Speech by Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore at the SMOU Bursary & Scholarship Awards Presentation, National Museum of Singapore Gallery Theatre on 28 September 2019

28 September 2019

Brother Rahim Bin Jaffar, President of SMOU

Sister Mary Liew, General Secretary of SMOU and President of NTUC

Brother Thomas Tay, Emeritus General Secretary of SMOU

Ladies and gentlemen

  1. MPA and SMOU’s partnership and collaboration in the maritime sector goes a long way back.  When I was invited to this event, I agreed without hesitation.  I am glad I did so.  Not only was I able to see so many familiar faces from SMOU, I also got to talk to many of our young recipients today and your family members here.  It certainly brings back fond memories of those good old days, when I was young, like many of you!

  2. SMOU’s Bursary & Scholarship Awards is a very meaningful initiative.  I was told this award started in 1982. More than 3,4000 awards have been given out amounting to $1.5m.  This year, 43 of you would receive awards amounting to $33,700.  This deserves a round of applause to both SMOU and NTUC U Care Education Co-funding scheme. 

  3. At the ReUnion exhibition this morning [1], we saw 50 years of the Labour Movement’s modernisation journey.

  4. The collaboration and cooperation we have between the Labour Movement, employers and government – “tripartism” – is something that is unique in the world.  It gives Singapore our competitive edge.  It has brought us to where we are today and a key contributor to Maritime Singapore.

  5. Since I am from MPA, I thought I will share a bit more about Maritime Singapore. The maritime sector is the essential backbone to our trade, to the things you see around us, to what fuels our economy and our homes, to what “moves” the world.

  6. Maritime Singapore is also a critical piece of the jigsaw puzzle in both Singapore’s history, present and definitely the future.  Today, Singapore is an international maritime centre contributing some 7% of Singapore’s GDP, employing about 170,000 people, and home to over 5,000 companies.  At any one time, we have 1,000 ships calling at our port.  Every 2-3 minutes, we have a ship entering and leaving our port.

  7. And the future is even more exciting as the industry goes through the transition towards greater digitalization, automation, disruptive technologies. such as AI and 3D printing, as well as “greening”.  It will be an industry with new opportunities and meaningful jobs when technology start-ups meet with maritime, when green and sustainability efforts meet with the industry both onshore and offshore.

  8. SMOU and MPA continue to work in partnership with each other on several key issues – developing the Tuas Port Ecosystem, upskilling Singaporeans through MaritimeONE scholarships, SkillsFuture, TNTA & TETA awards [2], advancing the Maritime Labour Convention and promoting welfare programmes for our seafarers. 

  9. We have Chung Hun here today too – our Director of Shipping at MPA, who was part of SMOU’s selection committee together with the Singapore Maritime Academy (Captain Mohd Salleh A Sarawan) and distinguished representative from the industry (Captain Sivasubramaniam Ganesan, Eaglestar Shipmanagment).

  10. To all the award recipients here today that will one day join the Singapore work force, I strongly urge you to consider joining the maritime industry.  It is a vibrant industry with many opportunities both on shore and at sea.  We need talent from cross disciplines including business, economics, engineering, computer science, arts, data analytics.

  11. I had the chance to speak with 19-year-old, Huey Min earlier today, who will be doing her IB (International Baccalaureate) studies – the first of award recipients I was told to do IB.  She is the second daughter of Mr Ng Kean Seng who has been an SMOU member for 31 years!  I hope to see you in Maritime Singapore soon. 

  12. For Maritime Singapore, we will continue to push ahead together as one.  We hope to bring in talented people, such as our award recipients here today, who will continue to contribute to this very important sector to Singapore, and to the world.  As you pursue your studies and join the working world, focus on developing three aspects:
    i)   M Quotient – meaningful / mindful quotient
    ii)   People Quotient
    iii) Adversity Quotient

  13. M-P-A!

  14. To end, please join me in thanking the papas, mummies and family members of our awardees here.  Being a mother myself, I am sure this is a moment of pride for you as you see your kid come on stage to get the award. 

  15. Thank you. 
[1] This year marks 50 years since the 1969 Modernisation Seminar that revolutionised and changed the course of the Labour Movement (LM). To commemorate the modernisation of the LM, NTUC is presenting the “ReUnion Exhibition” which brings visitors on the journey of how our modern tripartism came to be. Experience and learn about the Labour Movement’s story, intertwined with Singapore’s history, as it makes its way into the future. From the struggles and confrontations during the pre and post-independence days of Singapore to the triumphant moments of our common history, witness how the Labour Movement evolved into the modern movement it’s become today.

[2] Tripartite Nautical and Engineering Training Award (TNTA & TETA) programmes are initiatives to groom Singaporeans for a rewarding job in the maritime industry. TNTA and TETA cadets will be trained as CoC Class 3 Deck Officer and CoC Class 5 Marine Engineering Officer respectively.