NS defaulter living in Batam returns to S'pore to renew passport -- and gets arrested

Jessie Lim
The Straits Times
Dec 14, 2022

A man failed to enlist for national service (NS) for more than four years after leaving Singapore for Batam, where he lived with his Indonesian father and helped him with his business. 

Novriandy Rizaldy also remained outside Singapore without a valid permit for more than nine years before he was arrested in December 2019 when he returned to renew his passport. 

On Wednesday, Rizaldy, 33, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Enlistment Act.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Jonathan Lee said Rizaldy had registered for NS on Jan 26, 2007. He subsequently requested a deferment from the Central Manpower Base (CMPB) to complete a course he was taking at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). 

CMPB granted him a deferment to Jan 5, 2008. 

On March 7, 2008, Rizaldy applied for another period of deferment claiming he wanted to take a Higher Nitec course at ITE, which would begin in April 2008. However, he was unable to provide documentary proof related to the Higher Nitec course to CMPB. 

Instead, he submitted a letter of certification from Lasalle College of the Arts to CMPB, which stated that he would be pursuing a diploma in product design between August 2008 and June 2011. 

Rizaldy left Singapore for Batam on Jan 13, 2010, without having a valid exit permit. While living with his parents in Batam, he assisted in his father’s business dealing in communications and navigation systems.

CMPB was subsequently informed by Lasalle in February 2010 that Rizaldy had withdrawn from his studies. He did not show up for a medical screening later that month, and a police gazette was raised against him in June 2010.

On April 10, 2015, after almost five years, Rizaldy returned to Singapore to renew his passport for the purpose of obtaining permanent residency in Indonesia. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority informed him on April 15, 2015, that his passport was ready for collection.

While he was in Singapore, CMPB informed Rizaldy that he had left Singapore without a valid exit permit and reminded him to comply with the NS notices sent to him. CMPB also sent him a second enlistment notice requiring him to enlist on Aug 11, 2015. 

DPP Lee said: “The accused knew he needed to serve national service, given that he had since finished his studies and his initial deferment was for him to pursue his studies.”

Instead of enlisting, Rizaldy returned to Batam on July 10, 2015, after collecting his passport. 

More than four years later, he returned to Singapore on Dec 6, 2019, as he wanted to renew his passport again before it expired, so he would not be deported from Indonesia. He was arrested on the same day.

DPP Lee said: "The accused had returned to Singapore to renew his passport (in 2015), claiming he wanted to serve national service. He then ran away from Singapore again within three months of getting his passport. This appears to be tactical… and he continued living his life in Indonesia."

The prosecution is seeking a jail term of 24 weeks for Rizaldy.

Rizaldy, who did not have a lawyer, asked the court for leniency and added that he has since served his NS with the Singapore Civil Defence Force for two years.

His case has been adjourned to Dec 27 for sentencing. 

For failing to enlist for NS, an offender can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.

The Straits Times

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