Singapore sentences man who evaded conscription to 45 days in jail

National Service, or military training followed by reservist status until 40 years was made compulsory in 1967.

A Singapore court has sentenced a young man who evaded National Service duty to one month-and-a-half in prison.

An appeal court accepted the prosecutors' demand to award jail term overturning an earlier verdict of S$4,500 fine.

The defendant, 25-year-old Brian Joseph Chow, had left Singapore to study in a school in Australia when he was 15.

Chow was called up for national service duty three years later. The student, who has attention deficit disorder, applied for deferment of NS duty in 2009, but was declined, Today Online reported.

Chow returned to Singapore after graduating from the University of Western Australia in 2013, the report said. He then completed his duty in 2015.

Justice Chan Seng Oon considered his "outstanding performance" in handing out a sentence of less than three months.

The court rejected the defendant's request for deferment of the sentence as he had dodged national service duty for six years.

National Service in Singapore

The Enlistment Act has made conscription mandatory for all male citizens above 16.5 years of age, including second-generation citizens. The PR conscription terms stipulate that all male children who are under the sponsorship of permanent resident parents must serve in the armed forces.

National Service -- or military training followed by reservist status until 40 years (in some case 50 years) -- was made compulsory in 1967.

Exemption from military service is rare and is granted only in cases of serious physical disabilities. Those who default on service face up to three years in jail and S$10,000 in fines.

However, second generation PRs can avoid national service by renouncing their PR status. The defence ministry said in 2012 about a third of second generation PR holders choose not to serve, relinquishing their right to stay, study an work in the country.

The mandatory conscription law was enacted after the British withdrew troops and closed its bases in the island country. Revered first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew made the announcement in his historic Toa Payoh Community Centre speech in February 1967.

Conscription was, however, not a new concept in Singapore. It existed from the British colonial times and has historiclly faced objection from the locals.

Resistance to conscription had set off riots in 1954 and 1955. The passage of the mandatory National Service bill in 1967 also triggered protests.

The city state of about six million has a highly advanced armed forces and its military spending has dwarfed those of bigger regional powers like Malaysia and Indonesia in recent years.