The Straits Times
Published on Nov 29, 2012

Recognise NSmen with HDB priority


WHEN Singapore's first-generation leaders adopted the Israeli model of a citizen army in 1966, they ensured that every Singaporean family had access to affordable public housing in the form of Housing Board (HDB) flats. The rationale then was to give every conscript soldier greater motivation to defend our young country by giving him a home and country to protect.

In the light of the recent debate over public housing, I would like to suggest that the relevant government ministries such as the Ministry of National Development and the Ministry of Defence work together to adopt a back-to-basics approach to address this public property crunch.

Singaporean citizens, especially those who have at least one family member who has served or is currently doing National Service should be given first priority to buy new and resale HDB flats. This way, not only are the needs of affordable public housing for Singaporeans met, it will also ensure that every Singaporean soldier has both a home and a country to defend.

Some second-generation permanent residents who have served NS but opted not to take up Singaporean citizenship should also be allowed to buy new and resale HDB flats to recognise their contributions to the defence of our nation.

New citizens with male children also should not be left out. Those who have sons eligible for NS soon should be allowed to buy new and resale HDB flats surplus to market requirements.

This will ensure that the public housing needs and defence requirements of Singapore are met at one go.

Hong Chou Hui