Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied): Chairman, the need for both diplomacy and deterrence is well understood by Singaporeans. The Workers’ Party believes in a strong defence. I have also personally served on MINDEF’s ACCORD Committee for seven years and found it very meaningful. Nonetheless, I believe Members of Parliament from both sides of the House have received increased residents’ feedback about noise and vibrations from RSAF aircraft. This can be seen from Parliamentary Questions filed by various Members of Parliament who represent constituents living proximate to air bases.
Residents from Aljunied GRC are in this group, living close to Paya Lebar Air Base. Feedback from residents include early morning and night flight times and how the more powerful planes at low altitudes leave homes vibrating in their wake.
I have tried to explain that the RSAF needs to train in the darkness as well, but some insist that the current levels are excessive. To be fair, there have also been studies about aircraft noise being associated with detrimental effects on health.
Sir, I foresee that MINDEF’s response will be what it has maintained all along, that Singapore faces real threats, that we cannot allow our capabilities to degrade and that RSAF has already reduced its local training as far as possible.
While we agree on the first two principles, could the Minister elaborate on the extent of local training today? For instance, has the COVID-19 pandemic required SAF to do more training locally?
Ministry of Defence
1 March 2021