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Speech by Minister Khaw Boon Wan at the MOT Family Scholarship Award Ceremony

26 Jul 2019 Speeches

1.     First of all, let me congratulate our scholarship recipients and their families. This year, there are 17 undergraduate and 24 postgraduate scholarships.

2.     MOT introduced the Beacon Scholarship in 2010, 10 years ago, to bring the different scholarships offered by the MOT family under a common brand. It helps to raise the awareness and profile of our scholarships. Over the past 10 years, we have awarded 319 Beacon Scholarships. Engineering is the core area of study, accounting for 45% of all awards.  But we offer a wide scope of scholarships to other fields, including Politics and Liberal Arts.  Regardless of the fields of pursuit, everyone will bring different perspectives to their work and improve the lives of Singaporeans, which is the purpose of joining the Ministry of Transport.

Building a World Class Transport System

3.     As Beacon Scholars, you are joining the transport sector, an exciting field that covers all modes of transport: air, sea and land.  In Singapore, all the three transport segments are expanding, therefore creating many opportunities for a meaningful career.  For example, Changi has just opened Jewel.  And there are still long queues of visitors.  I have visited Jewel 4 times but have yet to bite into a Shake Shack Burger!  We opened Terminal 4 last year, but we have started building Terminal 5 which will be even larger than all the existing 4 terminals combined.

4.     For the sea segment, we completed the Pasir Panjang Terminals last year.  But we have also started building the Tuas Mega Port.  Again, when completed, the Tuas Mega Port will be bigger than the all the existing Terminals combined.

5.     It is the same growth story in the land transport segment.  We completed Downtown Line two years ago.  But we are also busily building the Thomson-East Coast Line, and we have started planning the Cross Island Line, which will be the biggest project for us.

6.     Our focus is not just infrastructural construction, the hardware aspect of transport.  It is also about technology adoption, protecting our environment, to be green, building communities, and promoting healthy lifestyle through active mobility, through walk, cycle, ride  Overall, our work in transport  is about upping the quality of life for our people.

2019 Cohort of Beacon Scholars

7.     It is therefore vital for MOT to attract and nurture officers who understand the importance of putting  people, the commuters and the transport workers, at the heart of our transport system.

8.     Take for instance Michael Leong, an LTA scholar, who will be pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Michael joined LTA because he was inspired when he travels, by transport systems that he thought were thoughtful in terms of design and constructions. He hopes to be able to join the LTA team and improve the user experience of our transport system.

9.     Our earlier batches of scholars have returned now to contribute to building Singapore’s transport sector. Nicholas Ng, a CAAS scholar, in fact the pioneer cohort in 2010, is currently a Deputy Director in the Futures and Transformation Division in MOT. While in CAAS, Nicholas used to be involved in negotiating air services agreements, and allocating air traffic rights on important assignments.  To further his career development, Nicholas was posted to MOT to trial emerging transport concepts like on-demand public bus services and air taxis. He currently heads a team to develop and implement policies related to drones.  So these are all very exciting stuff!

10.    Beacon Scholarships are also awarded to in-service officers in support of continuing education.  Loh Sin Yee, an MPA officer has been awarded a scholarship to pursue her MBA at the University of Oxford.  Over the years, Sin Yee has worked on diverse portfolios across sea and land transport, as part of a structured talent development programme. At her 10th year in Public Service, Sin Yee is currently with MPA’s Industry Transformation Office.  She is looking forward to the opportunity at Oxford to learn from professionals from different countries and from different sectors.

11.    Like Michael, Nicholas and Sin Yee, our scholars will have many developmental opportunities that will grow them professionally.


12.    In closing, let me like to thank the parents, principals and teachers for the vital role you have played in nurturing your children and students. To our scholars, never forget those who have helped you along the way. Receiving the scholarship is both a privilege and a responsibility.  Do remember to have a sense of gratitude of those who helped you achieve what you have today and much more that you can do, going forward.

13.    Thank you.