final touches to its proposals to increase support for national service (NS), including plans to set up a military volunteer corps and hiring more regulars to train citizen soldiers.

The Committee to Strengthen National Service met yesterday to review suggestions from about 22,000 people who took part in 35 focus group discussions over the past eight months.

Led by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, the committee members discussed and finalised the ideas, which will be submitted to the Government as early as next month.

Besides the likely formation of the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps to let women and first-generation permanent residents do their part for defence, the committee also looked at beefing up NS training by hiring more career soldiers as trainers.

The meeting, the fifth since the committee was set up in May, also discussed the possibility of shortening the interval between the end of their studies and the start of NS.

The Defence Ministry said yesterday the panel agreed that any changes to the NS training system "must not compromise the operational readiness" of the SAF, police and civil defence force.

The committee also discussed measures to streamline and make NS administration more efficient. This is to let operationally-ready national servicemen (NSmen) perform their duties more effectively, said the ministry.

These include upgrading the NS portal and ways to better plan training for NSmen who missed their call-ups.

There are also plans to offer better health-care support for the men and expand an advisory body to get better feedback from the wider community, including employers and families.

jermync@sph.com.sg


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