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HERStory: Forging New Beginnings

Two Home Team officers share about how they dared to venture into the unknown to forge a path for others.
GRAPHIC: Fadli Ridwan PHOTOS: Joash Tan

Forging a New Path
Sim Wee Min
Assistant Director (Compliance), 

Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA)

Having played a part in the reconstitution of the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) into GRA, Wee Min tells us how the journey was like in forging a new path to safeguard Singapore from the harms of gambling.

CRA Herstory PT II 03
Wee Min.

Tell us more about yourself!
I studied financial accounting and developed an interest in regulatory work. When CRA was hiring, I was intrigued as the work was not just about reviewing numbers and financial statements. Being part of CRA would allow me to appreciate how CRA was able to mitigate potential law and order, honest gambling and social concerns posed by the casinos.

Under GRA, our regulatory scope has broadened beyond the casino industry to the entire gambling landscape, and I lead a team of six officers in ensuring the licensed gambling operators’ compliance with GRA’s requirements on various aspects of gambling operations, ranging from where their gambling venues are located to how they advertise their gambling services.

It must be very interesting to be able to expand your regulatory horizon! Can you explain more about the areas your team looks at in terms of compliance for these new operators?
As an example, we need to assess the venues where the licensed operators conduct their gambling operations and may conduct on-site visits to ensure that they are able to meet regulatory requirements that are put in place to, for instance, prevent and reduce the likelihood of any criminal activity.  

Other conditions such as entry requirements and overall security of the premises are important as underaged persons should not be able to access to these gambling venues freely. Another area we look at is advertising and promotions to ensure that the licensed gambling operators are not targeting the young and vulnerable. 

CRA Herstory PT II 04
Some factors that GRA considers when reviewing licensed operators’ proposed advertisements include whether the advertisements excessively induce gambling.

How was the transition from CRA to GRA like?
The planning and preparation for the reconstitution was a long time coming. We conducted extensive research into the overall gambling landscape to get a better sense of the trends and developments that posed concerns to us. We also formed different teams comprising officers with a range of experiences and skillsets to develop the regulatory approaches for diverse gambling products. 

One important point for us was to strike the right balance in coming up with the regulatory framework: making sure the policy intent and objectives were met while not imposing unnecessary regulatory burden on the industries to be regulated. 

Gambling products are assessed through a risk-based approach. We had to clearly define the boundaries on what are high-risk products or activities for which we need to regulate more tightly. For example, we would subject the casino operators to less stringent requirements for advertisements that target tourists. 

With the evolving gambling landscape, we have to constantly update ourselves on new and emerging gambling technology and products, to stay ahead of the game in order to continue to protect the people of Singapore from the harms of gambling.

Augmenting Capabilities in Uncharted Waters
Captain (CPT) Pek Hong Kun 
Marine Communications Officer,

Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

Pushing the envelope of marine technologies is CPT Pek, who shares her experience in steering new projects to advance SCDF’s marine capabilities.

Share with us what you do at work!
My work involves looking into marine systems and technologies that would help enhance SCDF’s response to incidents out at sea. For example, scanning for equipment that can provide better sensemaking for managing incidents, facilitate navigation at seas or augment responders in carrying out their operational tasks more effectively. 

Presently, the Marine Division is exploring unmanned system technologies, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and Unmanned Surface Vessel for better incident management.

SCDF Herstory Pt II 05
The Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boat fitted with a 3D mock-up monitor.

What has been a memorable project you were involved in?
A major project I developed was the introduction of firefighting capabilities to the Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB). The RHIB combines various competencies of conducting quick appreciation of situation, water rescue operations such as man overboard, surface search and rescue, firefighting, and minor foam operation for small craft fires.  

The vessel can be deployed in areas with shallow waters, low air draft or narrow channels, allowing more deployment flexibilities and options when responding to incidents out at sea. 

It was particularly satisfying to see the RHIB finally in action as it was not originally purpose-built for firefighting. We had to ensure that the integrity of the vessel would not be compromised during retrofitting. My team and I had to go through many rounds of design reviews and amendments, as well as managing cost considerations, vis-a-vis operational benefits.  

SCDF Herstory PT II 06
CPT Pek was involved in the setting up of the Gul Marine Fire Post, including the selection of the Fire Post location.

Were there any daunting projects that you faced? If so, how did you manage to overcome it?
That would be setting up the Gul Marine Fire Post. It was one of the most challenging tasks for me thus far.

As a new Marine Rota Commander then, I had little experience managing infrastructure projects. I was still learning the ropes of how a Marine Fire Station operated, let alone leading the establishment of a Fire Post. 

Fortunately, I had guidance from my commanders and strong support from my logistics colleagues to see the project come to fruition. In the process, I learned to be forward-thinking and to consider and reconcile different issues such as operational, administrative and logistical needs, info-comms and technology set-up, as well as welfare for the frontline officers who will be deployed at the fire post.

What helps you push through at work?
The fact that what I do both directly and indirectly help the community and contribute to a safer home for all Singaporeans including our loved ones.

Written by

Joash Tan


15 March 2023

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