2016 MHA Sponsorship Award Presentation Ceremony - Speech by Mr Desmond Lee Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development

Published: 29 July 2016

Award recipients, family members and guests,


Home Team colleagues,


Ladies and Gentlemen




1. Good evening. It is my pleasure to join you for this year's MHA Sponsorship Award Presentation Ceremony.


2. This evening, we will be presenting sponsorship awards to 181 Home Team officers – 162 officers will receive sponsorship awards to pursue undergraduate studies and 19 officers for postgraduate studies. To our award recipients, congratulations and well done. This award recognises your hard work, contributions, and commitment to the Home Team and to Singapore.  This award is also an affirmation of your potential to contribute even more in the future to continue to keep Singapore safe and secure.    MHA Book Prize  3. This evening, I am also pleased to present the MHA Book Prize to 8 Home Team officers pursuing the BA (Honours) in Criminology and Security programme offered by the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) in collaboration with the University of Liverpool (UoL).  The Book Prizes are awarded to our officers who topped their cohorts or wrote outstanding dissertation papers.


4. MHA worked with SIT and the University of Liverpool to develop this new undergraduate programme a few years ago.  MHA supported this programme as it offers a rigorous academic upgrading pathway for our officers to pursue an undergraduate degree in security studies. The programme took in its first batch of students in 2013.  I am pleased to note that the pioneer batch graduated recently and have returned to their respective Home Team departments to contribute at a higher level.     

One Home, One Team, One Mission  


5. Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world. We are able to enjoy peace and stability because of several factors:  robust laws, effective enforcement, strong community partnerships and the dedication and professionalism of Home Team officers.  We cannot take the security that we enjoy today for granted.    


6. The Home Team works in a dynamic operating environment. Security threats are ever present, and continue to evolve. Terrorism and new threats from transnational organised criminal groups, cybercrime or drugs are getting more complex. We also face increasing workload and rising public expectations.    


7. To continue to stay ahead, we need to constantly develop new concepts of operations, make greater use of technology, deepen partnerships with the community and build new capabilities. These plans are being developed under the Home Team Transformation 2025 Masterplan.


8. Key to the success of Home Team Transformation is our people. How well we can accomplish the ambitious goals and plans set out will depend on the creativity, innovation and hard work of our Home Team officers.  We need to continually invest in the training and development of our officers, equip our officers with new skills and knowledge and provide opportunities for personal and professional growth.  This way, we will be in a stronger position to fulfil our mission of keeping Singapore safe and secure.  


9. I am always inspired when I attend Home Team sponsorship award ceremonies by the many stories of officers who persevered with their studies amidst juggling many other demands. One of them is Chief Warder (2) Nur Hannah Wang from the Singapore Prison Service (SPS). She was a Programme Officer who administered rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for inmates to help reintegrate them back into society. Her excellent work performance was recognised and she was awarded a HALO scholarship to pursue the full-time Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Criminology and Security programme by SIT-UoL. At that time, she was already a mother of three young boys, ages 6, 4, and 1. If not for the MHA scholarship, she would not have pursued a full-time degree on her own.   


10. Her three years of hard work have paid off. She has just graduated from the SIT-UoL programme and will resume work with SPS as a Housing Unit Officer, now as a Senior Prison Officer. In her new role, she will maintain discipline and order of the housing unit and facilitate the rehabilitation of inmates under her charge.   


11. I also want to share another story of SGT Lee Chee Guan who is a Ground Response Officer with Orchard NPC.  After his father was robbed at knife-point many years ago, SGT Lee was determined to be a Police Officer to fight crime and maintain law and order.  After graduating from Singapore Polytechnic in 2013, SGT Lee postponed his plans for further studies, and joined the Singapore Police Force. For his exemplary work performance and dedication, SGT Lee will be sponsored to pursue the full-time Bachelor in Accountancy degree programme at NTU this year.




12. The stories of Chief Warder (2) Nur Hannah and SGT Lee Chee Guan are just two of many examples of outstanding Home Team officers who are nearer to realising their career aspirations through the MHA sponsorship awards. MHA is committed to providing our Home Team officers with a meaningful and engaging career, and developing them to their fullest potential so that they are well-placed to uphold the safety and security of Singapore.


13. Congratulations once again to all our award recipients. I wish you all the best in your studies, and I look forward to your continued contributions to the Home Team after your studies.   


14. I also wish to thank all our recipients' spouses and family members. Without your unwavering support, our officers will not be who they are today. Thank you for standing by our officers, and for playing your part in our collective effort to maintain the safety and security of our best home.   


15. Thank you, and have a pleasant evening.