Possible for more athletes to disrupt NS to train and compete in international competitions: Minister Ng Eng Hen
The remarks came in parliament on Jul 5.
MINDEF is prepared to allow more athletes to disrupt their national service to train and compete in international competitions.
But this is on the basis that they fulfil their full NS obligations after the disruption, said Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Tuesday (Jul 5).
Mr Ng was asked by Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai on whether the Government will relax eligibility criteria for NS deferment for young male Singaporeans who have the potential to accomplish significant successes in the sports and arts fields.
This remark was made on Tuesday (Jul 5) by Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen in a oral reply to Member of Parliament Leong Mun Wai , who asked whether the Government will relax the eligibility criteria for NS deferment for young male Singaporeans who have the potential to accomplish significant successes in the sports and arts fields.
“For those who want to pursue both goals, MINDEF is prepared to allow more to disrupt, to train and compete in international competitions during their full-time NS,” replied Mr Ng.
“This is on the understanding that they fulfil the full period required after their disruption, and also perform their NS duties satisfactorily while in National Service.”
A disruption grants one short-term leave from NS, whereas a deferment is longer term.
While acknowledging that it is not easy for Singapore’s sportsmen to win medals for Singapore while fulfilling their NS duties well, Mr Ng pointed out that some have managed to achieve.
However, he also cautioned against setting unrealistic expectations on athletes due to how difficult it is.
“MINDEF reiterates that all NS men must perform their duties, and that short-term disruptions or leave for sportsmen to train for and compete in international competitions are only allowed outside critical NS periods,” said Mr Ng.
Athletes such as paddler Koen Pang and hurdler Ang Chen Xiang were among those granted leave to compete in the most recent SEA Games. For those who have the potential to win medals at top-tier international competitions like the Olympic games, long-term deferments will be granted, Mr Ng added, citing Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen as examples.
“Each appeal for deferment and disruption from sports and arts talent must therefore pass a very high bar,” said Mr Ng.
“Each request is assessed on its own merit, in consultation with MCCY (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth), taking into consideration the applicant’s past achievements, and potential to excel in international competitions and bring national glory.”