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Commentary: Was yesterday’s IPPT cheating case partially contributed by a rigid system?

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By: Kheng-Liang Tan

Yesterday, 38 year-old Kho Puay Ming was sentenced to a jail term for helping some 70 NSmen take their IPPT test back in 2013 and 2014, where the ‘old’ 5-station IPPT was used.

Consisting of 5 stations, this ‘old’ IPPT required one to pass all the individual stations before that person can be deemed to have met his annual requirements.

While strength training could help in stations such as the 2.4 km run and Chin-ups, numerous have griped about the Standing Board Jump (SBJ), which is seen to utilise technique more than strength to do well.

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This is something personal to me; at my peak I was failing my IPPT because of it despite being able to run the 2.4km in less than 10 minutes.

Today, IPPT has been much more enjoyable for me under the new 3-station system. Without such complicated (to me) techniques, one would almost certainly equate effort directly to results.

And the rewards for such a new system is not too bad as well. Put in some effort and you could get a $200 incentive. Add in a little more and there’s a $300 for silver.

But this clearly wasn’t the case in the past. For me, the penalty for failing IPPT under the old system was tremendous – 20 remedial training sessions within a short span of time.

Two questions about the case then:

Numerous militaries around the world had already adopted simpler physical test structures much earlier. Had MINDEF taken into consideration massive feedback and considered accordingly, would such cases have been discouraged?

The penalty of having to do 20 RT sessions in such a short time frame is extremely for civilian NSmen. Had such (at least partially) incentivised them to paying someone to do their IPPT for them?

I cannot say for sure, but I’m sure there will be a lot less cheating cases with the new 3-station system.

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