16 May 2018

Update on the Death of Singapore Civil Defence Force Full-Time National Serviceman

Formation of the Board of Inquiry

 

  1. The Minister for Home Affairs has decided to convene a Board of Inquiry (‘BOI’) to conduct a review of the incident and make recommendations to ensure that such incidents do not recur. The BOI will be chaired by a Senior Director from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and include members who are not from MHA or the SCDF. The BOI will submit its report to the Minister.

     

    Message from SCDF Commissioner

     

  2. In a message to SCDF officers on 16 May 2018, Commissioner Eric Yap underlined the importance of command responsibility in SCDF to ensure that their officers are not harmed or demeaned in any way. He emphasised SCDF’s zero-tolerance policy against unauthorised initiation or ragging activities. The full text of Commissioner’s message is at Annex.

     

    Action against SCDF Officers

     

  3. Based on preliminary investigations by the Police, two SCDF regular personnel were placed under arrest on 14 May 2018. They will be interdicted from service on half-pay pending the outcome of Police investigations.

     

  4. In addition, investigations are ongoing in the involvement of other officers. Four officers who had earlier been approved for promotion on 1 June 2018, will have their promotions withheld pending conclusion of the investigations.

     

  5. Separately, the State Coroner may call for an inquiry into the death. The Attorney-General’s Chambers is also reviewing the case with a view to criminal proceedings.

 

 

 

 

ANNEX

 

 

16 May 2018

 

MESSAGE FROM COMMISSIONER SCDF

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

We started this week with the heartbreaking loss of CPL Kok Yuen Chin, our NSF Firefighter. Today on 16 May, CPL Kok would have completed his two year full-time national service and left the SCDF with a strong testimonial reflecting his good performance and outstanding conduct.  But last Sunday, CPL Kok drowned in the pump well at Tuas View Fire Station.

 

The Police are conducting investigations into what happened. Two of our SCDF regular officers have been arrested, and preliminary investigations show that CPL Kok’s drowning arose out of a clear violation of SCDF’s rules.

 

As an organisation, and as individuals, I am sure every one of us is grieved and horrified by this unfortunate incident. Each day, we put our lives at risk to protect and save lives and property. We pride ourselves on being the Life Saving Force. But amongst us, there may be some who flout the rules, or turn a blind eye to unauthorised initiation or ragging activities being carried out by officers who clearly do not embrace our core values. Let me be clear about this – those of us who are aware of, or have seen such acts being carried out but yet do not stop or report these acts, also bear responsibility. We cannot condone or allow any wrongdoing. 

 

I had personally briefed all Commanders yesterday and underlined the importance of command responsibility. Unit Commanders will be held accountable and responsible for any unauthorised initiation or ragging activities by any personnel under their charge.

 

Commanders are entrusted with the responsibility to look after the men and women who risk their lives every day. It is our duty to ensure they are not harmed or demeaned by the actions of others. There must be zero tolerance for any officer who contravenes the rules, and we must take all necessary measures to eradicate such activities.

 

Yesterday, I attended CPL Kok’s wake in Malacca with a few colleagues. With a heavy heart, on behalf of all of us, I expressed our deepest condolences to his family. I personally assured his father that the SCDF will cooperate fully with the Police investigation and the Board of Inquiry and the outcome will be made known to the family. We will continue to provide all necessary assistance to them during this very difficult time.

 

This incident has damaged the credibility of the Force. We must do our utmost to regain the trust of the public, the families who entrust their sons to us to serve their National Service, and our own men and women too. Even as we mourn the loss of one of our own, we owe it to CPL Kok to ensure that this must never happen again.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

Eric Yap

Commissioner SCDF

Last Updated on 26 Jun 2018
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