Speech by Mr. Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC at the Second Reading of the Home Team Corps Bill [Bill No. 26/2017]
Madam, I commend the great work by NPCC and NCDCC in fostering a sense of national identity and civic-consciousness in our students from a young age. I have met many young residents who have benefited from these programmes, both in self-development – developing skills such as leadership – and in building empathy to serve the community.
I understand that these uniformed groups are a great avenue for our young to gain exposure on the public service, and perhaps to spark their interest in this career when they are older.
From what I gather after speaking to some students, NPCC and NCDCC are CCAs, which are rather sought-after and have competitive entry, thus I take this opportunity to commend the good work by the Home Team in taking these CCAs to great heights.
Enrolment of non-citizens/PRs
I note that under Clause 9, non-citizens and non-PRs are generally not able to enroll as a cadet or officer – except with the approval of the Minister.
Can the Minister share under what circumstances will these applications be approved and whether there is an appeal process?
The feedback I have received about this is mixed.
On one hand, there are foreign students in our schools and there is a need to promote diversity in the wider society. It would seem beneficial to exercise leniency in allowing for exceptions. By not allowing non-citizens and non-PRs to enroll as a cadet or officer, we run the risk of teaching our students to see their foreign peers from a young age through the lens of ‘us versus them’.
On the other hand, some are uncomfortable with sharing sensitive information with foreigners about how our Home Team operates.
Some are even more uncomfortable with them having a chance to learn about and fire our weapons.
As such, I hope the Minister can provide some clarity on how applications by non-citizens and non-PRs will be considered.
Number of spaces in uniformed groups
Lastly, as mentioned earlier, NPCC and NCDCC are CCAs, which are rather sought-after. Will there be any plans to increases the number of spaces available for these 2 CCAs?
Madam, I stand in support of the Bill.