NSFs who get SAF aid may continue to get help after stint

NSFs who get SAF aid may continue to get help after stint
Members of Singapore Armed Forces during the march pass at the SAF Day Parade held at SAFTI Military Institute on 1 July 2013.

Less well-off full-time national servicemen (NSFs) who receive financial aid from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) may continue to get help even after they complete their full-time stint.

Under a proposal to the Government by a feedback body on defence matters, these men will not have to reapply for financial help after their stints.

Instead, they will be automatically referred to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, which will likely pick up the tab to help them. This is one of the 18 proposals submitted by the Advisory Council for Community Relations in Defence (Accord), a panel formed in 1984 to help shape the efforts of the Ministry of Defence in getting the buy-in for defence and NS.

Other proposals include partnering women's groups to hold sharing sessions to improve awareness and understanding of defence issues among women; notifying employers and firms earlier when their staff are called up for in-camp training; and grooming ambassadors to promote the SAF Volunteer Corps.

The latest raft of proposals comes six months after Accord was restructured into three separate councils to strengthen the broader community's support for defence and NS. Accord member Claire Chiang, who sits on the Family and Community Council, said the panel wanted to address the "life-cycle needs" of less well-off NSmen.

Ms Chiang, a senior vice-president at Banyan Tree Holdings and a former Nominated MP, said it will take about two to three years for all the proposals to bear fruit, especially in changing the mindsets of women and new citizens towards defence and NS.

"In the last decade, we never thought that women were a significant player...we have missed the other half of the population. (Now) we are correcting (it), and are harnessing new opportunities for outreach," she added.

This article was first published on Feb 26, 2015.
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