Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 03/07/2013 04:47 | By Channel NewsAsia

MP explains proposal for national defence tax on non—citizens

MP explains proposal for national defence tax on non—citizens

MP explains proposal for national defence tax on non—citizens

SINGAPORE: MP for Bishan—Toa Payoh GRC Hri Kumar Nair said his proposal for a national defence tax on non—citizens is a way of sharpening distinctions between citizens and non—citizen residents, and using the proceeds to benefit NSmen.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Hri Kumar said the issue should be tackled as part of a national effort to promote integration.

Mr Hri Kumar, who is also GPC Chair for Law and Home Affairs, said: "Many want to see new citizens and PRs genuinely integrate better with Singaporeans and be part of our society. We want them to demonstrate that they regard this land as their home, that they believe in our cause, and that they too have a stake in Singapore’s future.

"What grates most on our nerves is the thought of those who seek the privilege of citizenship and permanent residency do so purely out of convenience or economic gain, and that they will abandon us at the slightest risk or sign of trouble. That is why National Service is such an emotional topic.

"We cannot force people to remain in Singapore who do not want to stay here. But we can make it so costly that they would think twice, three times before taking PR status or arranging for their child to dodge NS."

"As with all proposals, some liked it; some criticised it; some felt it did not go far enough. Some even accused me of proposing that PRs who were liable for NS be allowed to pay their way out of their obligation. Of course, I never made any such suggestion.

Mr Hri Kumar said new citizens and PRs should perform some form of compulsory service.

He said if National Service is not suitable, by reason of age or other circumstances, other forms should be introduced.

"This can be for short periods annually, much like how Singaporean men do reservist training. The point is not to discourage foreigners from sinking their roots here, but to emphasise that they now have a stake in this country as well," he said.

"One commenter on my Facebook page mooted the idea of having them serve in the Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC). It is worth exploring. There are even practical benefits as it helps with the current manpower shortage in the Home Team," he added.

— CNA/de

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