Monday, March 23, 2009

guilt or more damage control?

March 23, 2009
SAF offered doctor alternative posting
THE Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) extend our deepest condolences to the family of the late Captain (Dr) Allan Ooi Seng Teik.

Mindef wishes to clarify certain facts regarding media reports on Capt (Dr) Ooi's service in the SAF and his scholarship bond.

Capt (Dr) Ooi joined the SAF in January 2000 and was sponsored under the Local Study Award (Medicine) for his medical studies at the National University of Singapore, and completed his housemanship in April 2006. Thereafter, he completed the SAF's Medical Officer Cadet Course and was commissioned in August 2006. He then served for 11/2 years in the Air Force Medical Service. He was sponsored by the SAF for further specialist training in Aviation Medicine in Britain in January last year.

Upon completing this course in July last year, he was posted to the Aeromedical Centre to perform clinical and staff work. He was scheduled to go for his hospital posting at the end of this year.

While serving at the Aeromedical Centre, Capt (Dr) Ooi informed his superior that he was unhappy at work and was considering leaving the SAF. On Oct 3 last year, his superior offered him the option of posting to an appointment he would be interested in. He agreed to consider this option and get back to his superior in two weeks' time. However, he did not do so. He also did not submit any application to leave the SAF. He went Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) on Oct 15 last year.

Recipients of the Local Study Award (Medicine) are required to serve a 12-year bond after completing their housemanship. Of these 12 years, six years will be spent in hospitals to acquire clinical competency in fields needed by the SAF. The other six years will be spent in command and staff positions with the SAF Medical Corps, performing duties such as the clinical care of SAF servicemen and professional development of military medicine.

SAF officers who take up sponsorship have a responsibility to serve the full period of their bonds as substantial resources and time have been devoted to training them. Otherwise they will leave gaps in key positions in the SAF.

Nevertheless, if an officer wishes to leave the service early, he can submit an application through a proper process. Approval to leave the service will be granted only in strong and extenuating circumstances.
Colonel Darius Lim
Director, Public Affairs
Ministry of Defence

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