|Citizen NSmen to get $9k award|
By Gwendolyn Ng
SINGAPORE citizens who have served their national service will each receive $9,000 through a new award to be given by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef).
The National Service Recognition Award (NSRA) will help to fund the cost of operationally ready national servicemen's (NSmen's) education and also help them buy a home. Commanders will receive a larger sum.
This will be a token of appreciation for the time and effort citizens give to serve national service, he added.
Mr Lee said: "National service makes a heavy demand on male residents and, I should say, on their spouses and families, too."
He elaborated that male Singapore residents not only have to serve two years of full-time national service and many more years as an NSman, but also try to build their careers and raise their families.
The sum will be paid in tranches at significant milestones of an NSman's service.
It will be deposited into their Post-Secondary Education Accounts and Central Provident Fund accounts.
Mindef will announce details of the award soon.
The award is one of the measures Mr Lee highlighted in a bid to assure Singaporeans that citizens come first.
He added that permanent residents who have completed their national service will receive the award when they take up citizenship.
He was addressing the issue of competition from foreign talent, where he pointed out that it was "not practical to make foreign workers and adult immigrants do national service".
However, Mr Lee pointed out that many PRs and first-generation citizens also do their part by serving national service.
Other ways in which the Government recognises the contributions and sacrifices of NSmen is through providing them with Safra clubhouses, allowances, tax reliefs and top-ups in government bonuses.
The award is good news to 20-year-old NSman Benjamin Huang, who said: "It's good to know that the Government is appreciative of our efforts.
"This will definitely help me pay my school fees when I go to university next year."
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