We refer to recent reports on deferment for our national sportsmen with national service obligations.
To support Singapore's efforts in hosting the 28th SEA Games this year, our sportsmen with national service obligations were granted short-term deferments and time off for them to train and perform their best.
The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) work closely to assess deferment applications from our national sportsmen.
Every application must include training schedules and targets, and explain why deferment is absolutely necessary.
If the sportsman does not meet the targets, we will review whether to continue the deferment.
Given Singapore's small population, national servicemen form the backbone of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Each year, tens of thousands of full-time national servicemen serve with pride and commitment.
Mindef receives a number of deferment requests from those wanting to pursue their aspirations in various fields, including the arts, academic pursuits and sports.
To be fair to the rest who dutifully serve their national service, long-term deferments from full-time national service are considered very selectively and only for individuals with exceptional talent who have the potential to achieve national pride for Singapore.
The deferment has to take into consideration the operational needs of the SAF for national defence.
We can grant deferment to only a small number of people so that the SAF's operational readiness is maintained.
Teo Eng Dih
Ministry of Defence