'Special attention' given to NS men with special needs: Defence minister

'Special attention' given to NS men with special needs: Defence minister

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) approach for national servicemen with special needs takes into account the spectrum of functioning capabilities of each individual, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

Their safety, individually and of units in which they are deployed in, are of "paramount consideration", said Dr Ng on Monday in a response to a question from MP Lim Biow Chuan during Parliament.

Mr Lim had asked the minister whether National Service (NS) enlistees with special needs can be given special consideration in their NS vocation so that they will be able to integrate better to fulfil their NS obligations.

Dr Ng replied that individuals with special needs are assessed for their ability to be able to fulfil vocational roles based on their hearing, eyesight, mental and physical capacity.

Those able to serve are enlisted and deployed to vocations where they are able to perform their duties meaningfully and contribute to the security of the country, without posing a risk to themselves or others.

Dr Ng added: "Special attention is paid to these national servicemen with special needs to safeguard their well-being.

"Commanders are informed of servicemen who require additional supervision, so that they can accord them the appropriate level of management and care. Servicemen can approach their Commanders whenever they encounter difficulties."

There is also a 24-hour counselling hotline, which servicemen can call whenever they need help.

"The SAF will enable all those who can serve their NS meaningfully and safely to do so," said Dr Ng.

klim@sph.com.sg

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