Updated: 05/30/2014 00:35

Deployment in SAF based on merit and aptitude, regardless of race and religion



Deployment in SAF based on merit and aptitude, regardless of race and religion

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen says the deployment of soldiers into vocations and their promotions are based on merit and aptitude, regardless of race and religion. 

He was speaking in response to an observation made by several MPs since Monday - that the Malays are taking up wider roles and positions within the Singapore Armed Forces. 

"Over the years, Malays have made significant strides in skills and educational attainment. So we now have Malays in all services, whether as pilots in the air force, as commandoes, combat engineers, artillery men in the army and in the navy. Every Malay soldier, who's posted to any vocational unit, got there on his own merit." 

Dr Ng acknowledged that this trend is very "different" and "much better" as compared to 10 to 30 years ago. 

And he gave the assurance that the SAF will continue to make progress on the situation. 

However, he stressed that they will do so "quietly" and without "fanfare". 

"To take any action base on race, even if it's an affirmative action, puts us onto the path of tokenism. Many of these senior Malay commander, who were asked to profile themselves by the Malay community, tell me, why should i do so? As a commander, I lead not my malay, chinese or indian men, but all my men. And I'm not their malay, chinese or indian commander, just commander. No one purposely draws attention to my race in the SAF, and these commanders want to keep it that way."

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