S'pore army "looking into" netizen's claim of faking mental illness to get away from NS

Soldiers marching at the Singapore Armed Forces’ first integrated military parade held at the Marina Bay Floating Platform on April 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Soldiers marching at the Singapore Armed Forces’ first integrated military parade held at the Marina Bay Floating Platform on April 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The army is "looking into" a netizen's claim online that he successfully feigned mental instability to be exempt from National Service.

The netizen, who identified himself as "a PES F-ed recruit", wrote on the SAF Confessions Facebook page that he "started going to IMH (Institute of Mental Health) a year before enlistment to build up a case". PES F is the medical status given to soldiers who are exempt from NS.

He acted up on enlistment day to avoid getting his head shaved - an NS rite. He also kept taking medical leave, before he was eventually discharged on psychiatric grounds.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Singapore Army said that it was "regrettable" that the blogger had boasted about how he "dishonestly and blatantly got himself discharged from National Service".

"His dishonesty undermines our system of managing servicemen who genuinely suffer from mental illness," it said, adding that servicemen with genuine psychiatric illnesses are well cared for.

About 500 men are exempt from NS every year due to mental health problems. Only those assessed by a board of professionals to be able to perform their duties are enlisted, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told Parliament in May.

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