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MHA National Day Awards 2018: Veteran Officers Share Their Wisdom
Recognising the contributions of Home Team officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and the Singapore Prison Service.

10 Aug 2018 001 ICA, SPS

With decades of experience in the Home Team, two recipients of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) National Day Award 2018 share how they continue to distinguish themselves in their respective lines of service.

Going Beyond the Call of Service
As an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer, Checkpoint Inspector 2 (CI2) Salim Bin Najiman believes that his duty isn’t just to keep the country safe, it’s also to offer impeccable service to travellers who pass through Singapore’s checkpoints.

“As an ICA officer, we’re one of the first people travellers see when they come to Singapore,” he said. “We have to portray a good image.”

10 Aug 2018 CI2 Salim ICA
Service with a smile: CI2 Salim believes in the importance of both security and service. PHOTO: Home Team News

This is the reason why the Assistant Team Leader at ICA’s Airport Command goes the extra mile for passengers who require special assistance. While on duty in September 2018, an elderly Singaporean passenger with no money was brought to CI2 Salim’s attention – he’d allegedly lost all his money while in Fiji, the country he was returning from. 

CI2 Salim knew that he had to do something. After making several calls to the elderly passenger’s friends and establishing that he’d be staying with one of them, CI2 Salim then escorted him to the taxi stand and he offered to pay for the ride home – from his own pocket.

“I gave the taxi driver money to cover the fare,” he said. “But the taxi driver didn’t want to accept the money, so I gave it to the old man instead.”

According to CI2 Salim, it was simply the right thing to do. “When you do good things, it will come back to you in the future. You don’t lose anything by helping people – one day, we’ll be old too.”

CI2 Salim has held these same high standards since he joined the Public Service in 1981. With over 37 years of experience under his belt, he guides young ICA officers so that they also hold themselves to similar standards of service and excellence.

“As ICA officers, we have to keep our cool even when we’re dealing with unreasonable requests,” he said. “We must be sincere in whatever we do. Whatever experience I have, I’ll try and pass down to the younger officers.”

Changing the Lives of Youth Offenders
Not everyone can do it, but as a father of three, Chief Warder 2 (CW2) Kumarasan s/o Ramasamy, 50, knows how deal with teenagers. As a Reintegration Officer with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS), CW2 Kumarasan oversees supervisees under the Release on Supervision (ROS) Scheme, a community-based rehabilitation programme. 

10 Aug 2018 CW2 Kumarasan SPS
When engaging youth offenders, CW2 Kumarasan draws from his experience of raising his sons. PHOTO: Home Team News

In one instance, CW2 Kumarasan managed to break through to a youth offender who was placed under his care; the teenager had felt ignored by his family members, and this was affecting his work. 

“Every time we met, he’d share that his family neglected him; that they didn’t spend time with him,” recalled CW2 Kumarasan. “Youth offenders can be very impulsive; as a father, I know how to handle them because I also have teenage boys. So I told him, ‘Why don’t you talk to your mom, call her for a meal, and share your thoughts with her?’” 

CW2 Kumarasan’s counsel worked. “Eventually, through various makan [eating] sessions, the relationship improved,” he said. “He realised that his perception was wrong; his family members loved him, but they lacked the time to express this. He finally understood.”

The youth offender became more focused and worked his way up to become a full-time chef at the French restaurant that he was emplaced on the Release on Supervision (ROS) Scheme. He was eventually given an early discharge for good conduct. But what was more surprising was that he called CW2 Kumarasan to express his gratitude.

“I was surprised that he still remembered me after his release; it had been quite some time,” said CW2 Kumarasan, beaming. “It isn’t easy to change perceptions and behavior, so this was really an achievement on his part.”

That former youth offender also plans to open a French restaurant and hire ex-offenders who’re undergoing similar challenges. “We want to make sure that these supervisees engage meaningfully in their work or studies after their release. If they’re idle, they will slowly go back to their old habits,” explained CW2 Kumarasan. “When they succeed, we feel happy too.”

10 Aug 2018 Full NDOC 02
At the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Awards Ceremony. PHOTOS: HTVN

Minister for Home Affairs National Day Awards 2018
The Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award recognises Home Team officers who have distinguished themselves through significant and commendable contributions in their respective areas of work. This year’s award ceremony was held in conjunction with the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony on 2 August, and saw 105 Individual Award recipients and three Team Award recipients. 

Read the speech given by Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Mrs Josephine Teo at the Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony.
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Muhamad Khair
  2. 10 August 2018
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