Speech by DPM and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean, at the official opening of SAFRA Punggol on 24 November 2016.
“Celebrating the contributions of NSmen and their families”
Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence and Chairman, SAFRA Board of Governors,
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Second Minister for Defence and President of SAFRA
Dr Mohamad Maliki bin Osman, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Deputy President of SAFRA,
NSmen and volunteers,
Residents of Punggol,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to join you this evening for the official opening of SAFRA Punggol. Two and a half years ago, we had the ground-breaking ceremony here. This is SAFRA’s sixth club and reflects the Government’s continued commitment to recognise the contributions of NSmen and their families towards national defence.
Our NSmen are at the core of the SAF and the Home Team. The strong support from their families is vital to help our NSmen give their best. The thought of protecting their loved ones also strengthens each NSman’s commitment to serve.
Tackling Terrorism Threat
Our SAF and Home Team pioneers fought hard to secure the peace, stability and progress we enjoy. Today, we face new security threats. The failed attempt by a group of militants based in Batam to attack Marina Bay is a stark reminder that terrorism is not far from our shores.
We launched SGSecure in September to prepare all Singaporeans. Our fight against terrorism will be long and extended. We need to stay alert to ever-present security threats, stay united as one people should an attack occur, and stay strong to bounce back quickly after an attack. Just last month, the Home Team, the SAF and volunteers from the People’s Association also came together to test Singapore’s readiness to respond to a terrorist attack.
We are stronger as one people and we must not allow issues of race, language or religion to divide our communities. We can stay united in the Total Defence of Singapore.
SAFRA’S Role in Total Defence
While the SAF, the Home Team and other national security agencies continue to be steadfast in military and civil defence, SAFRA can help strengthen the psychological and social defence of our people.
SAFRA brings NSmen from all walks of life together to strengthen bonds and build cohesion. Today, SAFRA clubs are a common space for NSmen to build friendships, spend quality time with their families, or meet like-minded individuals to pursue common interests. SAFRA clubs also host more than 500 SAF unit cohesion events annually, benefiting more than 60,000 NSmen.
SAFRA brings NSmen from all walks of life together to strengthen bonds and build cohesion. DPM Teo Chee Hean
SAFRA brings NSmen from all walks of life together to strengthen bonds and build cohesion.
DPM Teo Chee Hean
I am pleased that the SAFRA family – the SAFRA clubhouses, SAFRA Radio and NS Resort and Country Club (NSRCC) - will work with the SAF to raise the capacity to host more than 700 cohesion events next year. This will benefit more than 80,000 NSmen. Besides conducting cohesion activities in SAFRA clubs, the SAFRA family will also do so in the SAF camps and NSRCC to facilitate building camaraderie among NSmen.
SAFRA will continue to play a key role in recognising our NSmen’s contributions to defence, by providing facilities and recreational services to the 380,000 SAFRA members and their family members.
This new $64.4 million SAFRA Punggol will focus on serving the needs of the 80 000 NSmen and their families in the North-Eastern part of Singapore. Punggol is a growing new town with unique access to scenic waterways and the sea. There are also many young families here and we want our NSmen and their families to enjoy the refreshing and green environment. With these in mind, SAFRA Punggol was designed with three new elements.
First, SAFRA Punggol has incorporated many facilities catering to young families - child care, enrichment and play facilities for families with young children. There are also a variety of recreational options for NSmen to keep fit. The club’s monthly patronage has exceeded 150,000 visitors. Its unique indoor water playground, Splash @ Kidz Amaze, is well-liked by families and has garnered many good reviews.
Second, SAFRA Punggol is a green facility and helps to raise the level of environmental awareness among our residents. It is designed with many open spaces for a wide variety of outdoor lifestyle and entertainment activities. It is also the first SAFRA clubhouse to receive the Landscape Excellence Assessment Framework certification by NParks, as well as the Building and Construction Authority Green Mark Platinum award. SAFRA Punggol’s focus on energy and water efficiency will save about 700 tonnes of carbon emissions and bring about $360,000 cost savings in electricity and utilities bills each year. SAFRA will progressively implement such green measures in the other clubhouses.
Third, SAFRA Punggol has expanded its suite of activities by integrating with the scenic Punggol Waterway and the Punggol Regional Sports Centre planned next door. Participants raced along the waterway and Coney Island Park on kayak, bike and foot at the SAFRA Punggol Waterway Challenge in June this year. With the opening of the water activities facility by March next year, NSmen and Punggol residents can enjoy new activities and kayaking along the Punggol Waterway. SAF units will also conduct water-related cohesion events at SAFRA Punggol. SAFRA Punggol will truly be a one-stop recreation hub for NSmen and their families in the Northeast.
NS50 and SAFRA45
Next year, we celebrate 50 Years of National Service and also SAFRA’s 45th Anniversary. As we celebrate how far we have come, we will also reaffirm our shared commitment to protect Singapore and our loved ones.
SAFRA will plan on the upgrade of SAFRA Tampines and a new seventh club in the northwestern part of Singapore.
There will be a series of celebratory activities and promotions for NSmen and their families. These include the SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon, Swim For Hope to raise funds for charity and a celebration dinner to recognise SAFRA volunteers and corporate partners. SAFRA and the HomeTeam NS will also work together to provide a suite of benefits for NSmen and their families.
I would like to commend the SAFRA Punggol Development Committee, volunteers and staff who have worked tirelessly to make this new club a success. This is certainly an excellent facility for our NSmen and their families, and our residents in Punggol.
I would also like to thank our National Servicemen for committing your time and energy to train hard and be always ready to serve when called upon. I also wish to express my appreciation to our servicemen’s families, employers and the community, whose support enables our NSmen to fully dedicate themselves to serve with pride. Thanks also to the many volunteers and SAFRA staff for your invaluable contributions to recognise and strengthen our NSmen community.
Now, it gives me great pleasure to officially declare SAFRA Punggol open. Thank you.
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