An Indian youth who is a permanent resident in Singapore is facing trial in a Court for defaulting on his compulsory national service obligations for more than five years and remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit.
25-year old Thirumal Pavithran has been charged in the Court with four counts of leaving Singapore without a valid permit before he eventually returned and started his full-time National Service (NS) in May 2017.
Notably, National Service is compulsory for male Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) who are above 18 years of age.
It was alleged that Thirumal has defaulted on his NS obligations for a total duration of five years, seven months and 16 days.
According to the charge sheets, Thirumal first left Singapore on November 1, 2010, for a period of 10 months and 27 days. He returned on September 28, 2011, but left Singapore again on October 5 that year, this time for a year and 11 days. He came back to the country on October 16, 2012.
On October 24, 2012, Thirumal left Singapore for three years, one month and 29 days. He came back on December 22, 2015, before going overseas eight days later, on December 30, 2015.
He came back to Singapore on July 8, 2016, and enlisted into full-time NS on May 13, 2017. He will finish his full-time service on Sunday, MINDEF confirmed.
For such kind of offences, the Attorney-General's Chambers pressed for a custodial sentence of 10 to 12 weeks' imprisonment.
“The Ministry of Defence takes a firm stand against those who commit offences under the Enlistment Act, said Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).
It has reminded all male Singapore citizens and PRs that they 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,” it said.
The case will come back to court on May 23. If found guilty, Thirumal will be liable to a maximum fine of SGD10,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both, for each charge.