The Straits Times
Published on Feb 23, 2013

NS should never be monetised


IT IS as a national serviceman that I am responding to MP Hri Kumar Nair's proposal for a national defence tax ("Levy national defence tax on PRs, foreigners: MP"; Feb 14).

I enlisted in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) in 1984. I have served for 29 years and now command a field hospital.

During this time, I have seen a distinct lack of appreciation from both Singaporeans and non-citizens towards the importance of the SAF.

But I have also noticed a high degree of understanding and respect for the SAF from both Singaporeans and non-citizens.

They understand its role in national security, its critical social role in transforming boys to men, the training in resilience and leadership, and the forging of bonds among Singaporeans from all backgrounds.

Not only is a national defence tax unfair to non-citizens who have a duty to their own countries, but it also has the very grave effect of devaluing the institution of national service, which should never be monetised.

National service is not just a duty but a privilege. It is a privilege to serve our country and keep it safe for all who live in it, citizens and non-citizens alike.

Lieutenant-Colonel (Dr) Lim Yu-Tang