Friday, November 16, 2012

Families of dead servicemen to receive compensation: Mindef

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has said it will strengthen training safety in the light of lapses leading to the deaths of two full-time national servicemen this year.

Private Dominique Sarron Lee, 21, died on April 17 after he experienced breathing difficulties during a training exercise at the Murai Urban Training Facility in Lim Chu Kang. On May 11, Third Sergeant (3SG) Tan Mou Sheng, 20, died after the jeep he was in overturned in the Marsiling training area.


According to a statement by the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), the family of the deceased serviceman will receive a lump sum death gratuity, equivalent to 12 months of the last drawn monthly gross salary of a regular of equivalent rank.

This sum is outside of the compensation framework.

Under the Mindef framework, a sum will be awarded to the family if the death was due to service.

The spokesperson said the amount is consistent with the principles adopted by the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA) and the civil courts, declining to reveal the exact amount due to MINDEF policy.

In addition, if the death had occurred during military training, the family will also receive a Special Award that effectively doubles the total compensation award, compared to what is prescribed under WICA.

For the cases which have resulted in the two deaths, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said "due process" would be followed, whereby the chief military prosecutor would decide - based on military investigations - if the cases are to be put to a general court martial.

He said that the findings of police investigations would be submitted and a decision made later whether there will be any civil prosecution. A coroner may decide to hold an open inquiry as well, he added.

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