MHA Scholarship and Sponsorship Presentation Ceremony 2018 - Speech by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs

Published: 27 July 2018

Award recipients,

Family members and Guests,

Home Team colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,




  1. Welcome.


  2. This evening, we will be presenting scholarship, sponsorship and study awards to 201 Home Team officers. 166 of them will be pursuing undergraduate studies. While another 35 will be pursuing postgraduate studies. To all our award recipients, congratulations and well done. We thank you for your hard work, outstanding service and commitment in keeping Singapore safe and secure. This award recognises your potential to contribute more to the Home Team.


    MHA Book Prizes

  3. Tonight, I will also be presenting the MHA Book Prize to 7 Home Team officers pursuing the BA (Honours) In Criminology and Security Programme, which is offered by the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) in collaboration with the University of Liverpool (UOL). The MHA Book Prizes are awarded to the top two Home Team students in each cohort, and the top three Home Team students with the best dissertation papers.


    One Home, One Team, A Future-ready Home Team

  4. Our Home Team officers have done well in keeping Singapore safe and secure. Based on the Gallup Global Law and Order Report, Singapore has been consistency ranked first in the world. Public trust and confidence in the Home Team remains high.


  5. The Home Team is always ready and prepared to respond to any security threats and challenges. We demonstrated our resolve, effectiveness and preparedness in ensuring the success of the historic DPRK-USA Singapore Summit which took place in June this year. At least 5,000 Home Team officers were deployed for the summit to safeguard against any potential security threats and risks. Police deployed In-Situ Reaction Teams and Emergency Response Teams at key locations to counter any emergencies or potential terrorist threats. Police Coast Guard patrolled the coastlines and checkpoints, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) tightened border security and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was prepared for any medical emergencies.


  6. Despite the challenges of preparing for the historic event at such short notice, our officers stepped up to the call of duty and did all Singaporeans proud. We not only worked as one united Home Team, but together as one effective Public Service. Well done to all our officers.


  7. While the Home Team has done well in keeping Singapore safe and secure, the security environment remains dynamic. Moreover, we will have to deal with these security challenges as we grapple with growing manpower constraints.


  8. The terrorist threat to Singapore remains at a high level. We have a worsening global drug situation. There is increasing transnational crimes and there will be rising workload and pressure on our officers.


  9. To meet these challenges, we have to learn to do more with less and become more effective. Hence, we embarked on the Home Team Transformation three years ago.


  10. The Home Team will have to continuously improve, use technology aggressively and work more closely with the community. We will push ahead in the area of digital transformation and the smart use of robotics. For example, Police investigation processes will be digitised. The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has started to trial the use of automation for monitoring its supervisees. The Singapore Prisons Service (SPS) will use video analytics to enhance supervision of inmates. The ICA will enhance automated immigration clearance process with iris and facial recognition. The SCDF have started to trial the Life Detection Robot for urban search and rescue operations.


  11. The Home Team’s efforts alone is not enough. We will continue to strengthen partnership with the community and volunteers on three fronts. We will enhance Singapore’s community response to threats of terror through SGSecure. We will empower the public to step up as first responders to put out minor fires or attend to cardiac arrest cases. In April this year, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) introduced a new vocation, the Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) Community. These VSC (Community) officers may be seen conducting foot patrols in community areas such as markets, town centres and schools. They may also help to facilitate crowd and traffic regulation where needed.


    Developing and Investing in Our People

  12. We are also committed in supporting our officers on this transformation journey, to equip them with the right skills and capabilities. We have set up a new Training and Capability Development Division at the Ministry Headquarters to provide strategic direction on Home Team wide training standards and policies, and drive the development of cross-cutting skills. We will have more targeted and timely training for our officers.


  13. The Home Team Academy has worked with SkillsFuture Singapore and Institutes of Higher Learning to customise specific courses such as data analytics and cybersecurity to suit the Home Team context. We will place greater emphasis in developing officers in the Science and Technology domains to support our digital transformation. We will continue to sponsor our officers for degree and post-graduate studies for them to develop new skills, new knowledge and new perspectives for their jobs.


  14. This evening, I would like to highlight two stories of our award recipients who have demonstrated resilience and tenacity.


  15. The first is Sergeant (2) Micah Lee Xunliang from SPF. Micah is the youngest of eight siblings. He was home schooled before he went to Singapore Polytechnic to study Mechanical Engineering. He graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a high GPA score of 3.8 out of 4. Instead of pursuing his undergraduate studies immediately as he was in the position to do so, he decided to join SPF to fulfil his dream as a police officer, as well as not to place financial burden on his parents. After joining SPF, he continued to study hard and train hard. His efforts were paid off when he was awarded the Best Trainee and Best in Professional Studies Award. Sergeant Lee will be pursuing a BA in Political Science at the National University of Singapore this year.


  16. I also want to share the story of Staff Sergeant See Yusheng. At age 32, he made a mid-career switch and joined the SPS after working in the private sector for nine years. It was a big change for him. During the Basic Officer Course, he was one of the oldest trainees and had to work much harder as compared to his younger course mates. But he preserved and did very well and was in fact awarded the Outstanding Trainee Award. Staff Sergeant See will be pursuing a BA in Criminology and Security at SIT-UOL partnership programme.


  17. To Sergeant Lee and Staff Sergeant See, we wish you both all the best in your academic and professional upgrading journey.



  18. The Home Team offers a meaningful and exciting career and plentiful development opportunities for our officers. I applaud you for taking charge of your own development and encourage you to continue improving your skills and knowledge.


  19. I wish you every success in your studies and look forward to your return to contribute to a safer and more secure Singapore. To all the family members of our officers - thank you all for supporting all of them in their service to the nation. Through your support, you are also making a contribution and making a difference. Thank you and congratulations.