Tuesday, 11 August 2015

2015 National Day Awards

Order of Temasek (First Class)
Ex-minister given top civilian honour
S. Dhanabalan eighth person to get award; S R Nathan was previous recipient
By Chia Yan Min, The Sunday Times, 9 Aug 2015

Former senior Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan has been conferred the nation's top civilian honour, the Order of Temasek (First Class).

Mr Dhanabalan, 77, is only the eighth person in Singapore's history to receive the award. It was last given to former president S R Nathan in 2013.

Mr Dhanabalan is a member of the Council of Presidential Advisers and the Presidential Council for Minority Rights.

He tops this year's list of 3,888 National Day Award winners, who include military staff, public servants, community and grassroots leaders and educators.

Former Singapore National Employers Federation president Stephen Lee, 68, received the Order of Nila Utama (First Class), another one of Singapore's highest state awards.

Six others received the Distinguished Service Order: non-resident ambassador to Israel Winston Choo Wee Leong; non-resident ambassador to Switzerland Tee Tua Ba; chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities advisory board Liu Thai Ker; Gardens by the Bay chief executive Tan Wee Kiat; former Tiong Bahru MP Ch'ng Jit Koon; and former senior minister of state for education and the environment Sidek Saniff.

Sixteen people also received Commendation Medals for their contributions during the Sabah earthquake.

Mr Dhanabalan said in an e-mail that he is "gratified to be bestowed this honour".

"I have been fortunate to have worked with a team of outstanding and dedicated people whether in politics or the corporate world and we share this honour together.

"I continue to be blessed with people with the same qualities in what I am doing now."

He retired as chairman of Temasek Holdings in 2013 after a 17-year tenure.

This came after a career spanning over five decades in the private sector and in politics, 15 of them as a minister from 1978 to 1993.

He was also the chairman of Singapore Airlines from 1996 to 1998 and chairman of DBS Group Holdings from 1999 to 2005.

Mr Dhanabalan was appointed to the board of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC last August.

He was among the founding board of directors when GIC was established in 1981, and had served until 2005.

GIC group president and former civil service head Lim Siong Guan said Mr Dhanabalan "possesses an abiding sense of duty to do all he can for Singapore's future".

"Mr Dhanabalan's deep understanding of the country's reserve management goals means Singaporeans today, our children, and our children's children continue to be in the forefront of his dedicated service to the nation," he added.

Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng said Mr Dhanabalan played a key role in shaping the investment company's "values and ethos as an active investor and shareholder, a forward-looking institution and a trusted steward".

"He was a leader, a mentor and a steward, steering the company through our transformative years against the backdrop of globalisation and volatility. His exemplary service as one of Singapore's outstanding leaders continues to be an inspiration to us all," Mr Lim added.

Mr Peter Seah, who is the chairman of DBS Bank, said that Mr Dhanabalan made significant contributions as one of the founding members of DBS.

"In the early years, we were known as the Development Bank of Singapore. He personally wrote the bank's prospectus and was instrumental in securing credit lines for the bank," Mr Seah added.

• A full list of this year's National Day Award recipients is available at the Prime Minister's Office website: www.pmo.gov.sg/national-day-awards

Order of Nila Utama (First Class)
Ex-SNEF president lauded
By Jasmine Osada, The Sunday Times, 9 Aug 2015

They spent their careers shaping Singapore into what it is today. And as the nation celebrates its Golden Jubilee, the pioneer-generation contributors who have helped to make it happen are being recognised with top honours at the National Day Awards.

Joining a small group of Singaporeans who have been conferred the Order of Nila Utama (First Class) - one of Singapore's highest state awards - is Mr Stephen Lee.

The 68-year-old former president of the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) was nominated by the Ministry of Manpower in recognition of his contributions and commitment to industrial relations, tripartism and the Singapore economy.

As president of the federation from 1988 to last year, Mr Lee played a key role in shaping employment policies to benefit both employers and employees.

"He also contributed significantly to the National Wages Council, where he pushed for wage reform, by restructuring wages from a seniority-based wage structure to a flexible and performance-based wage system today," a spokesman for the ministry said.

Mr Lee said that winning the award "is a recognition of the contribution by SNEF in building a strong tripartite partnership in Singapore". He added: "There are new challenges facing the tripartite partners. The long-term objectives however, remain the same - the provision of good-quality jobs for our workers and the equitable sharing of the fruits of our economic success."

Among those who have been conferred the Distinguished Service Order this year are Dr Liu Thai Ker, chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities advisory board, Mr Tee Tua Ba, non-resident ambassador to Switzerland, and Dr Tan Wee Kiat, chief executive officer of Gardens by the Bay.

The National Day Awards will be given out at an investiture ceremony later this year.

For Dr Liu, the award came "as a totally pleasant surprise".

The former head of the Housing Development Board, who pioneered the building of high-rise homes, counts his time there as the most rewarding in his career.

