MINDEF: Davis has no intention to fulfil national service in Singapore
After becoming the first Singaporean to sign a professional contract with Premier League side Fulham FC, 17-year-old Benjamin Davis has been engulfed in a crisis of sorts, after news broke of his National Service deferment being rejected.
That was followed up by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) making it known on Tuesday that they fully support Davis’ cause and will do their part to help in his deferment appeal.
The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) then came out on Wednesday in a reply to media queries, stating that Davis signed the contract despite being aware of his deferment rejection.
“(Benjamin’s) actions are meant to further his own professional career, not national interest. As his father openly admitted, he is looking out for his son’s future, not Singapore’s,” MINDEF told Channel NewsAsia.
“They have no intention of returning to fulfill their son’s NS duties, especially if (Benjamin) is given a full professional contract after two years of his senior contract.
“To allow deferment for this type of appeal, would severely undermine the ethos and sacrifice of Singaporeans who have all put aside their personal interests to complete their NS duties.”
Davis’ father, Mr Harvey Davis issued a counter statement this evening, claiming that it is ‘unfortunate’ for MINDEF to think that his son will not return for his NS commitments.
“There are a lot of variables all dependent on his development and progression, and anyone who understands how professional football and sports works will understand this,” Mr Davis said in a media statement.
“In my discussions with SportSG and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), I was clear that Ben should do his NS but the question is just when.
“This point was reiterated in an email response which was sent to MCCY on May 15. In that email, I had said very clearly that while renunciation was an option, it is not Ben’s intention at all as he would like to represent Singapore.”
With MINDEF’s latest statement, it remains to be seen if there is still room for negotiations as Singapore waits for the appeal result to be released.