Some people may think that they have better things to do in two years than to go for National Service (NS).
But this man’s predicament is different: he skipped NS to support his family as the sole breadwinner.
Failed to Report for Duty in 2004
Fitness instructor Mohammad Zaidie Ahmad, 41, was posted to the HQ Basic Rescue Training Centre at Jalan Bahar camp…in March 2004.
Yep, that’s right. 2004. That’s almost two decades ago.
He reported for duty back then, but went missing from 5 July 2004. He was arrested about five months later and ordered to resume duty in December 2004.
However, Zaidie had a medical certificate excusing him from duty from 3 to 20 December 2004. He was supposed to report for duty on 21 December, but he never did.
The police arrested him on 7 September 2021. That’s 17 whole years of evading NS without getting caught, which sounds…impossible, given how small Singapore is. How did he successfully hide from authorities for so long?
This then begs the question: why did the police take so long to arrest him? It remains a mystery, as court documents did not specify the reason.
Breadwinner for Son and 2 Step-Siblings
Zaidie’s lawyer S. S. Dhillon told the court that Zaidie decided to skip NS to financially support his son and two step-siblings.
District Judge Marvin Bay noted that Zaidie was motivated by the need to earn money for his family. However, current world events like the Russo-Ukraine war makes national defence more important than ever.
“All Singaporeans must understand that their national service duties should always be placed front and centre at a time when they are physically best suited to serve,” said Judge Bay.
Five Years and Eight Months’ Jail
Zaidie had pleaded guilty to two charges under the Civil Defence Act, and was sentenced on 22 March to five years and eight months’ imprisonment.
His bail has been set at $20,000, and he’s been ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on 5 May to serve his sentence.
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