18 June 2014

Groundbreaking Ceremony of SAFRA Punggol – Speech by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Teo Chee Hean

Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence and Chairman, SAFRA Board of Governors

Mr Chan Chun Sing, Second Minister for Defence and President of SAFRA

Dr Maliki Osman, Minister of State for Defence and Deputy President of SAFRA

Fellow MPs from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning.

INTRODUCTION

1.              I am pleased to join you this morning for the Groundbreaking Ceremony of SAFRA Punggol. The development of SAFRA Punggol is part of the Government’s efforts to recognise our NSmen and their families for their contributions to national defence.

A NEW WATERFRONT CLUB FOR NSMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES

2.             Some may ask, why a SAFRA clubhouse, and why Punggol?

3.             Punggol is a growing new town, with some 150,000 residents by next year. Among them will be many NSmen and many young families. We want to serve our NSmen and the needs of their families. When SAFRA Punggol opens in early 2016, it will be easily accessible to the more than 70,000 NSmen who live in the North-eastern part of Singapore – a significant proportion of the total number of our 330,000 NSmen who can all have greater choices with this new club.

4.             Punggol is the most exciting new development in Singapore, with water as a unifying theme – the Punggol Waterway, Sungei Serangoon, Sungei Punggol and the sea. We want our NSmen and their families to enjoy the refreshing and uplifting environment here.

5.             The new 5-storey SAFRA Punggol club will complement and add to the waterfront facilities in Punggol. Integrated with the Punggol Waterway Park, the club will feature many open spaces and offer a wide variety of lifestyle and entertainment options for NSmen and their families to enjoy. When the new Punggol Regional Sports Centre is ready, SAFRA members will also enjoy direct access to its swimming pool and a variety of sports facilities.  

DEFENDING OUR HOMES, OUR FAMILIES

6.             Beyond the new and exciting facilities, the SAFRA clubhouse is also an important symbol, to answer the question “What will you defend?”. Having the SAFRA clubhouse here in the newest of our heartlands will be a constant reminder of what our NSmen are defending – our homes, our families, and the special Singapore that we have built together.

7.           Besides the new Punggol clubhouse, there are also plans to transform the SAFRA Mount Faber club into an executive lifestyle club by 2016, redevelop SAFRA Tampines to provide more sports and fitness facilities by 2018, and build a new SAFRA club in the North-western part of Singapore. HomeTeam NS will complete the upgrading of its clubhouses in Balestier, Chinatown and Bukit Batok this August. The family-themed Bukit Batok clubhouse will offer a new selection of eateries, learning centres, lifestyle shopping outlets, and a multi-shooting arena.  The Chinatown and Balestier clubhouses will have new eateries and revamped entertainment outlets. A new HTNS clubhouse in the Tampines Town Hub will also be ready by 2016.

8.           Each time our NSmen come to use one of these facilities, it is a reminder of what National Service is about – protecting our country, our homes, our families, what is ours. And our appreciation for their efforts and sacrifices, providing them with a wholesome environment to enjoy quality time with their loved ones and fellow NSmen.

COMMITTEE TO STRENGTHEN NATIONAL SERVICE

9.           We will continue to see how we can better recognise the contributions of our NSmen. Following the Government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Committee to Strengthen National Service, NSmen can look forward to receiving the NS HOME awards to assist them in their education, housing and healthcare needs. The Committee also recommended ways to expand community support for NSmen. All these help to anchor our NSmen’s commitment to protect Singapore, as part of a strong and cohesive SAF and Home Team.

CONCLUSION

10.          I would like to take this opportunity to commend SAFRA and HTNS for their good work in serving the lifestyle needs of NSmen. I would like to thank the SAFRA Punggol Development Committee, SAFRA corporate partners and volunteers for their support and contributions towards recognising NSmen.

11.           Most importantly, I would like to thank our National Servicemen, for committing your time and energy to train hard and being always ready to respond when called upon.  I also wish to express my appreciation to our servicemen’s families, friends and employers, whose support is critical for our NSmen to serve with pride.

12.           All of us here in Punggol look forward eagerly to this new clubhouse to serve our NSmen and their families, and our residents here in Punggol.

13.           Thank you very much.