Singapore—On Oct 1 (Thursday) a 28-year-old man admitted that he had spent 9 years, 11 months and 16 days outside the country in default of his obligations under the Enlistment Act.
Mr Basil Lim Boon Hoh, the son of a Singaporean man and a Malaysian woman, was born in Singapore. When he was a year old, however, he left the country to live in Malaysia, where he remained until he left for his university studies in the United Kingdom.
However, as a child, he used the Singaporean passport he had been given when he was 3 weeks old to travel in and out of Malaysia on numerous occasions.
Since his mother wanted to give him a choice of where he wanted to work later on in his life, Mr Lim also obtained an identity card from Singapore when he was a teenager.
He was also granted Malaysian citizenship at the age of 10
However, Mr Lim has never studied in Singapore.
According to the prosecution, Mr Lim knew about the national service requirement from his father, who had told him about it the year he turned 10. But at the age of 16, he was told by his mother that since he was a Malaysian citizen, he could set aside the mandatory NS requirement.
At the age of 16 and a half, when he was liable for National Service, Mr Lim not obtained and Exit Permit, moreover he did not report for national service registration. Further Reporting Orders were sent in 2009 to both the address where he was born and to his places of residence in Malaysia, which went unheeded. After this, a Stop List and Police Gazette was raised against him.
Mr Lim’s lawyer corresponded with the Central Manpower Base (CMPB), asking for a list of his offenses and for permission to renounce his citizenship in Singapore. The CPMB counseled him to come back to Singapore that the issue may be resolved but rejected his request.
On March 19, 2018, he emailed CPMB to say he would return to Singapore on March 27 of that year. He began serving his National Service at the Singapore Civil Defence Force on August 14, 2018, finishing on August 13, 2018.
He has said he wants to keep his Singapore citizenship and work in the country.
Regarding his offence under the Enlistment Act, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sean Teh says the prosecution is seeking five months and 18 days’ jail. His lawyer, Lim Kia Tong, is asking for only one month in jail for Mr Lim instead.
The lawyer said Mr Lim pleaded guilty to just to end the case, but some of the responsibility lies on the shoulders of his mother. She emailed the lawyer saying Mr Lim’s father left their family in 2003 and that she did not have complete information about the national service laws.
She admitted that she did not want her son to see any letters that referred to NS.
According to Yahoo News Singapore, she wrote to the lawyer, “I never told Basil anything about this or NS because I wanted him to stay with me and not go back to Singapore.”
Nevertheless, Mr Lim himself want to come back to Singapore after he graduated from university, even having arguments with his mother over the matter.
His lawyer also said that Mr Lim has diagnosed depression and anxiety due to his NS problem, and received treatment in both Malaysia and Singapore.
Mr Lim returns to court for sentencing on 15 October. He could be fined as much as $10,000 or receive a jail sentence of up to three years for each charge of failing to fulfil his liability under the Enlistment Act. -/TISG
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