In parliament earlier today, Ng Eng Hen, the Minister for Defence, provided a detailed update in parliament on the circumstances leading to the death of NSman, Aloysius Pang. Ng also informed that the State Coroner is unable to launch its own investigations into the death it had happened overseas and it has no jurisdiction over the matter. The Special Investigation Branch (SIB), which has jurisdiction, under military law, to investigate the incident, will do so.

In a related speech, Ng also apologised for the four recent NSmen deaths and assured that Mindef and the SAF will hold themselves accountable for all the NSmen entrusted to them.

Ng should take a look at himself in the mirror and ask himself what he has done wrong. The culture of safety is everyone's responsibility but it starts from the top. Even if the men raise safety issues, the threat or danger will not be mitigated unless the higher-ups do their due dilligence and honestly follow-up on the feedback.

It is unfortunate that the State Coroner cannot launch its own investigations but these are legalities that need to be taken into account. The State Coroner does not have any links to Mindef or the SAF, and hence, would have been seen by the public to be more independent than SIB.

Good sense must prevail and if laws allow for it to do so, then State Coroner should have sight of the findings and be able provide its own expert opinions.

The COI and SIB must do what's right and just for Singaporeans to do their jobs as independently as possible. Parents and parents-to-be in Singapore need to know that they will not lose the sons that they've sent away to serve the country.


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