Jonathan Tan Huai-En, 28, who skipped on his National Service for over 10 years, received 4 months jail today for his deed. He had pleaded guilty to 2 counts of defaulting on National Service under the Enlistment Act.

His lawyer says that they intend to appeal the sentence.

In his sentencing of Tan, District Judge Shawn Ho said that “An individual cannot cherry-pick when he serves NS. It would be unfair to allow an individual to defer NS to further his education or life pursuits and thereby gain an advantage over his peers who would have to sacrifice by postponing such pursuits.

“Regardless of station in life and background, for the past 50 years of NS … over 900,000 male Singaporeans – sons following their fathers – have served NS.”

In 2000, Tan was 12 when he moved to Canada with his mother and his 2 siblings. They were unable to cope with Singapore’s compulsory education in a second language. Tan and family became Canadian citizens shortly after in 2005.

Tan is the son of senior counsel Tan Chee Meng, who also went to Canada with his family but had to renounce his citizenship there because of a failure to find appropriate job opportunities.

2 registration notices were sent to Tan’s father in 2005 and 2006, but only the third, sent in June 2006, reached him. When Tan failed to register for NS, a police gazette was raised against him in November the same year. In 2009, Tan’s father contacted the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) to inform it that Tan intended to renounce his Singapore citizenship. As he had not fulfilled his NS obligations, he was not allowed to.

In 2013, Tan learnt that his grandfather had fallen ill and attempted to return. However, he was advised against it by his mother. In 2014, he decided to return and enlist, braving jail so that he could complete his obligations.

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