The Straits Times reported today that despite the Defence Minister urging his Ministry and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to waive legal costs in PTE Lee’s case, the soldier’s family may still have to cough up some $6,000 because one of its officers, Major Chia Thye Siong, has not yet decided to waive the costs.
It had been previously pointed out that Chia was promoted from the rank of Captain to Major two years after the incident.
The broadsheet also reported that the officers involved faced SAF’s summary trial in 2013 and were convicted of negligence. Part of their punishment involved being redeployed to appointments that did not supervise soldiers in training or operations.
The dead soldier’s family yesterday clarified that they had not received any compensation from the Defence Ministry or SAF, but only a funeral grant. MINDEF confirmed to the newspaper that a one-off welfare grant of $20,000 was given to the family in 2012.
MINDEF further said that it offered compensation awards to the mother, Madam Felicia Seah, based on the “full extent of the compensation network”, which is generally two to four times the amount provided under the Work Injury Compensation Act.
That would be in the range of between $150,000 to $350,000.*
Meanwhile, Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has asked why the Prime Minister who is so easily available to foreign multi-national corporations’ CEOs, is not so to his own citizens.
Dr Chee said:
“Tesla car manufacturer Elon Musk says that he had called PM Lee about the $15,000-surcharge for electric vehicles in Singapore and that Lee had told him that “he would investigate the situation”. If this is true, it is commendable that the PM responded so promptly to Musk’s request.
But this morning I also read that Dominique Lee’s family had written – repeatedly – to Mr Lee: “We had even written to the Prime Minister several times, pleading for help in getting answers. All they did was to direct our questions to MINDEF for their reply. Such help is as useful to us, as a comb is to Michael Jordan.”
And then there’s Benjamin Lim’s case. We haven’t heard anything from Mr Lee on the unfortunate death of the boy. Why did the PM not weigh in on the matter when it was raised in Parliament? Was he even present?
Mr Lee must remember that he is Dominique’s Prime Minister, he is Benjamin’s Prime Mnister, he is our Prime Minister. He is not Elon’s Prime Minister.
I hope Mr Lee will respond to this awkward situation.”
*Compensation range estimation was derived by using Ministry of Manpower’s Work Injury Compensation Act calculator.
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