22 new members appointed to Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence

The ceremony was attended by Senior Ministers of State for Defence Heng Chee How (left) and Zaqy Mohamad. PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - As a member of the Singapore Armed Forces' Volunteer Corps, Ms Samantha Ng was finally able to unlock the coded talk of her male peers who have done national service.

"Previously, whenever the guys talked about national service, I couldn't understand anything. Joining the corps helped me to break the 'code'," she said.

Ms Ng, 31, who is a youth leader at the National Youth Council's Inspirit community of young adult leaders, said her experience changed the way she saw her male counterparts.

On Monday (Sept 14), she was one of 22 new members appointed for a two-year term on the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (Accord) in a virtual ceremony.

Ms Ng is one of 23 female members of Accord, which has 26 members on its main council.

Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad, who is the co-chairman of Accord, said: "It is important that we engage our women community to engender greater support for NS and defence, as they play a very important role in supporting our national servicemen whether it is as an employer, a wife, a mother, a colleague, or a friend."

The ceremony was attended by Mr Zaqy and Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, who is the other co-chairman of Accord.

Mr Heng said Accord members have continued to increase their advocacy for national service and Singapore's defence despite the ongoing Covid-19 situation.

"The continuous efforts of our Accord members despite these trying circumstances shows that we have strong support for defence and NS," he added.

Other new members appointed on Monday include Mr Chandra Mohan, 58, who is the vice-chairman of the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mrs Sher-li Torrey, 44, who is the founder and director of career portal Mums @ Work, and a speaker on WomenTalk TV, was also among those re-appointed to Accord.

Mr Chandra, who will be on Accord's employer and business council, said he hopes to improve internship opportunities for full-time national serviceman and operationally-ready national servicemen, and conduct more career fairs for NSFs to prepare them for employment.

He said: "Our job is to go out there, engage employers, tell them of the important role that our full-time national servicemen (NSFs) and NSmen play in the defence of our country, and sell to them the skillsets that our young NSFs have earned through NS and how they will be useful in their jobs."

Mrs Torrey, who organised the first NS webinar for mothers during the circuit breaker period, said she hopes to conduct more such virtual events in her new term.

Established in 1984, Accord was set up as a channel for the community to provide feedback on defence policies and issues. In 2014, it was restructured to become a platform to reach out to employers, businesses, families, communities and educational institutions to increase support for NS and Total Defence.

Prominent members in the Accord main council include Sengkang GRC MP He Ting Ru from the Workers' Party. Other members include Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit and National University of Singapore president Tan Eng Chye.

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