NS men to get pay raise in April

NS men will receive a $60 increase in monthly allowance starting from April this year. (Yahoo! file photo)NS men will receive a $60 increase in monthly allowance starting from April this year. (Yahoo! file photo)

National servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force can look forward to a $60 pay raise across all ranks from next month.

Speaking in Parliament, Minister of State for Defence and Education Lawrence Wong said that the raise "goes one step further in signaling our acknowledgment of our servicemen's commitment and service".

With the latest revision, a recruit will receive a monthly pay of $480, up from the $420 which he currently receives.

Singaporeans currently serving their National Service welcomed the pay raise. Said Alvin Lim, 24: "I believe a lot of NS [National Service] boys will appreciate the increase, especially with food and entertainment getting more expensive."

He added that increase is good because it "shows appreciation for the boys serving the nation".

Similarly, 23-year-old Bai Hong Fu voiced his approval of the move. "It's good, because currently the pay is quite low, especially for corporals. It's not enough for them to survive in society now because they need to pay for food and everything," he said, although he added that the increase could have been of a higher amount.

However, others like M. Tan feel that although the pay raise is welcomed, it does not change the fact that national service is not as difficult as people make it out to be.

"Increasing pay does seem to ease the process of serving for one year ten months to two years. But it makes NS [National Service] life seem easier than it already is. Our generation is one that cannot take suffering," the 22-year-old said.

Current and revised NS rank allowance per month. (source: MINDEF)Current and revised NS rank allowance per month. (source: MINDEF)

Wong also said that the government has other recognition schemes in place, such as the National Service Recognition Award (NSRA) to recognise national servicemen through their training cycle.

In addition, the ministry is also exploring other methods of extending professional development opportunities to regular servicemen.

"The increase in NS rank allowance reaffirms the key role that National Servicemen play in safeguarding the sovereignty and security of Singapore as we mark 45 years of NS this year," said the Ministry of Defence.

According to MINDEF, the allowance for national servicemen was last reviewed in 2009, when it was increased by $20.

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