Hundreds of Singaporeans express outrage at MINDEF and SAF over latest training death

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Chief of Army Goh Si Hou (YT/FB screencaptures)

Hundreds of Singaporeans have expressed outrage at the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) over the death of Corporal First Class (National Service) [CFC (NS)] Pang Wei Chong, Aloysius.

Pang, an armament technician, and his unit had been undergoing their reservist training at the Waiouru Training Area in New Zealand. MINDEF revealed last night that Pang had been carrying out repair works inside a self-propelled howitzer with his team last Saturday when the gun barrel was lowered, crushing him.

Despite the best efforts of medical professionals, Pang succumbed to his injuries and passed away. The day before MINDEF announced Pang’s death, one of his siblings wrote on social media:

“We all broke down when the medical team spoke to us that his condition is worsening and we should be prepared for the worst. We’re going to lose a brother. And my parents are going to lose their precious son whom is only 28.”

Pang’s loss has devastated his family, friends, colleagues and countless fans who saw him grow up before their eyes, from when he joined Mediacorp as a child actor back in 1999.

The young man’s untimely passing has also sparked the fury of hundreds of Singaporeans who have asked MINDEF and SAF to be accountable over this latest training death. MINDEF has also been accused of deleting comments from their Facebook post announcing Pang’s death:

While some are calling for the resignations of Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Chief of Army Major-General Goh Si Hou, others have expressed concern over their sons who are serving in the forces or are set to enter the forces.

Still others have opined that NS/Reservist training is the main cause of death among young soldiers and noted that so many young men have died while serving their nation in recent months, in times of peace, not war:

In just the past one and a half years alone, at least eight young Singaporean men have died while serving their nation. At least five of these cases are accidents during training. None of these eight Singaporeans died on the battle ground:

Aloysius Pang is the 8th Singaporean to have died in the past 1.5 years while serving the nation