Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng's older son drops appeal against sentence for evading national service

Jonathan Tan Huai En was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in February for defaulting on his national service (NS) obligations for more than a decade.
Jonathan Tan Huai En was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in February for defaulting on his national service (NS) obligations for more than a decade.ST FILE: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 28-year-old man, who was sentenced to 16 weeks' jail in February for defaulting on his national service (NS) obligations for more than a decade, withdrew his appeal against his sentence on Wednesday (Sept 20).

Jonathan Tan Huai En, the older son of Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, was allowed to start serving his jail term on Oct 6. He was represented in court by Senior Counsel Chelva Rajah.

Mr Tan Chee Meng declined to comment when approached outside the courtroom.

Jonathan Tan had pleaded guilty on Jan 13 to two counts of remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit between Dec 22, 2004 and May 4, 2015.

He returned to Singapore on May 5, 2015 and enlisted for NS on Jan 8 last year.

His younger brother, Isaac Tan Yang En, 25, has also been charged for evading NS.

 
 

Isaac Tan allegedly remained outside Singapore without a valid exit permit between Aug 15, 2006 and Aug 5, 2015. He is also accused of failing to comply with the Further Reporting Order from July 31, 2009 to Aug 5, 2015.

His case has been scheduled to be mentioned on Oct 6.

The two brothers, their older sister and their mother migrated to Canada on Dec 1, 2000, with no intention of returning to Singapore.

Their father remained in Singapore because of a lack of employment opportunities overseas, according to court documents.

Earlier in July, the High Court laid down fresh sentencing benchmarks for NS dodgers. Notably, how well an NS defaulter performs in his duty when he eventually serves should have no bearing when deciding his punishment.

The benchmarks also “amplified” punishments for those who default for longer periods as it affects their fitness for service and the time they can serve as reservists.