Singapore footballer and Fulham signee Benjamin Davis will not be allowed to defer his national service (NS) enlistment date if no new facts are presented in his appeal, said Senior Minister Of State for Defence Heng Chee How.
“We have conveyed the decision with regards to the earlier application, and all applications, all appeals will have got to be based on facts and we’ll have to evaluate the facts, and if the facts are no different then our position will be consistent,” said Heng, according to a Channel NewsAsia report on Tuesday (17 July).
“For a country like Singapore, we want to value every Singaporean and we want to develop our talent of course, but at the same time, we must also remember that the purpose for all this development is that we have a country and that all of us actually have a duty to one another and this country,” said the 57-year-old Member of Parliament for Jalan Besar GRC.
“So we have got to make a good balance between our duty to this country and our very genuine urge to enable everybody to reach their highest potential.”
Davis’ initial application for an NS deferment was rejected by MINDEF as he did not “meet the criteria for long-term deferment from full-time NS”, said the ministry in a recent statement. The Football Association of Singapore is currently assisting the 17-year-old Davis with an appeal against the decision.
Davis was born to an English father and a Thai mother and gained Singapore citizenship in 2009. He is the first Singaporean to be taken on professionally by a top-flight English football club, having inked a two-year scholarship deal with Fulham FC.
Davis’ father told Yahoo News Singapore on Monday that his son may consider switching nationalities if his NS deferment appeal is ultimately rejected.