A NS serviceman, Mervyn Chan Ping wrote a letter to The Straits Times that he has lost his job offer as he was unable to get an exit permit application while he was liable for reservist duties.
On the letter, which was published on Tuesday (7 March), Mr Chan said that he had secured an employment in Manila and was to be away from Singapore for two years.
He then wrote that he had followed the standard protocol of applying for NS duty deferment as he was an operationally ready national serviceman.
"Unfortunately, despite repeated attempts, my deferment has been unsuccessful," wrote Mr Chan.
He had been advised to apply for an exit permit, which would allow him to be exempted from reservist duties until 2019. Unfortunately, as he was liable for reservist duties, the system would not allow him to process exit permit applications.
"As a result, I have been unable to leave Singapore to take up my new job. My employment offer and contract have since been retracted," he wrote.
Mr Chan stated that the red tape had cost him a valuable opportunity in today's challenging economy. Therefore, he stressed that the system must be redesigned to minimise or eliminate the chance of such situations happening in future.
MINDEF: Past history of NSman and unresolved disciplinary offences taken into consideration for application
Lee Chung Wei, a Director for Manpower of Ministry of Defence responded to Mr Chan's letter stating that his request was rejected because he had abused previously granted deferments based on similar grounds.
The records show that Corporal (NS) Mervyn Chan had applied three times for Exit Permits for work overseas and was granted Exit Permits for all three applications. However, he was subsequently found to have returned to Singapore for an extended period of time, which was not consistent with the terms for which the Exit Permit was granted.
Furthermore, Mr Chan had an unresolved disciplinary offence. Mindef does grant deferment for Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) who need to work and reside overseas for an extended period of time. In assessing these applications, the past history of the NSman and any unresolved disciplinary offences are also appropriately taken into consideration.
Questions left unanswered by MINDEF's reply
While many sites have judged MINDEF's reply as a "mic drop" on Chan's forum letter, but MINDEF's reply leaves many questions unanswered.
- Mr Chan's letter stated that his exit permit application was not allowed because of the existing reservist that he was scheduled to go for. Why did MINDEF bring in the issue of disciplinary offence instead of addressing his point.
- So was Mr Chan lying about his reservist duties or MINDEF not replying to the issue raised by Mr Chan
- Was the unresolved disciplinary offence before or after the three Exit Permits were issued?
- What was the unresolved disciplinary offence? Failed to take IPPT or attend remedial trainings?
- How long did Mr Chan returned to Singapore for and was it accounted for? ie. Family or company matters
- If it was before, then why should it be considered as a factor in MINDEF's reply to Mr Chan's failed application?
- Were the unresolved disciplinary offence and Mr Chan's extended return to Singapore, the reason for rejecting the application?
Despite highlighting the serviceman's past history and unresolved disciplinary offence and insinuating that rejection of the application was justified, MINDEF did not contest that the serviceman did lose his job offer because he had his application rejected.
TOC wrote to MINDEF on 7 March on Mr Chan's letter and has not obtained a response till today, despite forwarding to individuals such as the Minister of Defence and etc.