20160402 Life of an NSF not worth $1 a day?

Mindef should issue an apology and pay fair compensation to the family of Dominique Lee. Stop rubbing salt into the wounds of Domique’s loved ones with half truths and motherhood statements. Period.

Between 1994 and 1998, there were 21 deaths attributable to training. This decreased to 16 deaths in the following 5-year period. The breakdown is given in Teo Chee Hean’s parliamentary reply **. (Read David L K See’s TOC article)

But since 2003, many NSFs have continued to be killed during training. link link link Is one death really too many or is this just lip service from our scholars?

How much compensation has been paid to the families of SAF’s victims? Rest assured they amounted to peanuts because Mindef applies the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) to determine compensation for deaths and injuries due to service.

Did the government legislate the application of WICA knowing full well compensation takes into account the employee’s average monthly salary and that the payout is likely to be peanuts for an NSF?

Source: MOM

In Dominique’s case, I believe MINDEF has offered a derisory amount in compensation based on a private’s allowance. It is unfair because it involves negligence.

Under WICA, MINDEF has the right and is likely to have paid the minimum compensation. This is because it has the upper hand: ordinary citizens do not have the means to engage in costly legal appeals.

Where NSFs are concerned, WICA should be thrown out of the window. Compensation should be uniform across the ranks, ie every NSF should be treated as equal and not be discriminated based on rank.

Instead of complicating a simple issue of death compensation, MINDEF should have taken up insurance policies for every NSF. Lawsuits are really unproductive and insurance is a win-win situation.

Every NSF should be insured for at least $250,000, if not $500,000, in high cost Singapore. Under Aviva’s “SAF Group Term Life Insurance”, a coverage of $1,000,000 costs $4.21 a day or about $1 a day for a $250,000 coverage.

Aviva insurance premium rates

Should MINDEF decide to insure every father’s mother’s son (group coverage), individual premiums should cost less than $1 a day for a $250,000 coverage in the event of death. Mindef’s total bill may come to less than $10 million a year, a drop in the ocean from the perspective of our $13.3 BILLION defence budget.

Such an insurance policy comes with other benefits such as death due to accident not related to SAF training, permanent disability benefits, etc.

Talk is cheap and MINDEF/ministers can continue talking about the sadness and regret of the whole SAF family or insist that all necessary support has been given to victims. At the end of the day it really means nothing to Dominique’s family and others who have been SHORTCHANGED by the government.

Death and injury cannot be totally prevented and the logical and only thing to do is to ensure adequate insurance coverage for every NSF. This will go a long way to ease the burden on family members of NSFs who are injured or died during their service to our country.

Is the life of an NSF not worth $1 a day?

RAdm Teo Chee Hean:

MINDEF has compiled the figures for number of injuries, and deaths due to training for the last 10 years. Over the past 10 years, an average of 3.7 deaths each year is attributable to training. Between 1994 to 1998, there were 21 deaths attributable to training. There were 16 deaths between 1999 to Oct 2003. Between 1994 to Oct 2003, there were 3,703 cases of injuries from all causes. This figure includes injuries not caused by training. For 2003, there were 256 injury cases of which 196 were training related. MINDEFs database captures data on hospitalisation since 2000. Based on our records for the past 4 years, an average of 8.6 servicemen were hospitalised each month due to medical conditions attributable to training. The available data does not differentiate between hospitalisation for periods of less than as compared to more than 3 days.

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11 Responses to 20160402 Life of an NSF not worth $1 a day?

  1. James says:

    Do you think the 70% dimwits understand? They are thinking that it won’t happen to their own children and grandchildren, so why raise their voices? It’s always somebody else’s problem. That is the Singapore culture and the set of values that the school system has indoctrinated.

  2. James says:

    Do you think the 70% dimwits care? All they know is that it didn’t happen to their children or grandchildren, so why raise their voices? It’s somebody else’s problem. That is the decadent Singapore culture and the set of values indoctrinated in the school system.

  3. George says:

    They need to save money to pay for all the ministers and the generals and the scholars. Not happy? Please emigrate.

  4. Xmen says:

    As usual, the numbers they provide don’t tell the full story. The size of the NSF pool today is significantly smaller than that of 1994. So what is the ‘normalized’ data on fatalities, disabilities, and injuries? How many of them were due to negligence? What is our safety record compared to other countries such as Switzerland, Taiwan, and Israel? If we are serious about addressing the issue, we need to do more than just talking!

  5. Lim Boon Tan says:

    All compensation to NS Men for death should be the same irrespective of ranks.
    NS is a requirement for men to defend Singapore fiat. A potential PhD may be a private in NS and an officer may be a diploma or A Level holder. They will have different potential income after ROD. The compensation cannot be equated to Workmen Compensation. An insurance should be taken by the government to cover at least S$250k in case of death in the course of duty.

  6. Anthony Wong says:

    Read from the army fb page that they offered 4-6 times the WICA rate to Dominique’s mum, and that it is based on regular pay rate, not NS allowance. How much does that sum up?

    • Phillip Ang says:

      Thanks for the info. Can you confirm 4-6 times of which rate.
      WICA max compensation for death is $170,000 in Dominique’s case.
      Based on Dom’s age, the multiplying factor should be 132. But it is not possible to calculate the exact sum without sufficient info.
      Is this a new offer after so much pressure from the public? Were others also given the same amount of compensation?
      WICA should not even be applicable as it allows MINDEF to negotiate from a low base and any much higher offer makes them seem generous. End result is still shortchanging NSFs’ families.
      There’s too little transparency, too much confusion by including NSFs compensation under WICA. Employees have a choice whereas NS is legislated.

  7. wongcheokwan says:

    …..”…insurance is a win-win situation..” ?? How much does insurance collects n payout ?

    • Phillip Ang says:

      Read in a recent ST article pays only $150000. So confirm life not worth $1 a day. 😦 Will blog about this again.

  8. wongcheokwan says:

    Sorry, i meant what is the profit margin and revenue for the insurance company.

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