Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mindef admitted too late to report training incident in Thailand

Singapore Ministry of Defence (Mindef) admitted they should have issued a public statement immediately after two SAF personnels, training in Thailand, were accidentally shot by local Thai villagers.

In the first report published on Straits Times on May 25, a Thai farmer had fired his shotgun at 1SG Woo Teng Hai while out on a night exercise in Thailand, resulting in the latter's right eye blinded. A day later, the paper reported that in fact a second serviceman had also been shot - a full-time national serviceman, PTE J. Pritheery Raj. If not for a relative of PTE Raj calling the paper after reading the first report, this second case would not have surfaced. Both incidents happened on March 13.

Why did the Mindef not keep the public informed on the incidents? Were there more such similar cases gone unreported?

Reply from Mindef:

The Singapore Armed Forces' immediate priority following any incident is to attend to the needs of the affected servicemen and to keep their families informed.

Mindef could have done better by multitasking, attending the needs of the affected servicemen while keeping the public informed.

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