by Simon Lim
There is no question that national defence will always be needed and relevant to Singapore. But, as a parent and a former National Serviceman (Full-time) myself, I am greatly saddened to read about the passing of yet another one of our soldiers due to a training accident.
When parents bid their sons goodbye and see them drafted in, the PAP government must understand that they have a sacred duty to see that the boys are trained competently, safely and very importantly, return them to their parents alive.
I believe that most people can understand and accept that training fatalities do happen from time to time. But when accidents happen, again and again, I put the blame squarely on incompetent political leadership at the highest level.
A competent top leadership will set the tone, the culture and seriousness all throughout the organisations and filter effectively to every level, every day, everybody and every time. But with frequent accidents, hard questions must be loudly screamed and standard protocols even challenged.
Under the current incompetent leadership, safety standards are getting to an unacceptable level and it must cause alarm among our people, especially for families who have sons serving NS. Even among strong PAP supporters and hard questions must be loudly screamed and standard protocols even challenged.
The Minister of Defence owes all Singaporeans, in particular, parents of NS men and all NS men themselves clear and convincing explanations regarding the latest training death. More of the predictable same handling of past training deaths can no longer be enough.
When PAP ministers know how to pay themselves millions of dollars in political, much harder questions must be demanded of them about their leadership, professionalism, their safety culture and attitudes throughout all of MINDEF and/or SCDF.
At the end of the day, the government has a sacred duty to ensure that NS men must be returned to their parents alive and not in coffins