October 30, 2020
As per the Government press release dated 28 October 2020, the VIII Constitutional Government led by Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak approved a new regulation concerning Law on Obligatory Military Service (Servico Militar Obrigatório – SMO). The reason given for introduction of SMO is to respond to the needs of the Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) and the policy of the VIII Constitutional Government.
However, Fundasaun Mahein (FM) is concerned about this program for several reasons: first, the SMO program is being introduced mainly based on the promises and goals of Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak during previous election campaigns, and the rationale behind SMO is weak and lacks any feasibility, risk or cost/benefit analysis. Second, we believe that the SMO program, far from responding to the needs of F-FDTL, will hinder the development of our defense force’s capacity. Third, SMO will burden our state finances, while diverting limited resources from productive sectors which require urgent investment.
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