#HormatSAF: Singapore Celebrates SAF Day, And 40 Years Of Total Defence

#HormatSAF: Singapore Celebrates SAF Day, And 40 Years Of Total Defence

Raising a salute of respect — “#HormatSAF” — to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Prime Minister Lawrence Wong posted on X a photo of himself in military uniform with soldiers.

connectedtoindia.comUpdated: Monday, July 01, 2024, 03:14 PM IST
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Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong celebrates SAF Day in military uniform. Photo courtesy: X/@LawrenceWongST |

Singapore is celebrating SAF Day today; and this year’s July 1 is a special day, as it also marks 40 years of Total Defence, the well-knit programme that has kept this tiny island nation secure from external aggression.

Raising a salute of respect — “#HormatSAF” — to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Prime Minister Lawrence Wong posted on X a photo of himself in military uniform with soldiers. He wrote: “Happy SAF Day to all NSF, regulars and NSmen! Thank you for your commitment and dedication to serve and protect Singapore. #HormatSAF @mindefsg”

In a related post this morning, PM Wong wrote: “This year marks 40 years of Total Defence. It’s a significant milestone that signifies how far we have come. It’s also a reminder of our collective responsibility — we must all do our part to ensure that Singapore remains safe, secure & resilient! #TotalDefence40”

Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and First Lady Jane Ittogi participated in SAF Day celebrations today. Former Prime Minister and current Senior Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on X: “Peace depends on effective deterrence & defence, which is only possible with a strong SAF.

Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and First Lady Jane Ittogi participate in SAF Day celebrations. Photo courtesy: X/@mindefsg

Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and First Lady Jane Ittogi participate in SAF Day celebrations. Photo courtesy: X/@mindefsg |

Explaining the concept of Total Defence, the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) website said: “Since its launch in 1984, Total Defence has rallied Singaporeans together in responding to challenges that threaten Singapore’s independence and well-being, such as terrorism, SARS and economic downturns. The core message is that every Singaporean has a part to play to help strengthen our defences against these threats and challenges.”

Singapore National Service is a part of Total Defence, requiring “male Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs)” to be enlisted and trained. “National Service (NS) has been essential in ensuring Singapore’s defence and security since independence,” said its website. “As a small country, we cannot afford to have a large standing regular armed force to provide for all our defence and security needs. Thus, the compulsory conscription of male youths was introduced in 1967 to help build up a credible defence force to ensure the independence and sovereignty of Singapore. Since then, more than one million national servicemen have served NS.”

A MINDEF media release today informed that “385 Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) from 240 companies and their employers gathered for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Day Combined Rededication Ceremonies (CRCs) held at four locations around Singapore this morning to reaffirm their commitment to the defence of Singapore”.

Present on the occasion were Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen; Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng; Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee; and Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

Minister Ng Eng Hen officiated at the Rededication Ceremony organised by the Singapore Manufacturing Federation at Suntec City Convention Centre, where he delivered the SAF Day message.

For Singapore, we have invested steadily over the last 59 years since the SAF was formed. We are thankful that every year, the [Singapore] Government commits itself substantially to defence spending. Yes, every dollar spent on defence could have been used for other purposes — health, education, welfare — there is no shortage of needs. But as the countries in Europe and elsewhere have discovered, it is not one or the other. You have to do both…Singapore Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (eighth from left) officiates at the East Zone Combined Rededication Ceremony (CRC), attended by Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen), employers and senior SAF commanders. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (eighth from left) officiates at the East Zone Combined Rededication Ceremony (CRC), attended by Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen), employers and senior SAF commanders. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore |

The defence minister said, “Today, because of these steady investments and the strong commitment of more than 1 million NS men, we have a strong, modern, well equipped, quad-service SAF, able to prosecute missions across air, land, sea and the digital domains.”

Emphasising that it was the commitment of NSmen and their employers that formed the backbone of Singapore’s national defence, he said, “As long as our soldiers remain committed and train hard, never taking our peace for granted, then the SAF will remain strong and capable of defending Singapore’s sovereignty and way of life. In this mission, all Singaporeans stand solidly behind us in Total Defence.”

A SAF Day video, encompassing the ground-up views of servicemen and women sharing their feelings and hopes about the SAF and their commitment to the defence and security of Singapore, was also screened.

Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng (third from left) reciting the SAF Pledge with NSmen, employers and senior SAF commanders at the West Zone CRC. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore

Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng (third from left) reciting the SAF Pledge with NSmen, employers and senior SAF commanders at the West Zone CRC. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore |

Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee (centre) reciting the SAF Pledge with NSmen, employers and senior SAF commanders at the South/CBD Zone CRC. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore

Minister for National Development and Minister-in-Charge of Social Services Integration Desmond Lee (centre) reciting the SAF Pledge with NSmen, employers and senior SAF commanders at the South/CBD Zone CRC. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore |

Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli (fourth from left) officiating the SAF Pledge with NSmen, employers and senior SAF commanders at the North/North-East Zone CRC. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore

Minister for Social and Family Development, Second Minister for Health and Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli (fourth from left) officiating the SAF Pledge with NSmen, employers and senior SAF commanders at the North/North-East Zone CRC. Photo courtesy: MINDEF Singapore |

Minister Tan See Leng, Minister Desmond Lee, and Minister Masagos Zulkifli officiated at the other three Rededication Ceremonies organised by Singtel/NCS; Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, respectively.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected To India)

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