According to shocking revelation by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in a written parliamentary response, 4% of every cohort become mentally ill after enlisting for National Service (NS) conscription in the past five years. The millionaire minister whose colleagues did not serve NS like Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Minister Janil Puthucheary, said the NSF conscripts who were certified mentally ill had to be downgraded after enlistment.
Minister Ng Eng Hen however dismissed the high mental illness rate as normal statistic and blamed the conscripts for their own mental illnesses:
“The majority were downgraded after the pre-enlistment check-ups before commencing their NS, and therefore the prevalence of mental disorders for national servicemen reflect that of the male population in Singapore…Pre-enlistees are exempted from NS if they are deemed to have severe mental illnesses that prevent them from performing their NS duties. From 2005 to 2015, about 400 pre-enlistees have been exempted from NS each year.”
Propaganda state media CNA had to engage several local military doctors to support the Defence Minister’s baseless claim, stating that the army had “sufficiently stringent measures” to prevent mental illness.
According to a 2014 statement by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, conscripts with mental illness will still need to serve NS:
“Under our present regime, there have been many national servicemen with mental health disorders who have completed their NS duties well.”