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October 20, 2017 Friday | Last updated on 16/10/2017 3:33PM (Singapore)
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Home / Features / NS50: Employers Play a Crucial Role in Total Defence  
Published: 10 Oct 2017 04:01PM (Singapore)
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NS50: Employers Play a Crucial Role in Total Defence
It’s the small acts of support that go a long way. Serving National Service (NS) while working a full-time job may be challenging, but support from employers like Mr Andrew Heng enable NSmen to fulfil their duties to the nation.
By Muhamad Khair

For supporting staff members who needed to fulfil their National Service (NS) duties, Mr Andrew Heng, Director of Procurement Operations, Micron Semiconductor Asia Pte Ltd, was presented with the NS Advocate Award in the individual category on 5 October 2017.

It is the highest accolade awarded to individuals for their exemplary support of NS and Total Defence (TD), with 12 recipients this year.

Receiving award from 2M
Mr Andrew Heng, Director of Procurement Operations, Micron Semiconductor Asia Pte Ltd, receiving his award from Second Minister for Home Affairs Mrs Josephine Teo at the Total Defence Awards (TDA) 2017. PHOTO: Aizil A. Rahim

Mr Heng was nominated by one of his staff members, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) (NS) Tang Meng Huat, a manager at Micron Semiconductor Asia Pte Ltd, who felt that the company’s supportive culture allowed NSmen like himself to fulfil their duties well.

“I think it’s all about being flexible,” quipped Mr Heng.

“The company has had a culture of supporting NSmen for their refresher courses and call-back duties. Andrew has given me the flexibility to plan my time whenever I get called back – putting him up for the nomination was just right thing to do,” said DSP (NS) Tang. The 47-year-old has been working for the company for over 18 years and under Mr Heng for 10 years.

DSP (NS) Tang is currently in his 22nd year of service and has extended his service term thrice – he continues to serve with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in his capacity as the Commanding Officer (CO) of Training at G Div.

His responsibilities as a CO of Training include overseeing Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) statistics and the training needs of reservist officers. He also works with regular officers to review operating procedures.

Meng Huat
Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Tang Meng Huat, 47, has been working for Micron Semiconductor Asia Pte Ltd for 18 years, and is marking his 22nd year of service with the Singapore Police Force (SPF). PHOTO: Aizil A. Rahim

Mr Heng ensures that arrangements are made so that DSP (NS) Tang would have the peace of mind while he’s fulfilling his duties with the SPF. “It’s all about team work,” says Mr Heng.

Once an NSman himself, Mr Heng served his reservist duties as an instructor at the Supply Training School with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). “Personally, I enjoyed my reservist, and I wanted Meng Huat to enjoy his as well,” he said.

He understands the importance of serving the country. The father of three said: “Through NS, you learn a lot about national defence. You grow older and then you have a family – that’s when you realise that without a safe country, it’s difficult to build a home.”

According to Mr Heng, being a flexible boss is key in supporting staff members when they have to fulfil their NS duties. PHOTO: Aizil A. Rahim

For the 46-year-old, winning the award “feels good”. Given the chance, Mr Heng said he would continue serving the nation. However, he currently resides overseas due to work commitments and is unable to extend his service term beyond the mandatory reservist period, unlike DSP (NS) Tang.

“I flew back from Japan especially for this ceremony – I made sure to schedule everything around it. That’s how important this award means to me,” he said.

Stability as Paramount for the Economy

According to Mr Heng, security and stability continues to be one of the many driving forces of our economy as it gives businesses good reason to invest in Singapore.

“We have factories all across Asia, but one of the reasons why Micron decided to invest in Singapore was due to its safety and stability,” Mr Heng remarked.

Echoing his remarks, DSP (NS) Tang said, “Our colleagues from all over the world never forget to remind us how safe Singapore is. To them, it’s amazing how one can go for a run at 3 am in the morning without fearing for their safety – you can’t really do that in most countries.”

About the Total Defence Awards (TDA)

The Total Defence Awards (TDA) was first introduced in 1986 to recognise businesses for their contributions towards TD. The TDA was revamped in 2015 to include educational institutions, families and community organisations as well as individuals. This year,139 NS Advocate Awards were presented to 12 individuals, 89 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), 24 large companies, such as ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd and 14 organisations, which include the Civil Service Club.

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