SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) would like to explain the eligibility criteria for the National Service Recognition Award (NSRA), in response to queries from various letter writers ("Not called for in-camp training, so no NS award" by Mr Leslie Teo Chin Hin, Aug 21; "Penalised for insufficient high-key ICT sessions" by Mr Koh Kong Ghee, Monday; "Volunteered to continue NS but denied award" by Mr Christopher Sim Kwee Teck, Monday; "Redefine end of NS cycle" by Mr James Ong Ken Sern, Forum Online, Monday; and "Made up for missed ICT but still not eligible for award" by Mr Vincent Lim How Siang, Forum Online, Monday).
The NSRA is disbursed to Singaporean operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) to recognise their contributions when they have attained various milestones, namely:
The completion of full-time national service;
The mid-point of the operationally ready national service (ORNS) cycle; and
The completion of the ORNS training cycle, which typically consists of 10 ORNS years and seven high-key in-camp training (ICT) sessions.
The NSRA was implemented in 2010, and Mr Sim, Mr Ong and Mr Lim were not eligible for the award as they had completed their ORNS training cycles before the implementation date.
We seek the understanding of NSmen in this matter as the introduction of any new policy may not allow it to be effected retroactively. However, besides the NSRA, we do appreciate all NSmen in other ways.
Over the years, the Government has provided the National Service Bonus, additional allotments of the goods and services tax offset credits and Growth Dividends.
More recently, in conjunction with celebrating 45 years of NS, the NS45 Safra and HomeTeamNS Benefits scheme was launched to thank all national servicemen for their contributions to defence.
Mr Teo and Mr Koh did not receive the third milestone NSRA as they were not called up for the requisite number of ICTs before they reached the statutory age.
Mindef agrees it should provide opportunities to NSmen who would like to contribute their services through more ICTs beyond the statutory age, and we will explore ways to achieve this.
We thank the NSmen for their feedback and will continue to review our policies to recognise the contributions of our NSmen.
Teo Eng Dih
Ministry of Defence
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