When duty calls: A look at NS enlistment process
A Singapore-born teenager who moved to New Zealand made headlines recently for seeking an exemption from national service. RONALD LOH (firstname.lastname@example.org) looks at the enlistment process
A 19-year-old who was born in Singapore but moved to New Zealand when he was eight is in the news because his dad cannot get him an exemption from national service. What does the law say in situations like this?
WHO IS A SINGAPORE CITIZEN?
You are registered as a Singapore citizen if you are born here with at least one Singaporean parent who is lawfully married.
Non-Singaporean parents, including permanent residents (PRs), who conceived here and wish to apply for citizenship for their children may do so with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.
This is likewise for children who were born overseas and to at least one Singaporean parent.
WHO IS LIABLE FOR NATIONAL SERVICE?
Under the Enlistment Act, all male Singaporeans and PRs who are liable are enlisted at the earliest opportunity when they reach 18 years old.
But first-generation PRs who are able to contribute to Singapore economically immediately upon the grant of PR status are administratively exempted from national service, according to the Ministry of Defence (Mindef).
Second-generation PRs, who are sponsored by their parents for PR status and those granted PR status at a young age based on their potential to contribute to Singapore in the future, are required to serve national service and will be enlisted after age 18.
AFTER TURNING 13:
According to Mindef website iPrepNS, you will need to apply for an exit permit if you are travelling or remaining outside Singapore for three months or longer.
Should you be travelling or remaining outside Singapore for more than two years, your parents or guardians will be bonded at $75,000 or half of their combined annual income, whichever is higher.
You can apply for an exit permit at the NS portal (www.ns.sg).
AT AGE 17:
You will be asked to register for NS through the NS portal (www.ns.sg).
Complete your pre-enlistment documentation and book a date for your medical screening.
You are also advised to prepare for and take the three-station Individual Physical Proficiency Test before enlistment. You can apply for deferment if you are pursuing a full-time Diploma or taking your GCE A-level examination.
Generally, you can be granted deferment and an exit permit to pursue an overseas course if the bond is furnished and the course starts before you are 19.
Two months before your scheduled enlistment date, you will receive an Enlistment Notice, which will contain details of your enlistment date, reporting time and venue.
You are then required to report to the stated camp on your enlistment date.
AT AGE 21:
Singaporeans are only allowed to renounce their citizenship at 21 and if you have acquired citizenship of another country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
PRs who renounce their PR status without serving national service will also face adverse consequences, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in 2014.
Failure to serve national service will be taken into account when they subsequently apply to study or work in Singapore, or when they try to have their PR status reinstated, Dr Ng said.
ABOUT THE REPORT
A 19-year-old who was born in Singapore but moved to New Zealand when he was eight is seeking an exemption from national service (NS), reported a New Zealand news website.
Mr Brandon Smith (below), who lives in the city of Dunedin, was called up to report for a pre-enlistment medical screening here, reported stuff.co.nz.
He faces a two-year jail term and a $10,000 fine if he fails to comply.
Mr Smith, who holds dual citizenship but can only relinquish his Singapore citizenship when he turns 21, was quoted as saying that spending two years doing NS was "difficult and pointless".
He added that the NS allowance he would receive was not enough to cover food and rent while he stays in Singapore, and that he did not want to impose on his family.
As he is also unable to speak Mandarin, he claimed that he would treated as an "outsider" during NS.
Mr Smith's multiple applications to defer his NS call-up until the age of 21 have allegedly been rejected, even though his younger brother was granted a deferment.
His father, Mr Shane Smith, is a New Zealander who served in his country's air force. His Singapore-born wife, Cindy, is currently a permanent resident in New Zealand.
The senior Mr Smith has been in contact with MPs and the authorities in Singapore for years to help his son avoid NS, reported stuff.co.nz.
"Absolutely no one would accommodate us. It was always the same answer; 'We regret to inform you that Brandon has to serve national service'," the father said.
"Obviously for Brandon, it's not what we want. If he doesn't go back to Singapore to serve his NS, then he can never enter Singapore because he runs the risk of being arrested."