The Fifth Committee to Recognise the Contribution of Operationally Ready National Servicemen, or Record V, has made 18 recommendations to MINDEF (Ministry of Defence). As an NSman myself, here are my reactions to them and further suggestions to MINDEF.
Staying connected to the workplace
Allow NSmen to bring their company-configured laptops, PDAs and Blackberries into camp with some limitations.
I think this is generally a good thing, although some NSmen would loathe to be kept on a leash by their employers without the excuse of being “uncontactable”. It would benefit entrepreneurs and business owners the most. However this cannot be effectively implemented without relaxing the prohibition on bringing phone cameras into camps, since most PDAs have cameras on them. I note that they said “company-configured” laptops, PDAs. Does it mean that personal PDAs cannot be brought in? How about for entrepreneurs who use their personal devices for both work and personal use?
Camp business centres to be enhanced with wireless Internet access.
This is good. Although it seems to limit it to “camp business centres”, which I didn’t even know existed. Most NSmen spend their time either in the training rooms or outfield. They won’t have time to trek half way across a huge camp to go to the camp business centre. Wireless access should be extended to selected areas in the camp that are closer to where NSmen are training.
Enhance the current employer website within the NS Portal to become a comprehensive reference point for all matters relating to NS.
Sounds like a good thing if it reduces the administrative workload on company HR and finance staff.
Add-on allowances for NSmen holding key appointments such as platoon sergeant or platoon commander.
This is a welcome move! It is no secret that the workload in the military is very heavily weighted on the commanders. As such, I think any way to reward them would be welcome. Although this add-on allowance should be on top of the Make-up Pay that NSmen receive, otherwise it would make no difference to them.
NSmen specialists and warrant officers to receive enhanced rank allowances.
Again, this should be on top of the Make-up Pay that NSmen receive, otherwise it would make no difference to them, unless they are unemployed.
Increased rank and combat allowances for NSmen. The approximately 30 per cent of NSmen in the lower-income bracket who are unable to claim make-up pay will benefit most.
I agree. When I was just starting my business I could not claim much MUP and relied only on the rank and combat allowance.
Allow NSmen to take an advance from the next allocation of eMART credits.
Good idea too. There was once I had to go for an overseas exercise and didn’t have enough points, and ended up having to pay for some of my equipment myself. That was a real bummer.
Enhanced fitness corners in public housing estates, as well as clearly demarcated 2.4km running routes.
I like this too. The fitness corner in my estate has a poorly maintained Standing Broad Jump area and the pull up bar is too low. I hope they do this for all estates, and not just PAP wards!
A new Fitness Conditioning Centre (FCC) in Kranji Camp II, in addition to the current three.
Doesn’t affect me, as I haven’t kena RT (remedial training) before. Hope to keep it that way.
Family vouchers for those who perform well during ICT, which can be spent at attractions like Singapore Discovery Centre and SAF chalets.
Nice! I think if this is implemented half my unit should be eligible, because we are really on.
Concessionary rates for Safra family-based programmes.
This is nice.
A new Safra clubhouse in Punggol when the population there reaches critical mass.
Benefits for full-time national servicemen
Increased rank allowances for junior specialists.
This could help the low-income households a bit.
Support letters for university applications for commanders.
Shouldn’t all NSFs, both enlistees and commanders be eligible to receive support letters?
Full-time National Serviceman of the Year award to be introduced.
This will be nice for that one chap.
Mementoes to be given out upon completion of full-time national service.
I hope they will be useful items. :)