It is the 45th anniversary of national service in Singapore, and the Government is giving S$100 million worth of benefits to more than 900,000 national servicemen (NSmen) here, to thank them for their dedicated service to the country.
All men who have served national service or are serving it are getting some benefits, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) reported on its website.
Every NSman will get S$50 to S$100 worth of SAFRA / HomeTeamNS vouchers, which can be used to redeem privileges for dining, recreation and at petrol stations, among other things.
- Full-time national servicemen (NSFs) will get S$50 worth of these vouchers
- Those who are past statutory age and have not completed their Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) and those who are now serving ORNS will get S$80 worth of vouchers
- Those who have completed ORNS will get S$100 in vouchers
They will be eligible for these benefits based on their NS status as at 22 October 2012.
In addition, for NSmen now serving ORNS, or those who have completed their ORNS training cycle in full, they will be offered a year’s free SAFRA or HomeTeamNS membership.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who made the announcement on Monday, said NSmen would be able to receive the vouchers to enjoy a movie or meal with their family and friends, Channel NewsAsia reported. He added that this "hongbao" (red packet gift) will never fully compensate for their personal sacrifices.
Soldiers past and present will receive a letter of notification by post between January and April 2013.
PM Lee said that Singapore has not had to fight a war, but this was not a matter of luck. The commitment of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Home Team in protecting Singapore has won the country 45 years of peace and stability.
BE PREPARED FOR EMERGING THREATS
Citing examples of relations between the US and China, North Korea, and territorial disputes in Asia, PM Lee said he is cautiously optimistic that the region will remain peaceful, TODAY newspaper reported.
"In addition, we must always be prepared for emerging and unconventional threats," he said, "especially extremist terrorism, which remains a real danger. We therefore cannot take our present peace and stability for granted. We must continue to build and maintain a committed, competent and vigilant SAF and Home Team.
"We must upgrade our capabilities steadily year by year, in a sustainable and affordable way. We must help younger generations of Singaporeans who have grown up in a more stable and affluent environment understand these strategic realities, and prepare them for their part in defending Singapore.”
To mark the 45 years of national service, a book titled ‘NS is...’, showcasing stories and pictures of servicemen over the generations, was also launched at a dinner Monday night.