"I often bump into total strangers who thank me for giving them a good home," said Dr Liu, 77. "That is a very heartwarming experience."

Former Commissioner of Police Mr Tee, 73, credited his award to the teams he has worked with.

"In the early days, the police force was not respected by the people," he recalled.

"During the colonial times, people even called the police 'running dogs'. But through community policing, we have managed to cultivate a relationship with the public to turn the police force's image from a negative one into a positive one."

Dr Tan, who previously headed the National Parks Board for 16 years, said that turning Singapore into a "city in a garden" is one of his proudest achievements.

"I've always felt very grateful to work in my dream job," said the 72-year-old.

"To be recognised for what I do on top of it is icing on the cake."

Distinguished Service Order
Long-time MPs' grassroots work recognised
By Leong Weng Kam and Choo Yun Ting, The Sunday Times, 9 Aug 2015

Veteran politicians Ch'ng Jit Koon and Sidek Saniff were two of six recipients of the Distinguished Service Order at this year's National Day Awards.

The former senior ministers of states were honoured for their grassroots work as long-time MPs.

Both Mr Ch'ng, 81, and Mr Sidek, 77, are stalwarts of their respective ethnic communities and have a combined 54 years in Parliament under their belts.

Mr Sidek was conferred the award for his role as a former adviser to the Aljunied Grassroots Organisations. He served as an MP in Aljunied GRC from 1997-2001 after spending five earlier terms in Kolam Ayer, Jalan Besar GRC and Eunos GRC.

A founding member of the Malay/Muslim self-help group Mendaki, Mr Sidek served in the Environment and Education Ministries as an office holder.

Both Mr Ch’ng, 81, and Mr Sidek, 77, are stalwarts of their respective ethnic communities and have a combined 54 years in Parliament under their belts.

In his 10-year stint with the latter ministry, he played a key role in narrowing the gap between the academic performance of Malay and non-Malay students.

Mr Ch'ng was conferred the award for his role as a former adviser to the Tiong Bahru, Bukit Merah and Tanjong Pagar Grassroots Organisations. He was an MP in these constituencies at different points over 28 years in politics, starting in 1968 among the first batches of PAP cadres.

A former senior minister of state for community development, Mr Ch'ng was entrusted by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew with the task of connecting government leaders to the people, especially the Chinese ground. To that end, he initiated the practice of ministerial walkabouts, which is still carried out today.

When contacted, both men expressed surprise at the award and said that they felt undeserving.

"I have left political office for nearly 20 years now, and I am really surprised to be given such a great honour," said Mr Ch'ng, who retired in 1996. "It is good to be remembered, but I still think I don't deserve it because I was just doing my job, first as an MP and a backbencher in Parliament, and later an office holder in government."

Mr Sidek, who retired in 2001, said he was "thankful and humbled". "Whatever they say I've done, I could not have done it alone," he said.

"My contributions were normal and nothing extraordinary. What I've done with my colleagues is like that in any other constituency - to look after the residents."

Meritorious Service Medal (Military)
Send-off for defence chief
By Ng Huiwen, The Sunday Times, 9 Aug 2015

Chief of Defence Force Ng Chee Meng received a state send-off after he was awarded the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) - the Meritorious Service Medal (Military) - at this year's National Day Awards.

Lieutenant-General Ng, 47, who became Singapore's eighth defence chief in 2013, will retire from the SAF on Aug 18. He is the first defence chief in more than 10 years to be appointed from the air force, where he served as chief for more than three years.

His exit has fuelled speculation that he is likely to stand for the PAP in the coming general election. If so, he will be the highest-ranking military officer and the first defence chief to enter politics.

Tonight is an especially meaningful night for me at the National Day Investiture. I am proud to receive the MSM...
Posted by Ng Chee Meng 黄志明 on Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lt-Gen Ng, who was awarded the SAF Overseas Training Award, graduated from the US Air Force Academy and has a Master of Arts (International Relations) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. During his 29 years serving in the military, he has commanded the 144th Squadron, which operates the F-5 Tigers, as well as Changi Air Base.

He has also served as head of the air plan department and as director of joint operations. He was Military Private Secretary to the Defence Minister from December 1995 to July 1996. As defence chief, he most recently led the preparations for the state funeral of Singapore founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

"I dedicate this award to our servicemen and women, both past and present," said Lt-Gen Ng. "It is a recognition of their service... I am humbled and grateful to have served alongside them."

Some 554 individuals receiving National Day Honours this year are from the military.

16 get awards for Sabah quake efforts
By Tiffany Fumiko Tay, The Straits Times, 9 Aug 2015

Two months after the ill-fated Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) trip to Mount Kinabalu, 16 people have been awarded Commendation Medals for their efforts to guide pupils to safety when a quake hit the Sabah mountain.

The recipients of the medals given out as part of the National Day Awards include two TKPS teachers, a guide as well as two Malaysian trainers who died.

