Updated: 05/30/2014 02:39

CSNS recommendations to cost $4.5bn: Dr Ng Eng Hen

CSNS recommendations to cost $4.5bn: Dr Ng Eng Hen

The recommendations made by the Committee to Strengthen National Service could cost the Government some $4.5 billion  over the next decade if accepted. 

This was revealed by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in the Parliament today. 

Dr Ng says support for National Service in Singapore remains high. 

A recent survey found that 98 per cent of respondents agree that NS is crucial for national defence and for securing Singapore's peace and prosperity. 

He explained why there's a need to "Strengthen" NS, despite the high public support. 

"This would be the best time to conduct the review to ensure that NS remains responsive and relevant to a new generation of Millenial national servicemen who will defend Singapore. Better to hear them now and adjust policies, rather than wait and assume previous policies will work even when circumstances change. And circumstances have indeed changed. Therefore, motivating national servicemen will also have to change. Especially when this new generation of national servicemen has no direct experience of our early struggles. " 

Dr Ng revealed that recommendations will see several firsts. 

For instance, Full-time national servicemen will get to indicate their preferred roles, in order for the SAF to "better match" aptitudes to vocations.

Another is the setting up of a Voluntary Corps for women, new citizens and first-generation Permanent Residents. 

As well as handing out Medisave rewards - worth $6,000 in total to all servicemen. 

Dr NG also addressed concerns that the benefits would dilute what it means to serve the country. 

"We agree that the benefits we give must reflect the right values of service to the country. However, the Committee believes that this set of recommendations strikes the right balance in responding to the needs of national servicemen and allowing them to contribute more as national servicemen and volunteers. The Committee therefore recommends that the Government accept and fully support these recommendations." 

-By Lee Gim Siong

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