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Heng Chee How rejects WP MP’s call to review NSFs allowance approach

In Parliament, SMS for Defence Heng Chee How rejected WP MP Gerald Giam’s proposal to review NSFs allowance. Mr Giam suggests NS salary with CPF contributions, proposing a median of S$1600 monthly.



SINGAPORE: During the Parliamentary session on Thursday (29 February), Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Defence Heng Chee How rejected a suggestion presented by Workers’ Party Member of Parliament Gerald Giam.

Mr Giam called for a reevaluation of the existing approach of granting an allowance to National Service Full-time Servicemen (NSFs) for basic upkeep, given the escalating concerns regarding the increasing cost of living.

While Mr Giam advocating for the NS salary to attract Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions and proposing a median NS salary of at least S$1600 (approximately US$1,189) per month, SMS Heng responded by stating, “NS is a duty to the country, it’s not a form of employment.” He underscored the government’s ongoing commitment to supporting NSmen.

Calls for reevaluation of full-time NSFs allowance philosophy

During the Committee of Supply 2024 debate on MINDEF’s budget on Thursday, Mr Giam, WP MP for Aljunied GRC asserted that the current philosophy of giving full-time NSFs an allowance for basic upkeep needs to be reviewed.

This call is prompted by the significant increase in the costs of living and the opportunity costs associated with NS.

“As a first step, the terminology should be changed from NS allowance to NS salary and it should attract CPF contributions. ”

Furthermore, he suggested establishing a median NS salary pegged at a minimum of $1600 per month, aligning with the local qualifying salary.

“This still won’t be a market salary but it will go some way to compensate NSFs for the opportunity costs of two years of service and help them contribute a little to their household income. ”

Emphasizing that these proposed adjustments should not undermine the ethos of national service, Mr Giam reiterated his belief that fairly compensating NSFs does not diminish the intrinsic importance of fulfilling one’s national duty.

SMS Heng: NS “not a form of employment”

In response, SMS emphasized that NS “is a duty to the country, it’s not a form of employment.”

He highlighted that NSFs receive an allowance to support basic personal upkeep rather than a salary, and reiterated that regularly reviewed, with the most recent review taking place in July 2023.

He pointed out that the NSFs’ allowance has been reviewed four times in the last 10 years.

He assured that the government is committed to ensuring that the allowance supports the basic upkeep of NSF officers.

Highlighting the term “obligation” Mr Giam used and the term “honour and duty” PAP MP Wan Rizal used for NS, SMS Heng noted that the common understanding is the importance of every citizen defending the country for the present and future.

“Because for whom are we defending this country, for each and every Singaporean for now, and for the future.”

SMS Heng highlighted efforts to smooth the transition of NSFs from full-time national service to post-NSF life.

He mentioned recognition packages and ongoing allowances, as well as initiatives like the SkillsFuture at NS program and the Career Starter Lab program to enhance skills and support job training and mentorship.

SMS Heng provided an update on the SkillsFuture at NS initiatives, stating that about 21,000 NSFs have signed up for the program.

He also mentioned the Career Starter Lab program, which has the participation of around 100 companies across various industries.

Mr Giam advocating for fair compensation

Mr Giam later sought clarification from SMS Heng on whether the concept of national duty and employment are mutually exclusive.

He brought up the example of SAF regulars who are both employees and fulfil their national duty without compromising their sense of national duty.

“I do support NS, but I feel that NS pay should better reflect the realities of the opportunity costs that NS men have to incur,” Mr Giam asserted.

In response, SMS Heng clarified that when MINDEF enlists young male citizens in NS, it is not just a voluntary arrangement but a recognized obligation.

He said the government acknowledges that it will require their time for at least two years, during this period of fulfilling their duty, basic upkeep is provided to NSFs.

“That is why we recognize that in the fulfilment of their duty, we also provide for this basic upkeep. ”

He emphasized that the regular updates and enhancements to the NS allowance are a recognition of the need to support NSFs in meeting their duty to the country.

In 2023, MINDEF rejected Mr Giam’s proposal to peg NS allowances to inflation, but later announced increase 

In May of last year, MINDEF and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) jointly announced an increase in the monthly allowance for all national servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, and Singapore Civil Defence Force. The adjustment took effect from July onward.

The increase varied between S$125 and S$200, contingent on their rank and vocation. The ministries further clarified that this marked a percentage increment ranging from 10.9% to 21.7%.

In February 2023, MINDEF rejected Mr Giam’s proposal to peg NS allowances to inflation.

At the time, SMS Heng told Mr Giam: “The allowance takes into account that lodging, food, clothing and medical care are provided for by the Singapore Armed Forces and the Home Team, given that most NSF actually stay in camp, MINDEF regularly reviews and adjusts the allowances.”

As part of Budget 2024, a recognition of the contribution made by all former and current national servicemen, including reservists and those enlisting as full-time national servicemen (NSFs) in 2024, will be manifested in the form of S$200 in cash credits.

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Well said! Isn’t holding political office a form of national service as well for the benefit of the citizens? Isn’t that the way the original Lee Kuan Yew team that took over the vision of Singapore in 1965 begin? If any of the team members had focussed on personal gain, would we have had the likes of Toh Chin Chye, S. Rajaratnam, Ong Pang Boon, Ahmad Ibrahim, Goh Keng Swee & the like who had selfless ambitions to make Singapore what it is it today? No one should go into politics thinking of their personal successful progression in their lives.… Read more »

Maybe can ask Giam father to pay first?
Hong kan oppo, locals already no job ,snatched by FT and this fucktard Giam still think about paying NS more?
Have this fucktard heard the phrase…GOOD JOBS FOR FTs…..NS for Sinkie?😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣

Conscripts forced into becoming Fire Fighters should be paid a salary equivalent to professional Fire Fighters in the developed world.

Is it not embarrassing that Singapore is the only “developed” country that pays its fire fighters so little.

But of course, millionaire ministers are only interested in maintaining their own million dollar salaries. Perhaps they think the “S” in “NSF” stands for “slave”?

‘for whom are we defending’ exactly! surely not the true bred Singaporeans doing the functions, the rest of the imports and neutralize people are jerking out the sperms on Singaporeans faces! Wake up, or masturbate the reality that lives dirt cheap for the bred of Singaporeans cornuting as idiots.

So is being an Mp a form of national service or is it EMPLOYMENT?

When and if there’s anything, an outside chance, or a Powerball jackpot of 1$00 million, and I m 1st one to strike, when anything of opposition PAP approves and agree.

The Universal Gospel Truth, akin to Biblical apportions, and fact is, PAP Millionaire Scums Ministers ARE PAID, first and foremost TO DISAGREE WITH any Opposition Politicians. This IS their ONE and ONLY **KPI**

Fucking PAP answers always make me laugh…hilarious pile of shit!