Successful Canadian National Jailed for Evading NS, “Unfair Advantage” Cited for Prison Term

He shouldn’t be allowed to “cherry pick” when he goes for National Service, and his skipping of his “duty” gave him an “unfair advantage” over other Singaporeans.

Those were the reasons given for the 4 month jail term meted out to Canadian national Jonathan Tan Huai En.

The 28-year-old Singaporean had successfully received his Candian citizenship in 2005.

Tan moved to Canada with his family when he was 12 years old.

That was back in the year 2000.

His father, Senior Counsel and deputy chairman of Wong Partnership, Tan Chee Meng, stayed in Singapore to practice law.

Jonathan was supposed to serve his NS in Jan 8 last year as a preventive medicine technician.

In the years that he was away, he managed to earn 2 degrees and a job in a multi-national company in Canada.

Between December 2005 and June 2006, the Ministry of Defence sent him 3 notices to register for NS and medical screening.

In 2009, his father informed Central Manpower Base that Tan wanted to give up his Singapore citizenship, and asked if the latter’s NS obligations could be waived.

CMPB replied that Jonathan Tan would first have to serve NS before renouncing his citizenship.

The department also told Mr Tan Chee Meng that his son had been classified as a defaulter, and would have to return to Singapore as soon as possible.

It was only in May 2015 that Jonathan returned to Singapore for the purpose of visiting his grandfather.

He reported to CMPB and enlisted in January 2015.

He has since been jailed for fluting the Enlistment Act by remaining outside the Republic between Dec 22, 2004 and May 4, 2015 without an exit permit.

In sentencing, a district judge stressed that NS obligations apply to all eligible Singaporean males, and no one should be allowed to “cherry pick” when or whether he serves NS.

Even if one is residing overseas, he should return to fulfill his NS obligations to “negate any unfair advantage over his peers” from deferring NS for education or life pursuits, said the judge, noting that Tan had amassed two degrees and landed a career at a multinational company in Canada.

He plans to appeal against his sentence and is out on bail of S$10,000.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Russel Peters

    February 4, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    father Tan Chee Meng is senior lawyer and never advice son NOT to go AWOL???

    In the not so distant past, the father would have to be sent to firing squad for allowing son go AWOL. This Tan Chee Meng should be caned for doing so.

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