Please do not cheapen National Service by putting a price tag on it

I can’t help but want to blog about this after reading the Facebook posting by Mr Hri Kumar Nair, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

My proposal is therefore a simple one. All PRs and foreigners must pay additional income and property tax to be called a National Defence Duty. In short, we do duty, they pay a duty.
The rationale is simple – since PRs and foreigners cannot contribute manpower to our SAF and Home Team, they make a financial contribution to the protection and preservation of their lives, families, jobs, investments and properties.

Firstly, I must thank MP Hri Kumar for recongising the sacrifice by all male Singaporeans. But please do not cheapen our 2 1/2 years of National Service and 10 In Camp training by putting a price tag on it. I find it insulting when MP Hri Kumar suggest that PRs and foreigners pay additional income and property tax. Nothing can make up for the time we serve. Putting a price tag on it is just degrading and insulting to all those who served the nation, especially those who suffer permanent injuries and families of those who died during NS. It only reminds me of pianist Melvyn Tan who was fined S$3,000 and forfeited the S$30,000 security deposit when he defaulted National Service.
Do not cheapen our contribution to the nation.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining and not asking the Government to give us anything in return for the time spend serving the nation. It is our duty as Singaporeans to protect and defend our country. If we don’t do it, nobody will.
If you really want to do something, then why not make all male PRs and foreigners below 40 years old do community service or serve in Civil Defence? I’m sure PRs and foreigners who truly wants to contribute to Singapore won’t mind spending a week every year to give back to this nation.


  1. Agree with your comments. Lets flip it the other way : how much $ is Hri Kumar suggesting? $3k? $5k? $30k? $300k? Whatever it is, give that option to every Singaporean to pay that amount and opt out. Thats a little fairer. But once you go down that road, does that mean that only the rich can avoid NS and NS is for the poor?
    Sometimes, I think many PAP MPs speak without thinking.

  2. Perhaps Hri Kumar has a 20/20 foresight when during war time, PRs & foreigners will be thinking “We paid our due. Singaporean soldiers can go and defend our family on our behalf now”. – In short, they pay a duty, we do the duty! In PAP views, they can just throw money to solve everything. Unbelievable!
    As helpful as Tan Chuan Jin’s comment in the Parliament “We defend our friends and family who stay”. In other words, you won’t know who will stay and go until your enemy land on your shores. Let’s just spray and pray that most, if not some will at least stay. Machiam KBW’s version of “send 1000 invites but don’t know how many will show up”.

  3. How does a penalty on a PR’s family (that remains in Singapore) become putting a price tag?
    We fine people for speeding. Are we placing a price tag on traffic offences? I think there’s some absurdity there. The crime has already been committed and the record it remains, even after the fine is paid.
    Currently, children of PRs can renounce their status and leave. We can’t do much other than impose immigration restrictions in the future, because they are not liable for NS once they are no longer PRs. The tax works as a penalty against their parents, who facilitate the act of leaving. I don’t see how it is cheapening NS.

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