SINGAPORE - A 25-year-old man was charged in court on Monday (Jan 21) after he allegedly failed to report for enlistment into full-time national service (NS) for more than three years.
Zaley Cheng Xi Xiong, a Singapore citizen by birth, is accused of two offences under the Enlistment Act.
He allegedly failed to report for enlistment from June 10, 2014, to Aug 30, 2017.
He is also said to have remained outside Singapore without a valid exit permit between May 19, 2014, and Aug 29, 2017.
Court documents do not reveal where he had been living overseas.
The Enlistment Act applies to all male Singapore citizens and permanent residents aged from 16½ to 40, or 50 in the case of military officers.
They have to register for NS at 16½ and enlist at 18, though deferments are allowed for those still studying up to A levels, a polytechnic diploma or their equivalent.
Full-time national servicemen (NSFs) who pursue local medical degrees and are selected for the Local Medical Disruption Scheme, as well as Public Service Commission scholarship holders, are granted disruption for university studies.
Those who leave Singapore at a young age with their families to migrate to another country, and take up foreign citizenship, are still liable for NS.
Singapore does not allow dual citizenship, but minors can hold two passports up to the age of 21, when they have to decide whether to renounce Singapore citizenship. The Government may reject the application if a male citizen is subject to the Enlistment Act and has not done NS.
Permanent residents can renounce their PR status without serving, but this will be taken into account if they apply to return to Singapore to study or work.
In September last year, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said an average of 350 people defaulted on NS each year over the past 10 years.
They either failed to register or enlist, or did not return to Singapore after their exit permit expired.
Cheng is now out on bail of $10,000 and will be back in court on Feb 4.
If convicted of offences under the Enlistment Act, he can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $10,000 for each charge.