Friday, September 11, 2009

Two-thirds of NSmen to get 20% hike in allowances

Two-thirds of NSmen to get 20% hike in allowances

SINGAPORE: About two-thirds of all National Servicemen will receive at least a 20 per cent increase in their allowances from next year.

The government accepted all the eighteen recommendations made by the Record V Committee to reward the NSmen for their contributions.

One of the recommendations included faster and larger rank allowance increments.

For those who take on more demanding combat roles, monthly allowances are expected to increase by S$100.

NSmen working in leadership positions and as warrant officers and specialists will witness a 5 to 35 per cent increase in rank allowances, whereas commanders will get an add-on allowance, pegged at 20 per cent of their key appointment allowance.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said that the changes have been made to recognise NSmen's sacrifices.

"They have many conflicting demands on their time, particularly nowadays, when life is much more fast-paced. They have their family, business and job commitments. And this is particularly demanding at a time when the economy is not doing so well," said Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Another signicant change would allow NSmen to bring work-related computing or mobile devices for use when they're not training.

"While the facilities at business centres are fairly basic now, with just a few terminals - after the changes, there will be far more terminals, perhaps up to 40, in some of the bigger centres. There will also be wireless access and equipment like photocopiers and fax machines. And there will also be the ability for NSmen to bring in their own devices such as Blackberries, for use within the centre," he added.

Supporting the change, a National Serviceman, Ridzuan Ismail, said, "I am going through my MBA programme and it's a company-sponsored programme so I have a lot at stake. Things like allowing me to bring in my laptop and accessing it through the business centre is very useful."

Further approved recommendations include improving fitness corners in public housing estates so that NSmen can better train for their IPPT or physical proficiency tests, and giving away vouchers to chalets and attractions to recognise the wider efforts of NSmen's families.

The changes are expected to be implemented in phases from October.

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