In view of the 9 deaths of National Servicemen in last 1.5 years, it pains me that no one in the government or MINDEF take full responsibility. The real facts are kept from public as well as sentences and punishment issued to those who failed to observe safety protocols.
MINDEF must have pages of safety documents, probably as thick as the court documents served by AGC for case against Li Shengwu. So, the fundamental reason that accidents leading to death or serious injury in NS training is, the officers and commanders in charge are very well protected by Section 14 of the Government Proceeding Act. If a person cannot be held accountable for his actions, the decision making process is skewed. Any rational person would allow Key Performance Index (KPI) achievements to precede other criteria eg safety. I will be surprised if MINDEF does not apply any KPIs on their commanders. Whenever there is pressure to meet KPIs, there bound to be human errors.
1. MINDEF generals cannot be held accountable when they opt to purchase Singapore Technology developed howitzer, which seems unsafe as illustrated by some other Facebook post.
2. MINDEF officers cannot accountable in civil court for training fatality because of section 14.
3. MINDEF is not accountable to the public of the details such as the root cause of the accidents, names of those involved, compensation given and the punishment handed out by simply citing “national security”.
Take an example in civil life. OKP’s safety lapses caused death and injury in Changi viaduct case. The Managing Director and others are all charged with criminal offences. The MD is like commanding officer who is not present at accident site or directly caused the accident but yet has to be accountable. This should apply to our military. Because of this kind of check, our construction industry registered lower death rate than MINDEF during same period. And sad to say, we protect the foreign construction workers better than our sons of Singapore.
Worker’s party and Dr Chee Soon Juan wrote about section 14 before. It’s all thrown out by PAP government. It’s apparently that THEY all conveniently hide behind this law and continue to uphold this law to protect themselves and their loyalists who are still in armed forces and probably joining Government Linked Companies and People’s Action Party soon.
It was argued that similar laws apply to armies in other countries. Take note, it’s not comparing apple to apple. We do not have similar countries to compare against. Most armed forces are voluntary, hence the laws apply well. Other conscript countries like Taiwan, Israel and South Korea are not at peace time technically. They could go war anytime. Unlike these countries, we didn’t fight any war before we build our conscript army while these countries did.
Please take this momentum on social media and pressure the PAP to amend or remove section 14. Do not allow them time 2 to 3 years to evaluate and amend the law which they can pretend to be busy at it (look at the healthcare case) and win another election.
We all have brothers, sons, grandsons, husbands, boyfriends and nephews serving NS. If the PAP do not protect the sons of Singapore by changing the law, we will change the government! Let’s make it the biggest agenda! They fail to protect our boys and men, we vote them out.
Thank you for reading. Please do something about this. You are the hope for Singaporeans. Many mummies and wives will be grateful to you.