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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

Keeping sons safe

It must have been tough for the Defence Minister to tell Parliament about SAF safety breaches. So many soldiers involved! Driving without a licence, not belting up – the Traffic cops would have a field day if they were normal motorists! Then anyhow throwing smoke grenades…

I commend Mindef though for coming clean on the death of two Singapore sons. The commanders have been removed, named and shamed. But I’m not sure that the public is convinced that the SAF has a tight safety culture. There were 100 calls to the safety hotline, Dr Ng Eng Hen, but the Chief of Army says the problem in the camp where the vehicle overturned is an isolated problem. What does that mean? That the calls were all made from one camp? Methinks this needs clarification. What were those 100 calls about? How were they checked up? What are the military penalties for those caught by the safety inspectorate for flouting safety rules? What are “routine’’ inspections. How “routine’’?

I think more reassurances are in order, even though there are just two training deaths a year. I mean, tell that to the families affected. It’s not a statistic, it’s a son or brother. And I am not sure what to make of the mother’s comment that she wasn’t offered an apology for what happened. Sorry cannot be too hard to say in this case, unless Mindef is worried about liability issues…

There’s still a third death to be investigated, the soldier who drowned in a river in Brunei. Now is this going to be yet another safety breach? Not in-camp, but abroad? Sigh.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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