We thank Mr Richmond Lee for his letter “Why did panel decide not to raise NS allowance?” (June 12).
The National Service (NS) allowance is meant to support our full-time national servicemen in their basic personal upkeep, taking into account the accommodation, food and uniforms that are provided for them.
Also, the allowance recognises national servicemen with heavier responsibilities, such as those in command positions. The allowance and rank pay of national servicemen should not be computed as salaries, as NS is a duty and not a job.
Over the years, we have recognised NSmen’s contributions in other ways, such as the NSman tax relief, the NS Bonus, additional allotments of the GST Offset Credit and Growth Dividends, as well as the NS45 Safra and HomeTeamNS Benefits.
The Committee to Strengthen NS further recommended that the NS Recognition Award be revamped and enhanced into the NS Housing, Medical and Education Awards of between S$15,000 and S$16,500 to better support national servicemen in their housing, health-care and education needs.
The committee also recommended providing life and personal accident insurance coverage to servicemen to cover incidents during their full-time NS and their Operationally Ready NS call-ups.
The Government accepted these recommendations on June 10.
Teo Eng Dih
Ministry of Defence