It's lucky that Corporal Tan won

Jan 16, 2009, The Straits Times Breaking News

Family wins suit By Selina Lum

THE parents of a former full-time national serviceman, comatose for more than three years after an incident in camp, have won their lawsuit against the Defence Ministry. The High Court decision paves the way for the family of Jeremy Tan, now 26, to seek disability compensation and medical benefits from Mindef.

On Aug 3, 2005, Mr Tan, then a corporal rostered as duty storeman at Seletar East Camp, was found unconscious at the foot of a building where his bunk was located on the third-level. The ministry classified Mr Tan's injuries as non-service related and stopped paying for his medical treatment at Tan Tock Seng Hospital from March 2007. But Justice Tay Yong Kwang ruled at the end of a four-day hearing that Mr Tan's injuries were 'attributable to service' and he was therefore entitled to a payout.

The case hinged on the interpretation of a provision in the Singapore Armed Forces (Pensions) Regulations, which provides for payouts to disabled servicemen. Lawyer Lau Teik Soon, acting for Mr Tan's parents, argued that when he was found with injuries at 6pm, Mr Tan's tour of duty had not ended. But government lawyers argued that even though Mr Tan was performing his national service, he was not doing anything related to his duty at the time. He was not at his place of duty and was last seen resting in his bunk. But Justice Tay said that the words 'attributable to service' can cover injuries caused while a serviceman is on standby duty and was not doing any particular work.

If Pte tan were to lose this case, can we conclude that our soldiers' working hours are from 8am to 5pm? I think Mindef needs to take a stand on this and spell it out clearly that a soldier is a soldier and not a clock watcher. Once he is in uniformed he is on duty and subject to military discipline even when he is on his way home. I could not believe that this case could reach a civil court for justice. What is going on man? We are going to depend on our soldiers and NSmen to fight 24/7 365 days a year and now we are quibbling when he is on duty and when he is not.


Anonymous said...

As a ex-serviceman,I congratulate warmly Pte Tan and his family for their victory.

Is the PAP government so short of fund that they decided to fight this case?I wonder?

With the influx of FTs,does the power that be know that NS men have legitimate unhapiness with the PAP,or as I believe,they truly and wholely live in ivory tower.

I hope that I am wrong,for the sake of this red dot.


redbean said...

let not anyone forget that national service is a sacrifice to the nation. it is not to be taken lightly and for granted.

Anonymous said...

perhaps we must ask, is our serviceman a professional soldier or not ?.
if not, why not and if so, no more question.


redbean said...

actually a soldier is a soldier, national service or regular no difference except one got lesser money.

Matilah_Singapura said...

What 'victory'? This poor sod is a slave of the state, who can be ordered at ANYTIME to die for his political master.

Fuck it people. Getting the medical paid for doesn't require a "celebration". That is what is SUPPOSE to happen.

redbean said...

one day this poor sod is going to get smart and start asking a lot of silly questions.

jasmine tan and family said...

Hi there, we're Jeremy tan's family members. Would like to thank you all for the concern regarding this matter. We are very touched by some of the comments and regards for Jeremy. We really appreciate it.

redbean said...

hi jasmine, welcome to the blog.

i couldn't believe that the case could go to court. during my time i think it would have been resolved long ago. where got 8 to 5 kind of soldiers? strange development.

chee hean needs to talk to his officers about this issue and get them back on the right track. he can't expect soldiers to say 'oh, it's past 5pm, i am off, don't call me.'