Ben Davis NS deferment: MINDEF talking rubbish?


MINDEF’s reasons and excuses for not granting NS deferment to Ben Davis don’t make sense leh?

I refer to the article “Ben Davis has no intention to fulfil NS duties; actions meant to further his professional career: MINDEF” (Channel NewsAsia, Jul 18).

It states that “The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) revealed on Wednesday (Jul 18) that Harvey Davis, the father of Fulham footballer Benjamin Davis, “would not commit to a date” on when his son intended to return and serve his national service (NS) during the deferment application process.”

In this regard, according to the article “Ben Davis’ father: It’s ‘unfortunate’ that MINDEF thinks my son would not return to serve NS” (Channel NewsAsia, Jul 18) – “Harvey Davis, the father of Singaporean footballer Ben Davis, said in a statement on Wednesday (Jun 18) that it is “unfortunate” that the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has an impression that his son would not return to Singapore to serve his National Service (NS).

“There are a lot of variables all dependent on his development and progression, and anyone who understands how professional football and sports works will understand this,” Mr Davis said in a media statement.

“In my discussions with SportSG and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), I was clear that Ben should do his NS but the question is just when,” he added.

“This point was reiterated in an email response which was sent to MCCY on May 15. In that email, I had said very clearly that while renunciation was an option, it is not Ben’s intention at all as he would like to represent Singapore.””

As to “Mr Davis also said that he made it clear that he agreed “100 per cent” that his son should do his National Service: “My older boy has already completed his NS and both Ben and his younger brother Jai will also complete their NS. The only question is timing for Ben as we would like to give him the best opportunity to play at the highest possible professional level in the UK and Europe.

“If Ben does not get a renewed contract or new contract by May 2020 then he should return to serve his NS” – I was talking to some friends and they said “aiyah MINDEF is talking rubbish lah – his father is being honest, and saying that if he does not get a contract – then he will return to serve NS by May 2020 – but if he gets a contract – he will return after the end of this contract

why did MINDEF conclude that he “would not commit to a date” and use this like an after-thought excuse for not granting deferment because he “would not commit to a date”?

So, what does MINDEF expect his father to say given the circumstances?

That he will return to do his NS by say 2023 (assuming a prediction that his contract is expected to expire then)?”

With regard to “Mr Davis said that he has not met with anyone from MINDEF and was not aware of what was presented by MCCY to MINDEF with regard to his son’s request for deferment” – my friends said “can MINDEF now please confirm whether they did communicate directly with him?

And if not, why not?

If there was indeed no direct communication as is now alleged by the father – how on earth did MINDEF come to the conclusion that he “would not commit to a date”?

In respect of “In a reply to media queries, MINDEF added that Benjamin went on to sign the contract despite the rejection for deferment and noted that the senior Davis has publicly stated that he would encourage his son to renounce his citizenship in order to pursue his career” – my friends’ said “this one is even more ridiculous – as what does MINDEF expect his father to do – don’t sign the contract (and throw his son’s future into the drain!) – of course any father would just sign first so that at least he can appeal to MINDEF and still keep the possibility alive lah”

this kind of reasoning and excuse from MINDEF is really lame lah!

As to “”(Benjamin’s) actions are meant to further his own professional career, not national interest. As his father openly admitted, he is looking out for his son’s future, not Singapore’s,” said MINDEF” – my friends said “this one lagi best and classic lah – what’s so wrong with a father saying that “he is looking out for his son’s future” – does MINDEF really expect him to wayang and jia jia say “Oh I am looking out for Singapore’s future, more so than my son’s!””

With regard to “”To allow deferment for this type of appeal, would severely undermine the ethos and sacrifice of Singaporeans who have all put aside their personal interests to complete their NS duties.”

The note, which was seen by Channel NewsAsia, said Davis signing of a contract with Fulham is a “personal pursuit” which is “no different from the personal pursuits by other pre-enlistees like university studies or working in other professional fields”” – my friends said “double standard lah – can MINDEF please explain the apparent double standard in cases like “Patrick Tan was granted disruption for 12 years from NS in 1988.

Prior to his disruption, Dr Patrick Tan completed his Basic Military Training and Officer Cadet Course (Junior Term) with the rest of his cohort.

A President’s Scholar, Dr Patrick Tan’s NS Service was subsequently put on hold for 4 years, so he could study for a pre-medical degree in Harvard University.

He then went on to complete his combined MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Programme in Stanford University.

Dr Patrick Tan served his remaining NS term as a Defence Medical Scientist when he returned to Singapore in 2000” (“7 Successful National Service Deferment & Disruption Cases” (mustsharenews, Jul 16).

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.