Former Malaysian national swimmer Lim Ching Hwang, who represented the Federal Territories at the 2016 Sukma Games, has been sentenced to jail for defaulting on National Service (NS) in Singapore
Lim was given an eight-week prison sentence on Tuesday, 9 February.
The 24-year-old, who is from Selangor and swam for the Malaysian team in the Southeast Asian Games in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017, was given Singapore permanent residency (PR) status in 2014.
He was given the PR status under the Foreign Sports Talent Scheme in March of that year.
It subjected the former Malaysian national to the requirements of the Enlistment Act. The Singapore Swimming Association had supported his application for PR, CNA reported.
The Straits Times reported that Lim left Singapore in July 2015 and failed to report for his enlistment in November that year, only returning almost three years later in June 2018 and enlisted in April 2019.
While pleading guilty to two charges under the Enlistment Act, Lim said he is "deeply regretful" of the actions he committed "as a boy"
According to Lim, the reason he returned was "to face the consequences as a man".
"I was too focused on swimming (and) couldn't resist the temptation of a Malaysian scholarship to study at a prestigious university to further (my) career," he said, adding that he listened to his parents' ill advice to finish his studies before completing his NS obligations, reported Yahoo News.
In hindsight, he said he should have nudged them to settle his exit permit issues first.
Lim, who completed his NS on 2 February this year, was allowed to begin his jail term on 23 February.
Lim has now become the 17th person to be jailed for defaulting on NS
While he attempted to renounce his PR status after being ordered to serve out his NS obligations in 2015, Lim now says he intends to swim competitively in Singapore and pursue a career there.
According to Yahoo News, he told the court that he has a girlfriend and friends in Singapore, and a "promising job lined up" while waiting for his court case to conclude.
For remaining outside Singapore without a valid exit permit, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to SGD10,000, or both.
Earlier this month, Malaysia's squash queen Nicol Ann David secured the number one spot on the world stage: