25-year-old Singapore permanent resident Thirumal Pavithran, who defaulted on his mandatory national service (NS) obligations, was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail for staying out of Singapore without a valid exit permit.
Pavithran, who is an Indian national born in India, received permanent residency in Singapore over twenty years ago, on 16 June 1997, when he was about three years old. He was educated in Singapore from 2001 to 2009.
In May 2009, he returned to India to complete his secondary education there. Two years later, in 2011, Pavithran was asked to register for NS in August but he failed to register. In September, he was sent another reporting order asking him to attend a medical screening at the Central Manpower Base (CMPB).
Curiously, Pavithran returned to Singapore 23 days later and stayed here for a week but did not comply with the orders before he returned to India. He came back to Singapore in October 2012 and was arrested a week later.
Later that month, Pavithran finally reported to CPMB and was deemed fit for full-time NS enlistment but he later contacted CMPB and requested a deferment so he could pursue tertiary education in India.
CMPB allowed Pavithran to defer until 31 May 2013 so he could complete his secondary education but stressed that he could not defer NS for university studies. He was then scheduled to enlist in June 2013.
Pavithran ignored this order and went ahead to enroll in university in India. He only returned to Singapore in June 2016, after completing his studies, and was enlisted into full-time NS, which he completed last month.
The Ministry of Defence takes a strict stance against those who evade NS or choose when they want to serve their obligations. It said in an earlier statement: “All male Singapore citizens and permanent residents have a duty to serve NS.
“If we allow Singapore citizens or PRs who are overseas to evade NS or to choose when they want to serve NS, we are not being fair to the vast majority of our national servicemen who serve their country dutifully, and the institution of NS will be undermined.”