Ministry of Home Affairs National Day Observance Ceremony - Speech by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs

Published: 02 August 2018

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean,

Senior Parliamentary Secretaries Amrin Amin and Sun Xueling,

Home Team colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,


Good afternoon.



      “We are Singapore”


  1. The theme for this year’s National Day comes from a classic National Day song - “We are Singapore”. It is a song that we are all familiar with, and it is a declaration we are proud to make as Singaporeans.


  2. But at the birth of our nation 53 years ago, the future was filled with uncertainty.Seniors who lived through the early years of independence remember that things were not always smooth-sailing. However, through ups and downs, thick and thin, Singaporeans remained united. We put aside our differences and joined hands, time and time again to overcome adversity. This can-do spirit became a defining feature for Singapore. Together, we made progress and demonstrated to the world what a little red dot can do.


  3. A recent example was the hosting of the Trump-Kim Summit. We had very little time to prepare for the Summit. The event was on, off, and then on again. But we took it in our stride, and the whole of Singapore came together once again to make the historic Summit a success.


  4. Home Team officers made personal sacrifices, cancelling their leave and holiday plans which they had made well in advance involving their families, especially the children, who were looking forward to it because it was the school holidays. Our Muslim colleagues worked overtime while fasting during Ramadan.


  5. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs took the lead on the overall coordination, and the Ministry of Communications and Information, on media management. All the other Government agencies leaned forward to support. The private sector contributed in logistics support. Singaporeans too were gracious about the inconvenience caused by the Summit, such as the road closures.


    Home Team’s Role in Making Singapore a Home


  6. In this particular event, the Home Team did very well, not just in helping to get it organised, but more importantly, in what we are most valued for - ensuring that the Summit took place in a safe and secure environment without incident. This is what we are known for - keeping Singapore safe and secure every day.


  7. Just last week, there was a vicious slashing incident at Serangoon Road. Police reacted swiftly, tracked down, and arrested the seven suspects in 18 hours.


  8. In late June, CNB officers arrested more than a hundred suspected drug offenders. Some had young children, including infants, with them. CNB’s intervention hopefully saved these children from further exposure to drugs, and a life of waste and misery.


  9. In different ways, each Home Team Department and each Home Team officer has played a significant part in making Singapore a home we, and our families, can feel secure in.


  10. As we celebrate National Day, we remember also the achievements of the Home Team being made possible only because of our people and officers - your professionalism, drive for excellence, and most importantly, your unstinting commitment to Singapore, our nation. So it is fitting today, that we also honour the recipients of the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Awards. The award recipients are our Home Team colleagues, as well as members of the public who have made significant contributions to the safety and security of Singapore.


  11. Colleagues, I started my speech by talking about the classic National Day song “We are Singapore”.You know it, and perhaps remember the chorus where the lyrics go something like this:


    We are Singapore, We are Singapore

    We will stand together, hear the lion roar

    We are Singapore, We are Singapore

    We’re a nation strong and free forever more


  12. This National Day, let us re-dedicate ourselves to our nation, to always stand together, to keep Singapore strong and free forever more.


  13. Congratulations to all award recipients, and Happy National Day to all!