Published: 10 April 2021
President of HomeTeamNS, Minister of State Muhammad Faishal,
Board of Governors,
Commissioner of Police, Commissioner of Civil Defence,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. A very good evening to all of you.
2. This is a happy occasion here for the official opening of the Khatib Clubhouse, and at the same time, the conferring of our HomeTeamNS Awards. Today, we recognise the contributions of our officers to the growth and development of HomeTeamNS.
Role of Home Team National Servicemen
Supporting our Frontline Operations
3. We have emphasised the important role that national servicemen play – they are a key part of the Home Team, they ensure the success of our mission.
4. When you see a group of Police officers at the MRT station, nine out of 10 are NSmen. If you look at a fire engine crew, four-man, out of them, two or three would be NSmen. If you look at our ambulance crew, one out of every three officers would be an NSman.
5. Since last year, our NSmen have been a key part of the Community Engagement Taskforce, supporting community policing at Land Divisions.
6. Our NSmen work with regular officers, in daily operations. They deal with crimes, they maintain law and order, and they save lives.
Supporting the Fight against COVID-19
7. The COVID-19 crisis showed the critical role that our NSmen play in the Home Team.
8. We deployed nearly 2,400 NSmen. They came in to support the Government’s efforts to fight COVID-19.
9. The ambulance crews attended to persons with COVID-19 and suspected cases on a daily basis.
10. When the outbreak in the foreign worker dormitories got worse, we recalled almost 700 Police NSmen to ensure safety and order at dorms and quarantine facilities.
11. These are not easy jobs. Many were recalled at short notice. They stepped up, even though they risked being exposed to COVID-19. They carried out their duties with commitment, professionalism, and courage.
12. Of course, we made sure of their safety.They were issued with personal protective equipment (PPE). Protocols were put in place for them to safely attend to persons with respiratory symptoms. We also rostered them for swab tests, vaccines, and we provided them with psychological support.
13. Today, we will be recognising our NSmen. We will be giving out the 20-Year Long Service Awards to recognise their commitment to HomeTeamNS. We will also give out the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Meritorious Awards to recognise significant contributions. Let me refer to a few of them.
14. First, Lieutenant-Colonel (NS) Sim Meng San, he is one of this year’s recipients for the Platinum award. He is the Chairman of Sembawang Executive Committee. He organised unique events like Christmas with a cause, and helped the Clubhouse draw a record 24,000 visitors a month. With his background in the IT industry, he helped in efforts to develop the Khatib Clubhouse, this Clubhouse, as the first smart clubhouse, and digitalising HomeTeamNS’ services and offerings.
15. I would also like to mention Deputy Assistant Commissioner (NS) Lim Kok Hwa, he is one of our Gold award recipients, and Chairman of Balestier Executive Committee. He led the Clubhouse through very challenging times, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Co-Chairman of North Clubhouse Tender Evaluation Committee, he was very instrumental. He provided important inputs in the selection of project consultants, sub-contractors, for the development of this Club.
16. Mr David Chua, he is one of our longest-serving committee members. He will receive both the Silver Award and the 20 Year Long Service Award. And over the last 20 years, David has made many contributions to HomeTeamNS in areas ranging from sports, to clubhouse development. He is a keen golfer, swimmer, and he worked hard to make sure that HomeTeamNS offered the best sporting facilities for members. He helped to increase member engagement in the GolfLinks interest group. His knowledge and experience of the construction industry was very helpful in both the planning and development of this Khatib Clubhouse.
17. We recognise, value our officers, Lieutenant-Colonel (NS) Sim, Deputy Assistant Commissioner (NS) Lim, Mr Chua, and all of our award winners, for their contributions to HomeTeamNS. There are several winners of the 5, 10 and 15-Year Long Service Awards, Commendation Award, and the Friends of HomeTeamNS Award. We thank each one of them.
18. Given the capacity limits for events, we have to give out these awards separately, at separate events.
19. I would like to congratulate all of them, and look forward to their and your continued support for HomeTeamNS.
Building a Cohesive and Engaged NS Community
20. We also want to foster a strong Home Team identity, for all our NSmen to feel pride and belonging.
21. Let me share some of our latest efforts.
Virtual Fitness Training
22. First, fitness training. Last year, MHA worked with HomeTeamNS and Sport Singapore to launch the Virtual Fitness Training initiative.
23. These are free fitness classes for our NSmen. They are conducted by professional trainers. They do it over video livestream and NSmen can attend the training from their own homes.
24. This method offers a convenient and safe alternative to in-person training and it helps NSmen stay fit during COVID-19, and it will count towards their IPPT Preparatory Training (IPT).
25. And the Virtual Fitness Training has seen more than 8,000 sign-ups since its launch.
Usage of HomeTeamNS Gyms for Fitness Training
26. Second, usage of our gyms for fitness training. Starting in May this year, NSmen will be able to use our HomeTeamNS gyms for their IPT, as well as for the NS Fitness Improvement Training, or FIT, programme, which will replace the IPT in June.
