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Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong (Screenshot of ST video)

NSMen’s inquiry: Need few more months, but already confirmed 2 improvements, policies ‘sound’?

Are we in a sense ‘jumping the gun’ by saying that the policies are ‘sound’ and only need two ‘improvements’, when the inquiry panel will only complete its work in a few more months? 

I refer to the article “SAF can improve heat injury prevention: Panel” (Straits Times, Jun 21).

The Chief of Defence Force Melvyn Ong had revealed on Tuesday that an external review panel flagged two areas for improvement - though he declined to elaborate further, according to the Straits Times.

"However, he added that the panel found the SAF’s heat injury policies sound and aligned with industry and foreign military practices.”

As to “said that the panel’s recommendations will be made public when they are ready in a few months” – I was somewhat confused and puzzled, as since the panel’s recommendations will only be ready in a few months – how would one know that there will only be “two areas for improvement” (no shortcomings?), and be sure that “the SAF’s heat injury policies sound and aligned with industry and foreign military practices” (no issue with any policies)?

In this connection, I understand that there have been about 50 deaths of military personnel in the history of the Singapore Armed Forces.

And in the case of CFC Dave Lee's death which spurred the review, allegations of other shortcomings such as the response of army superiors and attitude towards the safety of soldiers are also brought to question. Will such concerns be addressed and will we see these as part of the two areas of improvement in months to come?

How many inquiries have ever been conducted, and how many “shortcomings”, instead of “areas for improvement”, have ever been found or cited?