Singapore

MFA: Youth in New Zealand has to serve NS

Teenager Brandon Smith has to fulfil his National Service (NS) obligations, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Wednesday (March 2).

"Singapore adheres to the fundamental principles of universality and equity for NS. All Singaporeans are expected to fulfil our NS obligations as citizens. It would not be fair to allow citizens to avoid NS just because they reside overseas."  -Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MFA was replying to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament, Mr David Ong.

Mr Ong had wanted to know if MFA had started discussion with New Zealand about the case of the 19-year-old.

MFA said the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had made a request for Singapore to provide a contact from the Ministry of Defence, which MFA has done so.

About Mr Brandon Smith

Currently living in New Zealand, Mr Smith had applied multiple times to defer his NS call-up until the age of 21.

Mr Smith currently holds dual citizenship, that of Singapore and New Zealand, and he can only relinquish his citizenship when he turns 21.

He had moved to New Zealand when he was eight with his Singaporean mother and New Zealander father.

In an interview with New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz on Jan 24, he said that doing NS was pointless because he did not speak Mandarin and that he would be treated as an outsider.

According to Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully said in a statement that he intended to take the matter up.

"While the Singapore Government is responsible for determining their own citizenship policies, I have considerable sympathy for the situation this family has found themselves in," Mr McCully said.

However, MFA clarified that even if Mr Smith renounced his citizenship, he would still remain liable for any breaches of the Enlistment Act.

If Mr Smith fails to comply, he faces a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a maximum of three years' jail.

The ministry advised Mr Smith to return to Singapore as soon as possible to resolve the matter.

Ministry of Foreign Affairsnational serviceNew ZealandSingaporebrandon smith