27. We are working with Sport Singapore to also allow NSmen to use ActiveSG gyms for fitness training as well.
28. We will also pilot a mobile app to streamline registration, attendance taking, and performance tracking for fitness training sessions.
29. And with these initiatives, our hope is that it will become more convenient, provide more flexibility for NSmen, and better support them to achieve their fitness.
30. We have also launched the HomeTeamNS Family Scheme in October last year. This scheme offers free family membership for the second family member onwards. It will benefit as many as 75,000 family members.
31. The take-up has been strong so far, since October, with more than 6,000 sign ups, and that’s more than 40 per cent of our annual target.
32. The new HomeTeamNS mobile app is part of our effort to transform the way we serve our members.
33. Members can use the app to access their e-membership card, check crowd levels, book facilities and redeem member benefits.
34. HomeTeamNS will continue its efforts to digitise, innovate, to better serve.
Next Generation of Clubhouses
35. Let me say something about the next generation clubhouses. In 2016, we started on a clean slate, on the Clubhouse Masterplan.
36. My brief to the Team, the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as HomeTeamNS, was very simple – the HomeTeamNS Clubhouses must be equal to the best in class, if not better, and they must be modern, they must be attractive. The locations must be excellent. And, by seeing them, looking at them, using them, they must reflect, and they must show class, and show how we value our NSmen.
37. It was an ambitious plan, to build three next-gen Clubhouses.
38. They represent our efforts to transform member experience, enhance our value proposition, and stay relevant to NSmen and their families.
39. That was the vision – easy enough to say, but it had to be converted to reality. Our Development Committee took on the task, with both professionals and NSmen volunteers, working closely with an Advisory Panel of industry experts, and our HomeTeamNS staff. They oversaw the construction, design and building the clubhouses, and of course getting the plan for which some help was needed.
40. The Khatib Clubhouse today that we are in, is the first of three next-gen Clubhouses. It is a significant milestone in the Clubhouse Masterplan.
41. To make this clubhouse a reality, we sought feedback and ideas from more than 1,500 NSmen on what features they would like to see. Let me share some examples.
42. First, location, location, location. It starts with that. It’s a short walk from Khatib MRT, and I think the development committee made a good choice in choosing Khatib Nee Soon. I would have done the same.
43. Second, they wanted more facilities for recreation and cohesion building, and unique offerings. For example, the Adventure HQ is the largest indoor adventure hub, the first indoor roll glider, the longest indoor slide in Singapore. TactSim contains Singapore’s first indoor airsoft arena where NSmen can engage in combat. You saw the excellent video just now, and the video was very well done I must say, with realistic equipment in an urban environment, to test their marksmanship and their decision making. You have the T-Play Khatib, which is Singapore’s first and only Peranakan-themed indoor playground and it’s quite exceptional when you go and see it. I’m sure all of you have. It offers an exciting, interactive experience for parents and children to come together. It’s become, even in the short time that they have been opened, a popular destination for NSmen and their kids.
44. Third, the private lounge areas for people to come together, NSmen and their families. They come equipped with Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and private BBQ patios.
45. Fourth, smart and sustainable features like self-service kiosks, real time crowd numbers, solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system. These features, along with others, helped the clubhouse attain the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award.
46. The very first Home Team e-Mart is also located here, making it convenient for NSmen to pick up their equipment when they come in for NS.
47. Since the soft launch of the Club on the 1st of August last year, it has already received about half a million visitors, and this is during a very difficult period. It’s been an exceptional period, from August last year to now. Even now, we are not back to where we would be normally. Customer satisfaction levels are well above the industry norm. Membership sign-ups and renewals for those living in the Northern area have increased significantly between October 2020 and January 2021, compared with a year ago. We broke ground in May 2018, less than three years ago, and with the COVID-19 crisis in between, I’m actually very impressed that we built it in record time and have it open, and now we are doing the official opening.
48. The Development Committee, the Advisory Panel, and HomeTeamNS, have done an excellent job in building this Clubhouse. Thank you very much.
49. Let me now say something about the next-gen clubhouse at Bedok. It is under construction now. I think it is going to be very impressive – located right next to Bedok Reservoir, we wanted a waterfront view.
50. It will also have its own unique facilities, such as an indoor water park with the longest indoor water slide in Singapore, an infinity pool, and of course, the private villas that many of you know about.
51. I personally look forward to its opening at the end of next year.
52. And the third next-gen clubhouse will be at Tengah. That will be a little bit later.
53. These are exciting developments for our Home Team NSmen.
54. I am personally very proud of having beebn a part of this development. I believe all of you and all of our Home Team NSmen will be equally proud.
55. On behalf of the Home Team, I thank all our NSmen for your service in keeping Singapore safe and secure, and I thank your families for their support.
56. I hope you and your family will take the opportunity to enjoy our clubhouse’s facilities.
57. Please enjoy the rest of the evening.
58. Thank you very much.