Responding to a question on a perceived bias against Malays in the SAF and why they have been excluded from the Navy until now, Dr Ng said it was a “practical issue” of having halal-certified kitchens onboard ships. “(This is) because in a confined space, it is hard to have a halal kitchen. If you spend months out at sea, it is difficult.”
But provisions have been made for Malay Muslims who are willing to serve, said Dr Ng. “So we made and found some accommodation and started to have Malays in the navy as well, if the person is willing.”
He also reiterated that Malays now serve in the army, navy and air force, adding that with Singapore’s small population, the SAF does not discriminate against anyone and promotes its servicemen based on their ability.
“We want to get the maximum out of each person in the SAF…we are putting the best people in the best positions.”
But for sensitive positions in the military, the SAF is not blind to the fact that “people can be blackmailed”, said Dr Ng. “We ask ourselves, can we trust this person in that position to make sure he will not be made use of, that he will not be vulnerable.”