Posted: 18 Jun 2014, 0830 hours (GMT +8)
Response to TODAY’s Forum Letter on “Why did panel decide not to raise NS allowance?”
NS a duty, not a job – thus no ‘salary’
We thank Mr Richmond Lee for his letter, “Why did panel decide not to raise NS allowance?” dated 12 June 2014.
The National Service (NS) allowance is meant to support our full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) for their basic personal upkeep, which takes into account the accommodation, food and uniforms that the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force, and Singapore Civil Defence Force provide for them. In addition, the NS allowance also recognises National Servicemen with heavier responsibilities, such as those in command positions. The allowance and rank pay of National Servicemen should not be computed as salaries, as NS is a duty and not a job.
Over the years, we have recognised our National Servicemen’s contributions in other ways such as through the NSman Tax Relief, the NS Bonus, additional allotments of the GST Offset Credit and Growth Dividends, as well as the NS45 SAFRA and HomeTeamNS Benefits.
Recently, the Committee to Strengthen NS further recommended that the current NS Recognition Award (NSRA) be revamped and enhanced into the NS Housing, Medical and Education (HOME) Awards of between $15,000 and $16,500 to better support our National Servicemen in their housing, healthcare and education needs. The Committee has also recommended providing life and personal accident insurance coverage for our servicemen to cover incidents during their full-time NS and the period of their ORNS call-ups. These recommendations have since been accepted by the Government on 10 Jun 14.
Teo Eng Dih
MINDEF’s reply was published as “NS a duty, not a job – thus no ‘salary'”, TODAY, 18 Jun 14