Sounding like a know-it-all (as I always do), I argued that there should be an option for women to serve National Service (NS). I said:
“What might appear to be a whimsical proposal should be taken seriously by MINDEF, since the offer would prove to be attractive to female Singaporeans – like Miss Heng – who might like to commit to a substantial period of time (for instance, six to twelve months) in service. More importantly, instead of disrupting the status quo, I believe there are only benefits associated with such an endeavour. Why deny them a chance to assume such responsibilities if they express their desire and willingness to” (here)?
I was wrong. Over the weekend, when I was writing about how the first independent survey on perceptions towards NS – about how it “revealed nothing new about the conscription policy” (here) – TODAY noted that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Act allows individuals to enlist as a volunteer. The relevant statute is the SAF Act (Chapter 295, Section 205). Here are some excerpts:
Eligibility for enlistment as volunteer
4.— (1) Every citizen or permanent resident of Singapore who is not less than 16 years and 6 months of age shall, subject to the provisions of these Regulations, be eligible for enlistment as a volunteer.
(2) No national serviceman, regular serviceman or operationally ready national serviceman shall be enlisted as a volunteer, except that an operationally ready national serviceman may be enlisted as a volunteer with the permission of the proper authority.
Volunteer service liability
9.— (1) Subject to regulation 10, volunteers shall be liable to serve for one but not both of the following sets of periods:
(a) for a period of 14 days and 8 hours per week during the first 6 months of service, and for a period of 7 days annually and 3 hours per week or 6 hours per fortnight or 12 hours per month after the first 6 months of service; or
(b) for periods not exceeding in the aggregate 40 days annually.
(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall preclude any volunteer from serving for a period or periods longer than the period or periods specified in paragraph (1)(a) or (b) if authorised by the proper authority.
There you go. The questions I’ve raised in the latest article still stand though: “How many volunteers are there in the SAF, and have any been turned away? What are their vocations? Why have they enlisted as volunteers? Would they encourage others to do the same”? But yes, this charlatan is wrong – once again.