The Govt cannot be sued?
In the latest incidents when two NSmen were killed while on training, someone pointed out that Ng Eng Hen, Defence Minister, said that the SAF/Mindef or the Govt cannot be sued for such accidents. In these two cases, both victims lost their lives because of breaches in safety procedures, which meant the incidents were more than just accidents. There were negligent or misconduct or serious violations of protocols involved. Is it therefore true that the Govt/Mindef/SAF cannot be sued for such incidents when they are more than accidents? I also read that though the officers involved could be court martialed, the police are also investigating and may commence to prosecute the officers involved. Does this mean that only the officers can be sued but not the organisation or Mindef/Govt? Aren’t the officers appointed by Mindef/Govt and the latter should be ultimately responsible for the officers’ conduct or wrongdoings? If Mindef/Govt is not responsible, does it mean that if the officers were found guilty, it is only between the officers and the victims to settle their grievance and compensation? Also, the NSmen are conscripted by law, by Mindef/Govt for national service and their welfare and well being must be the responsibility of Mindef/Govt? I think there must be a miscommunication or misquote of what Eng Hen had said. It is, from a layman’s understanding, that Mindef/Govt must be ultimately responsible for what happened to NSmen under its authority and administration. And that the people could seek redress and justice from the Govt in cases of injury or death and compensation.. It is frightening to know, if it is true, that Mindef/Govt is not responsible for the death of NSmen in active service. Where is the responsibility, who is responsible and where should the buck stop? Anyone can enlighten on the legal responsibility of Mindef/Govt when NSmen are injured or killed in active service? Responsibility and accountability are key to the actions and performance of an organisation. If an organisation is not accountable for any mishap or wrongdoing, you can expect that only lip service would be rendered at best. Only when someone’s head is on the chopping block would real actions be taken to be tip top and zero tolerance for accidents and negligence or failure to perform.