Published: 02 October 2015
Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee
Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin
Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of Home Team Boards and Committees
Home Team community partners and volunteers
Friends and colleagues
1. Thank you for being here this evening to do me this honour and giving me this opportunity to say thank you to all of you.
2. It has been a great privilege for me to work with all of you in the Home Team for the past four years and four months. I have visited many of you as you served in the units, in your everyday duties and also during your operations and exercises. I am honoured to have met many of you, our very able and dedicated officers including NSF and NSmen, who put your lives on the line to keep Singapore and Singaporeans safe and secure, 24/7, 365 days a year.
3. Working with our community partners and volunteers, many of whom are here today as well, we have tackled many security challenges together – terrorism, cyber-security, the rehabilitation of offenders, illegal immigration and drugs, unlicensed money lending, fire safety, and trans-boundary crime. We have tackled each of these systematically and thoroughly, leaving no stone unturned. We have dealt with several crises. Time and again, we have risen to the challenge, learnt from each incident, and shown the resilience, capacity, capability and strength of the whole Home Team.
4. On the few occasions when we fell short in carrying out our duties or in living up to the Home Team's values, we have faced these squarely. But there have been so many more occasions when we recognised and commended our officers who have done well, including many of you.
5. During my time with the Home Team, we have strengthened our capabilities in ground sensing, command and control, and force deployment. These help us to pre-empt and prevent incidents, and respond effectively to those that do arise. We have stepped up exercises to be better prepared for contingencies. There is stronger teamwork and coordination among our departments and the ministry headquarters working closely together as one Home Team, as well as with other agencies, community partners and volunteers. These improvements can already be felt and seen in the daily work of our officers. You have also done the Home Team proud and Singapore proud in enabling all the major events this year to take place smoothly and successfully – including the National Mourning for Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the SEA Games, Jubilee Weekend and the recent General Elections.
6. But it is not enough to do well today, we must also prepare for the future. We have secured multi-year resources, which helps us to plan better for the long term. We are looking after our officers better, adopting a more integrated systems approach in our work and planning, and using technology in more strategic, innovative and bold ways. Many of you are now working on long-term plans, on trying out concepts, technology and equipment. These will in time, significantly enhance our capabilities so that the Home Team will be more integrated, resilient, responsive, nimble and forward-looking, ready for contingencies and for the future.
7. I would like to thank all of you for your hard work and personal sacrifices. Because of you, our Home Team officers working with the community, Singaporeans are able to go about their daily lives, raise families, carry on their business, free from the worry for their safety and security.
8. Thanks to you, Singaporeans enjoy communal harmony and social stability, free from inter-communal strife. Our sovereignty is protected, free from subversion and espionage. Singaporeans, young and old, can walk through our streets, day or night, free from the fear of crime. Our children can go to school, free from the temptation of drugs. And Singapore is free to chart our own future.
9. I would like to put on record, my thanks to Ministers Iswaran and Masagos for their support, ideas, wise counsel, and willingness to help me to take on the many challenging, and often, the most difficult tasks in MHA.
10. I had the privilege of taking over the ministry from Minister Shanmugam and many of the things that we did in the ministry, especially the new laws that we put into place were things which he had prepared to do before I stepped in to take over the ministry. I hand over the Ministry with full confidence, into the good hands of Minister Shanmugam, and the new political leadership team, with SMS Desmond Lee and Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin. Many of you will remember Mr Shanmugam from his previous stint as Home Affairs Minister, which he now has the privilege to be able to fully complete. In the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Political Office Holders will be ably supported by Permanent Secretary Leo Yip and our Home Team leaders, together with our officers who bring experience, energy and ideas.
11. As Coordinating Minister for National Security, I will continue to take a close interest in the work of the Home Team, and our Home Team officers, albeit from a different vantage point. I know and I trust that you will serve with Honour and Unity, and partner the community to make Singapore an even safer and more secure home for all of us.
12. Thank you very much for your hard work and dedication over the past four years and over many years. Let me also thank your families for their understanding and support. I wish all of you and your families good health, success, and happiness. Thank you very much.