MINDEF takes a firm stand on those who commit offences under the Enlistment Act. Each case comes with its own circumstances which the Court will consider in deciding on the sentence.
Ang Lee Thye, along with the brothers Sakthikanesh and Vandana, have been convicted of committing Enlistment Act offences. Ang evaded NS for a period of about 23 years and 6 months. Despite being advised to return to resolve his offences, he chose to return to Singapore at an age when he could no longer be called up for NS at all, evading his NS obligations completely.
The brothers Sakthikanesh and Vandana evaded NS for a period of 5 years and 6 months, and 3 years and 4 months respectively. Sakthikanesh was aware of his NS obligations but chose to complete his university studies in India before returning to serve NS. Similarly, Vandana was aware of his NS obligations, as his father was in contact with the Ministry of Defence. Despite being aware of their NS obligations, they chose to evade NS to pursue their studies first.
It is important that NS has the support and commitment of all Singaporeans. To achieve this, we have to adhere to the fundamental principles of universality and equity in NS. If we allow Singapore citizens who are overseas to avoid 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.