MHA Scholarship and Sponsorship Awards Presentation Ceremony 2021 – Speech by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information & Second Minister for Home Affairs

Published: 26 July 2021

Award recipients,

Home Team colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,


1.   Good afternoon.

2.   Today, we will be presenting scholarship, sponsorship and study awards to 258 Home Team officers.

  1. 225 of them will be pursuing undergraduate studies

  2. While another 33 will be pursuing postgraduate studies.

3.   We will also be presenting the MHA Book Prize to 10 Home Team officers.

4.  To all our award recipients, congratulations. 

  1. This is a significant milestone in your career.

COVID-19: A New Operating Environment for the Home Team

5.   Thanks to all our officers, the Home Team has done very well in keeping Singapore safe and secure.

  1. For the seventh year running, Singapore has been ranked safest in the world in the Gallup Global Law and Order Report.

  2. Public trust and confidence in the Home Team remains high.

6.   These accomplishments are no easy feat.

  1. The pandemic has stepped up demands on the Home Team in the past year.

7.   Our officers have worked tirelessly to plan and execute our policies and responses for COVID-19,

  1. From enforcing the Stay-Home Notice regime and conveying infected persons to hospitals, to managing foreign worker dormitories.

8.   Given the nature of their responsibilities, our officers put their own health at risk in their line of duty.

  1. We applaud them for their sacrifice and selflessness.

  2. We have stepped up measures to ensure the safety of our officers, while they carry out essential duties.

      I.   [As of end-June 2021] 96 per cent of medically eligible frontline Home Team officers have chosen to receive the vaccination. 86 per cent of them have been fully vaccinated, and over 90 per cent have received at least the first dose of their vaccination.

      II.   [As of end-June 2021] For the non-frontline officers, the take-up rate is 93 per cent among those who are medically eligible. About 42 per cent have been fully vaccinated, 62 per cent have received at least the first dose, and the remaining are awaiting their vaccination.

      III.   We will also continue to conduct Rostered Routine Testing on officers to proactively detect infections.            

Staying One Step Ahead

9.   The COVID situation will be with us a while more and so we must remain vigilant.

10.   Our security landscape will continue to be complex and challenging.

  1. The number of online scams reached an all-time high in 2020, and

  2. There is an ever-present threat of radicalisation.

  3. Most recently, we have also witnessed a number of incidents of racism and xenophobia.

11.   To continue achieving mission success amidst manpower constraints, we are intensifying our transformation efforts.

12.   First, we are using technology aggressively to push for greater productivity.

  1. For example, ICA has implemented iris and facial scanners at our checkpoints. They are efficient, hygienic, and more secure and reliable than fingerprint verification.

  2. The Police have also begun using the Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight Drones, to provide a situational picture of security incidents and enhance sense-making.

13.   Second, we will continue to forge strong partnerships with our community and volunteers.

  1. SCDF will enhance its 995 call-taking capabilities to allow for video calls. Operators will be able to work with community responders to triage emergencies more quickly and accurately. 

  2. The Prison Service is partnering Social Service Agencies to expand its Throughcare Volunteer Framework, so that our volunteers can continue befriending and engaging offenders after their release from prison.

14.   Third, we invest heavily in building a strong workforce. This is because people are key to our mission success, and will always be.

  1. We are only able to enjoy public trust in the Home Team, because our officers perform their roles objectively, with integrity.

  2. We must continue building a stronger workforce, anchored on excellence and professionalism.

A Strong and Competent Workforce

15.   The Home Team remains focused and committed to the development of officers throughout their careers. Let me share some examples.

16.   We offer opportunities for career progression and specialisation, so that our officers have rewarding careers.

  1. We launched the unified rank structure in 2016 to allow diploma holders who have performed well to progress more quickly within the Home Team. Since then, at least 550 junior officers have been promoted to senior officer ranks.

  2. We have also introduced expert tracks for SPF, SCDF and SPS officers who wish to deepen their capabilities in specialised areas. We are happy to share that 280 officers are emplaced on the various expert tracks.

17.   We have made training more realistic, effective and accessible with technology.

  1. For instance, the Home Team Academy has been using the Home Team simulation system to train officers to manage large-scale security incidents.

  2. HTX has also worked with the SPF to pilot the Enhanced Live Firing Range System (ELFRAS), which uses sensors and analytics to improve performance of Police officers undergoing firearm training.

  3. Such technologies allow our trainees to practice in a safe and controlled environment.

18.   We continue to invest in upgrading for our Home Team officers, so that they can acquire new knowledge and expand their networks.

  1. We collaborated with the Singapore University of Social Sciences in 2019 to offer a Bachelor of Public Safety and Security degree programme.

  2. We also offer a Certificate in Homefront Safety and Security, which accredits basic training courses from Home Team departments.

19.   Every year, we give out scholarships and sponsorships to officers who have demonstrated outstanding service, commitment and passion to make a difference.

20.   Among our recipients today, I wish to highlight two examples of officers who have performed well, and developed professionally in MHA.

  1. The first is Lieutenant Colonel Janice Oh from SCDF. Janice has been with SCDF for over 20 years, and currently develops operational policies for Emergency Medical Services. Although she has vast experience, Janice has decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Advanced Paramedic Practice at Monash University to deepen her understanding of paramedicine.

  2. Another example is Senior Staff Sergeant Muhammad Andi Sufian from SPF. Andi joined the SPF 14 years ago to fulfil his dream of being a Police officer. He had to forgo his further studies when he was younger to work and support his family. Andi will now have the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Public Safety and Security at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

21.   We wish you both all the best in your studies.


22.   The awards that we are giving out today not only recognise Home Team officers who have performed well, but also recognise officers’ potential to contribute even more.

23.   We encourage all of you to make full use of this opportunity to maximise your learning and exposure. We look forward to you returning to contribute to MHA’s mission of keeping Singapore safe and secure.

24.   Congratulations once again.

25.   Thank you.