The recipients commended posthumously for "Devotion to duty and exemplary conduct during the Sabah earthquake" are teachers Mohammad Ghazi Mohamed and Terrence Sebastian Loo, guide Muhammad Daanish Amran as well as the two Malaysians Ricky Masirin and Valerian Joannes.

The others are TKPS teachers Mohamed Faizal, Joshua Tan, Nur Uzaimah Fadzali, Lee Hui Jun, Carolyn De Souza, Roushan Amir Hussain; Singaporean Camp Challenge instructors Mohamad Amin Mohamad Nor and Norashikin Mohamad Isnin as well as Malaysian Mountain Torq trainers Hajiris Sulomin, Hilary Hendry Augustinus and James Maikol.

Mr Mohamed Faizal, who teaches English and physical education, appreciated the award but said: "We weren't doing anything extra. We were doing what is required of us as teachers, which is taking care of the kids under our charge."

Mr Faizal, 28, said the past two months have been tough for him and the school, but that the support they have received "has been amazing, and it allows us to heal".

Mr Mohamad Amin, 29, of Camp Challenge, which ran the school trip to Mount Kinabalu, said he did not think he would be able to forget the 10 Singaporean lives lost on the mountain on June 5. "My thoughts do return to that day, but somehow things have to go on."

Ms Quek I-Gek, 42, marketing director of Mountain Torq, which operates the Via Ferreta trek, said the trainers were "honoured but surprised" by the award, as they were just doing their job. They are anxious to resume their operations on Mount Kinabalu, she added.

"We can't wait for the mountain to open again, so we can go back up and do what we do best," she said.

I was pleased to preside over the Investiture of the 2015 National Day Awards this evening to present awards to around...
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450 receive National Day honours
Ex-minister S. Dhanabalan conferred top civilian honour for his contributions to nation
By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 9 Nov 2015

Former Cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan was conferred Singapore's top civilian honour, the Order of Temasek (First Class), for his contributions to the country's success and prosperity.

The former Temasek Holdings chairman was among 450 people who received their awards from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the National Day Awards investiture yesterday, held at the University Cultural Centre.

This year's awards, coming in the 50th year of Singapore's independence, recognised the hard work and dedication of its pioneers and those who had made outstanding contributions to nation building.

Mr Dhanabalan, 78, was commended for his stellar contributions as a leader and mentor to the community, businesses and in government throughout much of Singapore's independence.

In Singapore's initial years, he was in a select group of pioneers driving its economic strategies. Later, he steered Temasek Holdings through a period of global volatility as its chairman from 1996 to 2013.

He was in the Cabinet for close to 17 years, starting in 1976.

He retired from politics in September 1992 but returned three months later to be the minister of trade and industry for a year when Singapore's two deputy prime ministers were diagnosed with cancer.

Mr Dhanabalan helmed a wide array of ministries, from foreign affairs, culture and community development, to national development and trade and industry.

He is only the eighth individual to be conferred the Order of Temasek (First Class). Most recently, former president S R Nathan received the award in 2013.

The country's next-highest award, the Order of Nila Utama (First Class), was given to the former president of the Singapore National Employers Federation, Mr Stephen Lee, who stepped down last year after holding the post for 26 years.

Mr Lee was lauded for his contributions in strengthening the tripartite relationship between businesses, unions and the Government, as well as ensuring Singapore's economic progress.

Six veteran public servants, including two former parliamentarians, received the Distinguished Service Order. Former Tiong Bahru MP Ch'ng Jit Koon and former senior minister of state for education Sidek Saniff were honoured for their contributions to the Chinese and the Malay/Muslim community respectively, as well as to the grassroots.

The other four Distinguished Service Order recipients were former defence chief Winston Choo; former police commissioner Tee Tua Ba; chairman of the Centre for Liveable Cities advisory board Liu Thai Ker; and Gardens by the Bay chief executive Tan Wee Kiat.

Thirteen individuals were given the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of their contributions in areas such as religious harmony, the arts, sports and education.

The Commendation Medal was awarded to 16 teachers, guides and instructors for their actions during the Sabah earthquake in June.

They guided the Tanjong Katong Primary School pupils on Mount Kinabalu under their care to safety.

Five of them lost their lives: teachers Mohammad Ghazi Mohamed and Terrence Sebastian Loo, guide Muhammad Daanish Amran as well as Malaysian trainers Ricky Masirin and Valerian Joannes.

Their family members received the posthumous awards.

The citation for the group said: "Their actions under difficult circumstances exemplify the spirit of educators."

Teacher Mohamed Faizal Abdul Salam, 28, who suffered a skull fracture while shielding a pupil, said: "It's a very nice gesture to be given this award, and for it to be given to our colleagues who passed away, because everybody played an important role when it happened."

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LG (Ret) Winston Choo receiving his much deserved Distinguished Service Order for his pioneering role in forming the SAF. Congrats!- Ng Eng Hen
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