Questions on SAF training deaths and safety issues to dominate Parliament sitting on Monday

FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

Questions on Singapore Armed Forces-related (SAF) training incidents and safety procedures are set to dominate the next Parliament sitting on Monday (11 February).

The death of actor Aloysius Pang on 23 January, after the 28-year-old suffered serious injuries during a training exercise in New Zealand on 19 January, has again put the spotlight on training safety in the SAF. Pang, an operationally-ready national serviceman, was an armament technician from the 268th Battalion, Singapore Artillery carrying out maintenance in a Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer (SSPH) when the accident happened.

His death was the fourth training-related death for SAF personnel since September 2017. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen will deliver a ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday to address the recent training deaths and measures to enhance safety in the SAF.

Questions on safety manuals, safety-culture survey, design review

There are 20 questions tabled by Members of Parliament on this issue.

Joan Pereira, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, asks how often are all safety manuals for training revised and updated across the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), and whether near-miss incidents due to safety lapses are reportable to superiors to plug any loopholes in the manuals.

Chong Kee Hiong, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, asks whether there will be a review to examine the “deeper reasons” for the increase in the number of SAF training deaths in recent years.

Nominated Member of Parliament Irene Quay asks if Mindef will conduct annual safety-culture survey on SAF soldiers on an anonymous basis to understand safety concerns experienced by soldiers of all ranks.

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Daniel Goh also wants to know if the SSPH would have its design reviewed to determine possible flaws, which may have contributed to Pang’s eventual death.

Besides the queries on SAF training safety measures, other issues slated to be raised in Parliament on Monday include the loss of GCE O Level examination answer scripts in the UK, and complaints on the service quality of national postal agency SingPost. 

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