Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen hosted the annual MINDEF Volunteers' Dinner this evening to recognise the contributions and commitment of 296 volunteers serving on 40 Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) boards and committees. Dr Ng also presented certificates of appointment and re-appointment to 53 volunteers at the dinner. Held annually since 1988, the MINDEF Volunteers' Dinner serves to thank volunteers for their invaluable contributions and support for MINDEF.
Speaking at the dinner, Dr Ng underlined the importance of the volunteers' contributions, deep expertise and experiences to strengthen MINDEF and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)'s systems and capabilities. He said, "…The significant and consistent contributions of our volunteers over the years have helped Singapore build a strong national defence. And I think when we look around us when there is so much uncertainty and trouble, a strong national defence becomes a priceless asset, because all of us know that amid the uncertainty and troubles, the mandate and mission of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) is to protect Singapore's interests and keep Singaporeans safe, and you as volunteers, you help MINDEF and the SAF achieve this important goal..."
Dr Ng also drew inspiration from Singapore's Bicentennial this year and reminded guests that Singapore would not be where it is today without the sacrifices of generations of volunteers before us, who came forward to play an active role in national security. He said, "I think this bicentennial year is a fitting reminder that the past shapes our future. We who are in the present are beneficiaries only because our forebears acted responsibly and courageously to do their part to give us a better life today. In turn, we in the present must give of our best so that tomorrow, Singapore will be better, stronger and more united."
The volunteers serving in MINDEF boards and committees are industry experts in the private and public sectors. Their contributions in diverse areas such as law, medicine, engineering, science, finance, and music and the arts allow MINDEF to stay updated on industry best practices and organisational processes. Through their extensive networks, these volunteers also serve as the link between MINDEF and the public by promoting public awareness on defence and inspiring support for NS.
Also present at the dinner were Senior Ministers of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How and Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General Melvyn Ong as well as senior officials from MINDEF and the SAF.