MINDEF Remains Firm On Its Stance Regarding Ben Davis’ Deferment

Dr Ng Eng Hen Gives 3 Reasons For Rejecting Ben Davis’ Deferment Application

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen was questioned in Parliament today (6 Aug) regarding the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)’s decision to reject Ben Davis’ deferment application.

17-year-old Ben Davis was offered a contract by Premier League side, Fulham Football Club (FC) in late June but was not granted deferment for his National Service (NS).

The saga has led to a back and forth between Mr Harvey Davis, Ben Davis’ dad, and MINDEF.

But if today’s parliamentary seating is anything to go by, MINDEF has no indication of backing down from their stance.

Dr Ng mentioned 3 reasons for MINDEF’s decision, watch in full here. We summarise his points below.

1. Not representing Singapore

“Mr Ben Davis is playing for Fulham FC as an English national, not a Singaporean citizen”, said Dr Ng when responding to questions from MPs during a parliamentary seating on 6 Aug.

He went on further to say that even though the MINDEF was not privy to the contract, they assumed that the information published on the club’s website was correct.

And that Mr Harvey Davis – Ben Davis’s father – must have his reason for doing so.


2. Unable to indicate when he will serve NS

Dr Ng also said that Mr Harvey Davis failed to indicate when Ben Davis would return to serve his NS obligations.

This was due to the unpredictability of Ben’s football career, where he could be given a new contract or sent out on loan to other clubs in the future.

Dr Ng elaborated that if Ben is unwilling to forgo his senior contract now, which comes with an weekly allowance of a few hundred pounds a week in order to serve his NS, it would be even more unlikely for him to return if he gets offered a much more lucrative contract later on.

Mr Harvey Davis also mentioned that should Ben not receive a new contract from Fulham FC, he might look into sending his son on loan to other clubs.

3. Signed contract in spite of rejected deferment application

MINDEF is of the opinion that Ben Davis seems to have little regard for the result of his deferment application, due to his decision to sign the Fulham FC contract despite having his deferment application rejected.

Mr Harvey Davis said that his son will only return to serve his NS obligations only if his footballing career turns unsuccessful.

He added that he may also considerate having his son renounce his Singapore citizenship in order to pursue his football career, in view of his rejected deferment application.

Sporting excellence still attainable

Dr Ng also brought up the point that talented athletes have been able to improve their game while serving their NS.

He referred to the example of Fandi Ahmad’s two sons, who are headed for trials at Sporting Braga and Saifullah Akbar, who’s invited for trials at Spanish second division side, Tenerife.

In fact, some athletes have requested for earlier NS enlistment, presumably to finish their NS obligations early so that they can pursue their sporting careers.

Do you agree with Dr Ng’s reasons? Let us know down below.

Featured image from Channel NewsAsia.

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