Warrant officer asked to retire 5 years earlier
Tue, Nov 06, 2007
The Straits Times
I WAS a regular serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). I served a total of 32 years, comprising full-time national service, reservist and regular service, from 1974-2006.
I was one of more than 200 regular servicemen and women in the Army who were notified in May last year that we would be given Special Early Transition. Some of the reasons cited included difficulty in offering us 'suitable jobs' in the long run, restructuring and possible 'stagnation'. We were given only six months to transit.
Having attained the rank of a warrant officer in 2001, it meant that I was able to serve till the compulsory retirement age (CRA) of 55. I transitted last November after just turning 50, five years short of the CRA.
The Control of Personnel Centre announced that we were not under-performers. I was still PES 'B' and I received my performance bonuses annually without fail. I had also met all other requirements, i.e., Individual Physical Proficiency Tests, Annual Trainfire Programme, Body Mass Index, and Annual Proficiency Knowledge Test.
I also did not have any discipline or medical problems. The latter meant that I was still combat fit and still deployable. There are some who have not conformed to one or more of these requirements and yet are still serving in the organisation.
Till today, I am still somewhat in a state of depression at how the organisation had overlooked all my years of loyal and dedicated service.
The SAF Management Philosophy states:
'The SAF is concerned with the well-being of its people and their families, the SAF values its people, looks after them and their families so that they can give wholehearted attention to their assigned duties.'
The Defence Minister himself said last year:
'Every soldier is precious to us. Every national serviceman, every operationally ready national serviceman, every regular who serves with us is a precious and valuable person.'
The organisation failed to honour its word to allow me and many others to serve till the CRA of 55. I have a wife and two young children still attending school.
Second Warrant Officer (Retired)