02 August 2014

Speech by Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Prime Minister’s Officer and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, MHA Sponsorship Presentation Ceremony 2014

Award recipients, parents, spouses, relatives and guests, 

Home Team colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Introduction

1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to join all of you here for the MHA Sponsorship Presentation Ceremony.  

2. This morning, we will be presenting 183 Home Team officers with awards – 18 officers will receive sponsorship awards to pursue postgraduate studies, and 165 officers will pursue their undergraduate degrees.  For the first time, we are presenting postgraduate sponsorship awards at this annual ceremony. The officers will be undertaking Masters studies in a varied range of subjects, from psychology to systems design, to leadership and strategy. Our various sponsorships from undergraduate to postgraduate levels reflect MHA’s commitment to invest in and recognize our officers, to support and facilitate their efforts to acquire knowledge and upgrade themselves throughout their careers.     

3. I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all 183 award recipients on your achievements.  You deserve this award because you have done well and contributed to the Home Team, with commitment and leadership.  I would also like to thank your family members for their encouragement and support of your work with the Home Team, and also your studies.  

MHA’s commitment to develop our officers 

4. Our officers are invaluable to the Home Team.  Investing in our people is one of our key strategies to strengthen our capabilities, so that we can continue to be successful in fulfilling MHA’s mission of keeping our country safe and secure.  We are therefore committed to developing our officers to their full potential by providing opportunities for professional development and growth. 

Academic Upgrading Opportunities 

5. Over the past few years, MHA has put in place a range of programmes to develop our officers.  In 2009, we started the Home Affairs Learning and Growth Opportunities Programme (HALO) to sponsor officers for full-time undergraduate studies at the local universities on full pay.  In addition, we launched the Full-Time Degree Sponsorship Programme in 2010 to provide officers with a wider choice of local and overseas universities for their studies on half pay. Most recently, last year, we collaborated with the Singapore Institute of Technology and UK’s University of Liverpool to offer a degree programme in Criminology and Security. 

6. Besides full-time degrees, we also sponsor many officers for part-time degree studies, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and at both local and overseas universities.  Since 2010, MHA has awarded undergraduate and postgraduate sponsorships to more than 500 Home Team officers.  

7. Let me highlight two officers who will be receiving awards this morning.

8. Staff Sergeant Yeo Ren Jie graduated with a Diploma in Product and Industrial Design from Temasek Polytechnic in 2008.  He did very well in his studies and was on the Dean’s list for 2 consecutive years.  He also qualified for a place in NUS to study for a degree in Industrial Design.  While studying at Temasek Polytechnic, Staff Sergeant Yeo Ren Jie had joined the Singapore Civil Defence Force as a volunteer, specifically as an ambulance medic.  It was during this volunteer stint that he developed his passion for paramedic work.  Upon completing his diploma studies in 2008, he decided not to proceed with his degree studies and instead chose to join SCDF as a paramedic.  

9. Today, Staff Sergeant Yeo Ren Jie’s hard work has paid off.  He has a fulfilling and challenging career with the SCDF, and he has been recognized with the HALO award this year.  He will be pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design at NUS, on full pay.  After his graduation, he will resume his career with the SCDF as a Senior Officer. 

10. The second officer I want to highlight is Staff Sergeant Mohamed Elhazeeq Ul Haq, from the SPF.  Staff Sergeant Mohamad Elhazeeq’s father was the sole breadwinner for his family of six.  To ease the financial burden on his father, he worked part-time as a cashier and factory worker to pay for his school expenses while studying at Singapore Polytechnic.  He started his career with SPF in 2009 after he graduated with his Diploma in Marine Engineering.  Throughout his 5 years with SPF, he has shown great passion for his work, and a keen desire to upgrade his education.  For his exemplary work performance, MHA and SPF are awarding him a Home Team sponsorship to pursue the degree programme in Criminology and Security at the Singapore Institute of Technology.    

11. The stories of Staff Sergeant Yeo Ren Jie and Staff Sergeant Mohamed Elhazeeq Ul Haq are not unique.  Like them, many of our Home Team officers not only excel in their work, but also have the drive to upgrade themselves professionally. 

12. To our award recipients today – we are all proud of your determination to further your education and enhance your professional capabilities.  The journey ahead may be challenging, but I am confident that you will persevere and do well in your studies.  

Conclusion

13. The Ministry is committed to investing in the growth and professional development of our officers.  We will help our officers to be the best that they can be.  Our award recipients today are testimony to the dedication and hard work of our many Home Team officers, who are strongly motivated to enhance their professional development.  We will continue to support our officers in upgrading their skills and competencies, and fulfilling their aspirations. 

14. Let me once again congratulate all our award recipients on receiving the sponsorship award.  I wish you every success in your studies and career with the Home Team.  

15. Thank you.