The least MINDEF could do for the families of lost serviceman

Photo provided by the family

On Dec 20 1979, while on a training flight in the Philippines, four Republic of Singapore Air Force pilots died after three A-4 Skyhawks crashed into the mountain in the Quezon province.

The four pilots who perished were Captain F Prabhakaran, Captain Lee Choong Foo, Lieutenant Lum Chow Ning and Lieutenant Chua Poi Peck.

Their remains were never discovered and their coffins only had a part of the wreckage and a handful of earth from the crash site.

A resident of Toa Payoh Lor 8, who is a widow of one of the pilots who lost his life, shared the information with me during a recent house to house visit, and asked for my assistance to raise the issue on her family’s behalf.

She shared that as part of the compensation, the family received $35,000 (presumably as part of Workmen’s Compensation), which was used to pay off the mortgage for their HDB home (which she is still living in). The Home Protection Scheme administered by CPF Board which covers HDB owners in the event of death was only started in 1981 which means she had to keep paying for the entire mortgage of the home.

Apart from the $35,000, her two young daughters who were 18 months and 6-years old then received $100 a month as expenses for school until they reached the age of 18 and also had to work part-time to pay for their University education.

The widow could not work, as she needed to look after an elderly parent, who is 93 years old now and is still living with her.

In addition to the workmen’s compensation and the school allowance, the widow has been receiving a monthly payout. Today, almost 40 years after her husband’s death, the amount stands at $978.33 per month. She showed me her bank book to prove the monthly payments.

She also informed me that no one from MINDEF has officially made contact with her or her family for decades.

There are a few questions which need to be addressed.

1. How often does the Government review the monthly payouts which next of kin of our fallen servicemen and women who are killed in the line of duty receive, if at all? What does it commensurate with?

2. Does the Government take cost of living into consideration? In this instance, the amount which the widow receives is less than $1000 a month.

3. Is there a stakeholder engagement strategy in place to ensure that survivors of such tragedies continue to get the after-care support from the Government and/or the community? If yes, why then, in this instance, has the family not heard or had follow ups from the relevant agencies at all, as shared by the widow?

4. How many such families are out there, who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty before 1980 who are receiving almost the same payouts as the widow who shared her issue with me?

Families and especially the widows or widowers of our servicemen and servicewomen who die while in uniform should be honoured and treated with respect, so they can lead dignified lives after they lose a loved one.

This is the least the country could do for them for the huge sacrifices they have made after losing a loved one for the country.

 

Jose Taymond

 


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12 Responses to “The least MINDEF could do for the families of lost serviceman”

  • patriot of Temesak:

    As I see it..the widow was adequately compensated as COMPARED at that time to the recent death while serving NS today…no offence or insincere or pro-PAP meant…I consider the system more caring at that time base on the cost of Living…Today you have to factor in the AristoCraps cost and the Swiss Standard ILLUSION cost of the ELITES but NEVER the cost of the Ordinary leh!!!

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  • Singapore Fooled Again n Again:

    When they tax you, when they adjust CPF minimum sum, medisave, etc they do it double wick and adjust it very often until you are numbed to the adjustments.

    When it come to paying out money, you wait long long. Even personal Income Tax personal relieve sum, the $3000 tax free relieve is there for decade without adjustment where cost of living have gone through the roof

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  • Very Sad Indeed!.:

    Died for Country but long forgotten?

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  • You Die Your Own Business:

    Sinkies get the government they voted.
    The total payout so far, factoring inflation, was barely a month’s pay of top puppy natural aristocrat.

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  • N.Jungne:

    You die your business, the Foreigners build this country.

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  • Bapak:

    In this ’1st world’ country, your life is dirt cheap under the very toxic PAP. They only want citizens to serve them as servants. Whereas, FTs are valued as gold. Only stupid citizens support such systems.

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  • HarderTruths:

    In countries where citizens are valued for their service to the nation there will be no further payment equired from the family of servicemen lost in training or death in battle. This amounts to the same thing.

    The family should have free education food and basic necessities. I would be proud to pay my share even if it may not amount to much by other people’s standards.

    Only in a third world where citizens are no more than cattle is this type of disgusting behaviour possible. That episode was during the old man’s reign. May he rot in hell.

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  • HarderTruths:

    By the way – the Skyhawk was a third or fourth hand throwaway with lots of problems.

    A flying coffin.

    $G invests in third rate technology and soldiers die because of it and covered up (of course) but Ministers and their white horse sons will never have to do NSF bullshit,

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  • No News:

    Did Mindeaf even bothered to inform the public then; news to many.
    How many Ministers did not even do NS?

    Very Sad Indeed!.:
    Died for Country but long forgotten?

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    HarderTruths:
    By the way – the Skyhawk was a third or fourth hand throwaway with lots of problems.

    A flying coffin.

    $G invests in third rate technology and soldiers die because of it and covered up (of course) but Ministers and their white horse sons will never have to do NSF bullshit,

    I sometimes wonder what happened to the 2 Skyhawks that DISAPPEARED during training…were the Pilots declared dead or still MISSING???…are the families Compensated??? or did they fly the plane to a country to be sold and living off the Sale???

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  • cftfsdfsd:

    Giving all the deceased NSF families parents monthly allowance of 2k each till they die will be the best compensation.

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  • Not Too Late to Help ....:

    If we can built a rubbish chute at close to a $1 million dollars, why can’t we help the families of those who have sacrificed for the land?

    A little help goes a long way, don’t always reward yourself with million$ and forget about those who are actually paying you!

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