SM Teo Chee Hean at the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2023 Awards Presentation

SM Teo Chee Hean | 3 November 2023

Transcript of Keynote Address by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean at the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2023 Awards Presentation on 3 November 2023.


Chairman of SPH Media Trust, Mr Khaw Boon Wan,
Editor-in-Chief, Mr Wong Wei Kong,
Editor of Berita Harian, Mr Mohd Nazry Mokhtar,
Parliamentary and Cabinet Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good evening to all of you. Please let me begin with a few words in Malay.

Saya amat berbesar hati kerana dapat menyampaikan Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian tahun ini. Anugerah ini meraikan pencapaian luar biasa individu dalam masyarakat Melayu/Islam. Sepanjang sejarah 25 tahun Anugerah Jauhari, para pemenang telah mencapai kecemerlangan dalam pelbagai bidang: akademik, perniagaan, sukan, dan seni. Saya gembira para pemenang yang lalu masih terus aktif menyumbang kembali kepada masyarakat dan Singapura. Kemajuan masyarakat Melayu/Islam di Singapura dicerminkan dalam kepelbagaian dan mutu pemenang anugerah. Adalah penting kita bekerjasama untuk meneruskan kemajuan ini. Dalam sebuah masyarakat yang aman dan damai, stabil dan inklusif, tiada apa yang menghalang cita-cita kita. Bak pepatah Melayu: di mana ada kemahuan, di situ ada jalan! Tahniah kepada pemenang tahun ini! Izinkan saya meneruskan ucapan saya dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

[English Translation: I am honoured to present the Berita Harian Anugerah Jauhari awards. The awards celebrate the incredible accomplishments of individuals in the Malay/Muslim community. Over the 25-year history of the Anugerah Jauhari awards, winners have achieved excellence across a wide range of fields: academia, business, sports, and the arts. I am glad that past winners continue to contribute back to the community and Singapore. The progress of the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore is reflected in the diversity and quality of award winners. It is important that we work together to continue this progress. In a safe, stable, and inclusive society, there is no limit to what we can each accomplish. As the Malay proverb goes: where there is a will, there is a way! Congratulations to this year’s winners! Please allow me to continue my remarks in English.]

I am very happy to be here to present the Anugerah Jauhari awards. The awards celebrate the incredible accomplishments of individuals in the Malay/Muslim community.

We find inspiring examples of excellence across every community in Singapore because we are a society that values all of its members, regardless of race, language, or religion. This is something we must never take for granted.

We live in a time of unfortunately increased turbulence and uncertainty. Across the world, geopolitical tensions are intensifying. We see violent conflict and war, most recently and tragically in Gaza.

All of us are deeply distressed by the loss of so many civilian lives, and the deepening humanitarian crisis. Last week, Singapore voted for the UN General Assembly 10th Emergency Special Session resolution that, among others, emphasised the protection of civilians and called for a humanitarian truce. This is something that is important for all fof us, because we share a common humanity. The Singapore Government has urged the sustained delivery of urgent humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza, and contributed $300,000 to humanitarian relief operations. We can all reach out with compassion by contributing to humanitarian relief for the civilians affected.

Singapore maintains the position that the only viable path to a durable, just, and comprehensive resolution to the longstanding conflict is a negotiated two-state solution consistent with relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Next week, there will be a full discussion in Parliament on the ongoing crisis and what this means for us as Singaporeans as well.

The situation in the Middle East is a stark reminder that we must treasure the peace and harmony we have in Singapore, and in our region.

In a safe, stable, and inclusive environment, there is no limit to the incredible things that each of us can accomplish. Over the 25-year history of the Anugerah Jauhari awards, winners have achieved excellence across a wide range of fields – the first winner in 1999, Dr Mansoor Abdul Jalil in academia, Mardan Mamat in sports, Salleh Marican in business, and last year’s winner, Associate Professor Hadijah Rahmat in the literary arts. The Anugerah Jauhari Harapan shows how capable and committed young Malay/Muslims are in their fields of work, and the great potential of Malay/Muslim youth.

The awards celebrate their successes as individuals, but also celebrate their contributions to our community in Singapore and internationally. Both of tonight’s winners exemplify this spirt of uplifting others. Shahrin has risen to the pinnacle of his profession, having started out as a maintenance engineer. But he has also applied his expertise in rail systems overseas, and is active in both professional and community groups, including ones that support the Malay/Muslim community. I know he has got a particular interest in getting our Malay/Muslim youth interest in STEM, and I fully support that.Shazza was featured in an international campaign that promotes equality for women in the music industry. We look forward to seeing many more amazing things from her in the years to come. Both of this year’s winners, and winners past, inspire us with their success, but also their commitment to uplifting others.

The diversity and quality of award winners reflects the commendable progress of the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore. Educational outcomes and household incomes have risen steadily over the past decade. The proportion of Malays in PMET jobs has grown to 40%.1 Individuals like Shahrin and Shazza serve as wonderful role models for the next generation to continue this progress.

But as I mentioned earlier, we live in turbulent and uncertain times. Global economic growth is slowing and structural adjustments are underway. For the Malay/Muslim community, and Singaporeans as a whole, to continue doing well, it is more important than ever that we focus on education, upskilling, and retraining. We must ready ourselves to weather the challenges on the horizon, and also seize opportunities as we transition to the industries and jobs of the future.

The Government will continue to work with Malay/Muslim organisations to uplift the community, reinforce a culture of continuous learning and growth, and keep us a vibrant, inclusive, and united society. The next generation of political leaders in Singapore is committed to this. Their vision for the next bound of Singapore’s development is captured in the recently released Forward Singapore Report.

Finally, I want to thank Berita Harian for shining a light on positive stories in the community, and for serving as an institution that engages and strengthens the community. You have done so for the past 66 years, and I am glad that you continue to transform to remain relevant to your readers.

Congratulations once again to Shahrin and Shazza. I thank all of you for being here. And may we treasure the peace and harmony we have, and pray for peace in the world.

Thank you very much.


[1] Population Census 2020.