MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, Dr Janil Puthucheary was the Guest of Honour (GOH) for the 56th Specialist Cadet Graduation Parade last Thurs (17 Aug).
At Pasir Laba Camp, Dr Janil, who is also Senior Minister of State, conducted a parade inspection and gave a speech about building a “strong and credible SAF.”
“In the face of uncertainty and complex challenges, we must come together to ensure that our way of life is protected and defended well. Our soldiers here have very much demonstrated their commitment and their resolve to do so.”
However, having Dr Janil as the GOH has upset many national servicemen, who have called it disrespectful and offensive as Dr Janil refused to serve 2 years of national service.
Compulsory national service for Singaporeans had already been introduced when the Malaysia-born Dr Janil received his Singapore citizenship at the age of 35.
However, such compulsory national service does not apply to all male New Citizens.
Dr Janil dismissed the prospect of serving national service, saying that he “spent the last 10 years saving kids’ lives.”
In contrast, lawyer and former Workers’ Party MP Chen Show Mao, who was born in Taiwan, volunteered to do his national service before he became a Singapore citizen in 1986.
Eventually, after facing years of heckling from the Singaporean public, Dr Janil eventually did serve his 2-weeks of “national service” when he signed up for the first batch of Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) in 2015.