Why keep ICs of military personnel?

Full-time national servicemen in Singapore are required to surrender their identity card (IC) and are issued with a military IC, also known as the 11B, for their stint.
Full-time national servicemen in Singapore are required to surrender their identity card (IC) and are issued with a military IC, also known as the 11B, for their stint.PHOTO: ST FILE

Currently, upon enlistment for national service, full-time national servicemen (NSFs) in Singapore are required to surrender their identity card (IC) and are issued with a military IC, also known as the 11B, for their stint.

Those who have chosen to work in the military service as regulars are also subject to this requirement.

As a result, they do not get to see or use their ICs until they retire from the service.

It is a common practice for companies to issue their own identification passes to their staff. However, the use of such passes is restricted to only the companies concerned.

Likewise, the military IC should ideally be used only within military services.

The retention of the IC has resulted in military personnel using their military ICs for private purposes, such as to collect passports, open a bank account or enter a condominium as a visitor.

Why do these private individuals need to identify themselves as military personnel when the situation does not call for it?

They need to have their privacy, too, as to where they work.

The reasons for retaining the ICs of NSFs and regulars are not publicly known.

The Ministry of Defence should review the objectives of retaining the IC and do away with this requirement if there are no serious implications to doing so.

This will help to reduce the administrative work of safe-keeping and returning the ICs.

Military personnel, particularly the regulars, will also be able to keep and use them when necessary without having to identify themselves as military personnel.

Goh Kian Huat

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2019, with the headline 'Why keep ICs of military personnel?'. Print Edition | Subscribe