PM Lee Speaks Up About Aloysius Pang’s Passing

3 weeks after Aloysius Pang’s death, PM Lee gave his take on the recent Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training-related deaths that have caused distress among many Singaporeans.

In his Facebook post, PM Lee assures Singaporeans that the SAF treats safety very seriously, and repeated Minister Ng Eng Hen’s promise to strive for 0 training fatalities.

Here’s his post in full, we also break it down for you after the jump.

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Incidents are “very painful”

Mr Lee started his post by touching on the recent training incidents that have caused “precious lives” to be lost, and how this has affected all Singaporeans.

Describing these incidents as “very painful”, he notes how “heartbreaking” these must have been to Singaporeans, especially for the families involved.

He also acknowledged that when this occurs to a public figure like Mr Pang, the “emotional impact is greater, and the loss is even harder to take”.

SAF places “enormous emphasis” on training safety

Despite recent incidents, PM Lee wrote in his post that the SAF places “enormous emphasis” on training safety.

According to PM Lee, after every fatal accident, the SAF carries out investigations to identify the cause of the incident. And when causes are identified, the SAF takes steps to improve its processes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Even though having 0 fatalities sounds like it might be impossible, PM Lee hopes that the SAF will strive towards it, because “every life is precious”.

PM Lee draws on his personal experience as a commander in the SAF

PM Lee then went on to speak about his personal experience. During his early days as a unit commander, he was responsible for his men’s training, safety and welfare.

This, to him, was similar to “standing in” for his servicemen’s parents.

Then, when he served on the General Staff, PM Lee was directly involved in the aftermath of SAF training incidents. In his words, some of his responsibilities included:

  • Deciding what needed to be fixed
  • Deciding if anyone should be punished
  • What the SAF should continue doing and what it should stop
  • How to account to the bereaved families
  • How to keep servicemen safe while fulfilling the SAF’s mission

Now as Singapore’s PM, he believes that he’s staffed the Ministry of Defence with competent leaders capable of answering to the Singaporean public whenever an accident occurs.

This, in his opinion, is important for the SAF to maintain public confidence and support.

In his words,

I can therefore assure you that i and the SAF leadership take safety with utmost seriousness. It was so when I was there, and I am confident it is even more so today.

“We cannot outsource our security and defence“

Moving on, PM Lee once again reiterated the importance of having a capable defence force.

Despite the tragic incidents of late, the SAF must continue training and realising its operational obligations.

That’s because

We cannot outsource our security and defence to anyone else.

According to him, we have a “strong and well-trained” defence force to thank for the peace, security, and good international ties that we enjoy today.

PM Lee hopes S’poreans can see things in perspective

In conclusion, PM Lee took the opportunity to thank Singaporeans for their support towards the SAF, and in particular our national service.

He hopes that Singaporeans will be able to see things in perspective the next time “something goes wrong”.

Even though we shouldn’t ignore the SAF’s imperfections, we should not forget the SAF’s progress over the years, and the vital part it plays in keeping our country safe.

Featured image from Prime Minister’s Office Singapore.