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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 22 Jan 2006

700,000 serving and ex-NSmen may get 40th NS anniversary bonus



RECORD IV Unveils Recommendations to Recognise Contributions of NSmen in Securing Singapore's Peace and Stability
The Fourth Committee to Recognise the Contributions of Operationally Ready NSmen to Total Defence (RECORD IV) unveiled its recommendations during a press conference at SAFRA Mount Faber on 19 Jan 06.
To tie in with the upcoming 40th anniversary of NS in 2007, the Committee recommended a 40th NS Anniversary Bonus for 700,000 serving and ex-NSmen.
This bonus should be given as part of the next surplus sharing exercise to recognise the dedication and sacrifice of all NS men in securing Singapore¨s peace and stability. For the first time, full-time NS men will also be eligible for this bonus.
A new Operationally Ready NS (ORNS) Completion Award has also been proposed. If implemented, 20,000 ORNS each year will receive this award on completion of all their ICT requirements. The Committee also recommended more allowances and tax relief for NSmen who are key appointment holder.
RECORD IV has proposed that a new SAFRA clubhouse to be built closer to those in the Western part of Singapore. A tentative site in Jurong has been identified. The Committee also recommended major upgrading for the existing clubhouse in Toa Payoh to ensure its relevance and attractiveness to NS men and their families.
In recognising the important role of all Singaporeans to the Total Defence effort, RECORD IV has recommended for this engagement process to be stepped up.
These include regular dialogue sessions with a wider representation of society, and the establishment of a formal advisory committee for public engagement. ACCORD should be expanded to perform this role.
In this regard, a Museum would also be useful to showcase the history of NS. This will serve as a learning institution for all Singaporeans so that they can better appreciate the crucial role that NS plays in national defence.
Other proposed measures will help facilitate the transition after full-time National Service to further studies or employment. These include improving access to upgrading modules under the e-PREP scheme.
Excellent performance should also be highlighted in the Certificate of Service to identify leadership potential to employers. Exit control requirements should also be simplified if operational readiness is not compromised.
The RECORD IV committee comprising 18 members representing various segments of our society held extensive consultation exercises with NSmen, their spouses, employers over a four-month period.
Public feedback was also sought via the RECORD IV website. Feedback and suggestions were forthcoming and due consideration was given to them in coming up with the final recommendations.
RECORD IV has presented the report and recommendations to the Minister for Defence, Mr Teo Chee Hean, for the Government¨s consideration. Hardcopies of the report will be made available from March 2006 onwards at the SAFRA and Home Team NS clubhouses, as well as public libraries.
More..... (Minister's Statement)

Source: News Release 19 Jan 2006

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