Straits Times: NS50 celebrations went very well: Ng Eng Hen

As the year of celebrations marking 50 years of national service comes to an end, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said he was encouraged by the ground-up response, and re-emphasised the need for Singapore to be defended by ordinary Singaporeans.

Dr Ng, who is a Member of Parliament for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, was speaking to the media after giving out awards at Toa Payoh Central's annual Polytechnic and Higher Nitec Edusave Awards, and CDC-CCC Bursary Awards Presentation Ceremony yesterday.

A total of 69 awards were given at the ceremony at Shaw Theatres - Lido Cineplex, the first time the constituency held the award ceremony in a movie theatre. Recipients and their families later watched the movie Ah Boys To Men 4.

Dr Ng said: "I thought NS50 went very well, looking back at the whole year... I particularly like NS50 because there was a lot of ground-up response, whether it's this show, or employers stepping up to say, 'I want to be part of your NS50 voucher scheme.'"

The Defence Minister added that the NS50 celebrations this year marked the right tone as Singaporeans themselves recognised the importance of being committed to national service. "Because ultimately, without national service, we can't have an SAF."

He added: "The fact that you have a terrorism threat and you have other security challenges, these drove home the point that Singapore needs to be defended by ordinary Singaporeans who do their national service, as well as under Total Defence, with employers and families."

The ceremony also saw Edusave awards being given to polytechnic students, with 35 of them receiving the awards yesterday.

A PART FOR EVERYONE

The fact that you have a terrorism threat and you have other security challenges, these drove home the point that Singapore needs to be defended by ordinary Singaporeans who do their national service, as well as under Total Defence, with employers and families.

DEFENCE MINISTER NG ENG HEN, on the importance of national service.

One of the prize winners, full-time national serviceman and Temasek Polytechnic graduate Zulhafiz Zulkifli, 21, said it was a privilege to receive the Edusave award.

He has been living in a one-room rental flat with his mother and two younger brothers for the past five years after his parents separated when he was in Secondary 3.

"I hope this award is the first step to getting more awards and scholarships in the future," said Mr Zulhafiz, who hopes to become an officer in the military.

The film's director, Jack Neo, and members of the cast were also at the event.

Lim Min Zhang