DPM Heng Swee Keat at the Launch of the NTU Class of 1985 Fundraising for Prof Chen Charng Ning Endowment Fund

DPM Heng Swee Keat | 30 December 2020

Speech by Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat at the Launch of the NTU Class of 1985 Fundraising for Prof Chen Charng Ning Endowment Fund on 30 December 2020.


Mrs Chen Charng Ning,

Prof Ling San,
Deputy President & Provost, Nanyang Technological University,

Dr Lee Bee Wah and Mr. Inderjit Singh,
Co-Chairs of the Class of 85 Committee,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning to all of you.

I am very pleased to join you for the launch of the NTU Class of 1985 fundraising in memory of the late Professor Chen Charng Ning.

Prof Chen, as we have heard, was the founding Dean at the School of Civil and Structural Engineering when many of you were his undergraduates in the pioneering class. He went on to become the Deputy President of NTU for almost a decade before his retirement in Year 2000. As we heard from Ling San, he is a very well-liked and well-respected professor. He devoted more than four decades
of his life to creating and imparting knowledge on water resources, environmental engineering, and project management. He left an indelible mark not just on his students and in Singapore, but also on the international stage. He was appointed by the World Bank on numerous occasions to work on projects, including in China, Vietnam and Laos. His work helped to improve the lives of many people in the region.

Prof Chen was also the founding Chairman of the Building and Construction Authority, when BCA was established in 1999, and oversaw BCA’s work to transform the construction industry and to streamline building regulations. He also made significant contributions in the area of coastal adaptation. He was one of the early advisors to the government in this very complex area of coastal engineering.

I am heartened that the Class of 1985 has decided to honour the memory of Prof Chen by raising funds and set up the Chen Charng Ning Endowment Fund. This fundraising effort helps support the pursuit of excellence through scholarships, and to help those with financial difficulties through bursaries. This effort also embodies the spirit of Singapore Together, where each of us do our part to help those around us, so that we can progress together as one people.

This ground-up initiative is particularly meaningful in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many more undergraduates and their families are going through difficult times, and your generosity can help ensure we maintain social mobility. I commend the Class of 85 for coming together to raise funds during these challenging times. This spirit of honouring inspiring and caring teachers like Prof
Chen enables us to build a brighter future, generation after generation. Thank you very much.

Bee Wah told me that you hope to raise at least $2 million. At launch, you are already halfway there with a $1 million donation from Santarli Construction, which Prof Chen was board chairman for almost two decades until his passing last year. I would like to thank Santarli Construction for your generosity.

For every dollar raised, the Government matches $1.50, which goes to the NTU general endowment fund. On top of this, the Government also provides a 250% tax deduction to the donor. In total, for every dollar donated, the Government contributes up to $2. Your donation will go a long way, and I hope that many more people will donate generously to this cause.

We heard Bee Wah share earlier that when she was a student, she appreciated the support that a caring professor like Prof Chen gave, and the financial help, so she could fully concentrate on her studies. A little donation can go a long way, and I hope that many more people will donate generously to this cause. I wish you a very successful fundraising effort.

In the year ahead, let us stay healthy and stay safe, as we start what is hopefully a brighter and better year!

Thank you very much.