It is heartening that this year's defence budget includes a strong focus on national service (NS).
National servicemen (NSmen) can look forward to more innovative measures and technology that will support and benefit them at every stage of their NS journey.
The continual effort to transform the NS experience and maximise the contributions of servicemen is commendable, and is a strong acknowledgement of an individual serviceman's value to his family, employer, community and nation.
Government efforts aside, it is important that the community gives its wholehearted support to NS and NSmen.
Community support for NS is vital. The NS50 celebrations last year gave us a good opportunity to thank our NSmen for their service and commitment to protecting our independence, families and way of life. The year-long celebration has made the public more aware of the importance of NS and the invaluable contributions of NSmen to the peace we enjoy.
It is in our collective interest to continue the momentum of recognising and standing behind our NSmen, even after NS50.
The Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (Accord) will continue to rally various stakeholders, including employers and businesses, trade associations and chambers, educational institutions, families and the community, to expand the "We support you in NS" initiative and find more ways to show appreciation for NSmen.
Accord will also continue to collaborate with industry partners to widen the reach of the NS Mark Accreditation Scheme within the business community.
NS is fundamental to national defence. NS and NSmen protect all sectors of Singapore society.
Transformations to NS are good, but let us also not neglect the vital and indispensable need for strong support from employers and businesses in allowing our servicemen to discharge their duties and better balance their work, family and NS commitments.
Having an NS-friendly culture should be part of the DNA of employers in Singapore. This will enable us to have a peaceful and stable Singapore for the generations to come.
Teo Siong Seng
Chairman, Singapore Business Federation;
Member, Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (Employer & Business)