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21 Jan 2019
Ministry of Defense
Suggestion View - 509
Aloysius Pang injured in New Zealand while on reservist training

A well known Mediacorp actor, Aloysius Pang, has been seriously injured while on reservist training in New Zealand.

Over the next few days, there will be active discussion about the safety measures that should be taken to avoid accidents of this nature.

I agree that we should take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our soldiers. I believe that this has received the high level attention of the Singapore Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense. 

We also have to accept that accidents will happen and that injury and death is part of the risk of being a soldier or reservist. 

I like to focus on another aspect of this issue.

It is very costly to the country, to the economy and to the individual reservists to maintain an active reservist force for many years after completing the full time military training.  Apart from the cost of the training, there is a high impact on the career of the individual reservists who have been disrupted from their normal work.

Some employers do not wish to engage reservists for certain jobs due to this regular disruption. They prefer foreign workers that are not disrupted.

I suggest that the reservist training be modified as follows:

a) Keep the reservists active and operationally ready for three years after completing full time military service.
b) In the event of hostility, the reservists are not operationally ready (i.e. having completed the three years) can be called up for special training.

If a soldier has been trained full time for two years (which I believe can be shortened to one year) and is operationally ready for three years, he would have acquired the necessary basic skills that should last for a long time. It would be easy to brush up on the knowledge when the need arises. There is no need, during peacetime, to spend some much resources to keep a large force of operationally ready reservists.

I hope that the current structure of reservist training can be reviewed. We should maintain a credible defense capability, but the cost to the economy and to the individual reservists can be reduced.

Tan Kin Lian

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