MHA civilian officer admits to exempting himself from IPPT for 3 years

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
Labin Ismail, 27, signed on with the Ministry of Home Affairs in November 2013 as a civilian officer after serving his full-time national service with the Singapore Police Force. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

While overseeing physical fitness testing for police national servicemen (PNSmen), a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) civilian officer changed his own records to exempt himself from the test.

In this manner, 27-year-old Labin Ismail was able to dodge taking the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) for three years. He also used the same tactic to exempt another man from taking the IPPT.

At the State Courts on Thursday (17 January), he admitted to one count of unauthorised modification of computer data – a breach under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

One count of modifying another person’s IPPT status will be considered for Labin’s sentencing.

Accused had access to IPPT system

The court heard that Labin signed on with the Ministry of Home Affairs in November 2013 as a civilian officer after serving his full-time national service with the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

He was appointed a PNSmen personnel officer and his responsibilities included overseeing the IPPT, medical reviews and remedial training for PNSmen.

As part of his duties, Labin had access to the computer system that maintained PNSmen’s records. He used the system for attendance taking, updating particulars and for uploading staff appraisal reports.

Labin soon discovered that he could also amend an individual’s IPPT status. He was also aware that one had to go through a proper application process to be exempted from IPPT.

On 9 January 2015, Labin accessed his own records and ticked the checkbox for “IPPT excused”. He also added the words “Excused IPPT” in the space for remarks with the intention of permanently exempting himself from having to take the IPPT.

In March 2016, Labin also changed the IPPT status of another person, Muhammad Syafiq Sa’at, to excuse him from the IPPT. The relationship between Labin and Syafiq was not revealed in court, neither was Labin’s motivation for excusing Syafiq from taking the IPPT.

The authorities were notified of the offence when Syafiq told them that he did not attend remedial training as he was unable to book his IPPT. Internal investigations then uncovered Labin’s involvement in January last year.

As a result of his actions, Labin was able to avoid doing his IPPT from 2015 to 2017. Labin will be sentenced on 25 January.

For the charge of unauthorised modification of computer material, Labin can be jailed up to three years and/or fined a maximum $10,000 on a first conviction.

More Singapore stories:

Youth who drove into Customs officer while fleeing over contraband cigarettes given probation

Woman found dead in Woodlands flat, suspect arrested for murder

Food products containing alcohol exempted from liquor control laws: MHA