Remarks by Minister Teo Chee Hean on the Death of 2SG Ong Jia Hui
First of all, I'd like to once again extend my condolences to the family and relatives of 2SG Ong Jia Hui. We should be grateful that there are people like 2SG Ong who are willing to come forward to take on the most demanding missions in the SAF. Especially during these times when we have extreme forms of terrorism and we need people like that to come forward to protect us and to take care of hostage situations that may arise.
The training for the people of the Special Operations Forces is very demanding, but it is also progressive. The selection is very rigorous and only the toughest people, mentally and physically, are accepted for training. We expect them to do things which ordinary civilians or even well-trained soldiers cannot do. That is because we expect them to operate in the most extreme and demanding circumstances.
Among the Special Operations Force, the Maritime Counter-Terrorism Group is the most demanding. What we expect them to do on land, we expect the Maritime Counter-Terrorism Group to do at sea. They may, for example, have to retake a ship in the open seas, be able to board it in a variety of ways. If it is a case of a passenger liner, you can understand that there may be thousands of lives at stake. If it is a tanker or LPG ship, the consequences will be terrible if they are unable to carry out their mission successfully. So they train very hard and they have to train very realistically for it. Training is very demanding. The equipment they carry is, again, well beyond what we can expect a normal soldier to carry. It is something that is necessary and which they have trained for in order to ensure mission success.
I am very grateful that there are people like 2SG Ong, men like that in the unit, who come forward to take on this demanding task. They know that at any moment, they may be called, and their lives are on the line. So they take training very seriously and they look after each other very seriously. If there are any shortcomings, if there are any persons who have failed to perform their duty properly, then of course, we will rectify this shortcoming. And the persons who have not performed their duties properly, they will have to be called to task.
The Coroner has made his findings. It is now up to the Attorney General, whether they have any basis to charge any of them. This is something we will have to leave to the Attorney General to decide.