PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2018 Award Ceremony

SM Lee Hsien Loong | 31 October 2018

Transcript of speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian (Berita Harian Achiever of the Year Award Ceremony), delivered on 31 October 2018.


Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of Singapore Press Holdings.
Mr Saat Abdul Rahman, Editor of Berita Harian.
Ladies and Gentlemen. 

A very good evening to all of you. Very happy to join you tonight for the 20th edition of Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian awards. Please let me begin, like Saat, with a few words in Malay.

Saya berbesar hati dapat hadir di majlis malam ini untuk menyampaikan Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian. Saya telah menyampaikan Anugerah Jauhari yang pertama pada tahun 1999. Dan tahun ini, Berita Harian menyambut ulang tahun ke-20 Anugerah Jauhari. Sejak tahun 99, pencapaian masyarakat Melayu / Islam sungguh membanggakan dan begitu ketara. Pemenang Anugerah Jauhari juga mencerminkan kemajuan ini. Saya tertarik dengan kerencaman bidang yang diceburi para penerima anugerah ini. Ada yang dari bidang aktivisme sosial, keusahawanan, seni, perubatan, sukan dan keagamaan. Jelas, ini juga mencerminkan sumbangan masyarakat Melayu / Islam kepada Singapura sepanjang 53 tahun lalu. Pemenang Anugerah Jauhari sebelum ini juga terus menyumbang semula dalam pelbagai peringkat, termasuk kepada masyarakat dan negara. Tahniah dan syabas kepada anda semua! Izinkan saya meneruskan ucapan saya dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

Friends, ladies and gentlemen.

Very happy to be here this evening to present the Anugerah Jauhari award again to celebrate outstanding contributions of our Malay/Muslims community. I was last here two years ago in 2016. But tonight is a special occasion because I presented the first Anugerah Jauhari award 20 years ago in 1999. Through the prism of these awards over two decades, we can see the progress made by the Malay / Muslim community. The first winner, Dr Mansoor Abdul Jalil, was the first Singapore Malay to earn a first class honours degree in Physics from Cambridge University. He went on to get his PHD and is now an Associate Professor at NUS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, giving back to the next generation. Subsequent winners have excelled in their respective fields, whether it is Iskandar Jalil in the arts, Mardan Mamat in sports, Ashley Isham in fashion, or Shafie Samsuddin in business. 

Year by year, more and more Malays are building successful careers, becoming leaders in their chosen fields, and acting as role models to inspire the next generation. Their success reflects the general progress of the Malay / Muslim community. For example, the proportion of Malays going on to post-secondary education has doubled since 1995 to more than 90 per cent. Proportion of Malays working as PMETs has gone up to around one third. And I am sure, as a result of this, Saat and his panel have a growing list of potential award recipients to select from. 

The Anugerah Jauhari award celebrates our successes. It reflects the ethos of our society: to identify and develop talent, to celebrate those who have done well, to encourage them in turn to give back to society. It also celebrates the family and friends who have helped us along the way, because few of us can be successful solely by dint of individual efforts. And it shows that our system works, that no matter what your personal background, you will have opportunities to be well educated, to develop your career, with grit and determination, each one of us can achieve our fullest potential.

This year’s Jauhari, Bahren Shaari, and Jauhari Harapan, Muhamad Ridhwan Ahmad, both have this grit in them. They put their minds to the tasks before them, be it in a career in banking or boxing. Bahren rose to the top of his profession, working his way up from being a junior private banker. Ridhwan worked many odd jobs, from waiter to deliveryman, in pursuit of his dream to become the first Singaporean to hold a world boxing title. They put in the hours and the effort, made their mistakes and took their hits, but they picked themselves up each time because they knew one day they would get it right. I hope the Young Inspiring Achiever award winners – Syafiqah 'Adha Mohamed Sallehin, and Kartika Asman – will follow their footsteps. They have a long way to go and many choices to make. In time, I hope they too will hit new peaks, give back to the community and pay it forward by helping others. In fact, they have already started to do so.

We must always maintain a social climate in Singapore which encourages excellence and success, rather than one of cutting down tall poppies. For over 60 years, Berita Harian has been doing just that, sharing positive stories that inspire its readers to strive for higher peaks and at the same time to serve the community. BH has established itself as an institution that engages and strengthens the Malay / Muslim community, and contributes to its progress and success. 

So I congratulate once again all the winners this year, and I congratulate Berita Harian also on the 20th anniversary of this award. Thank you all very much.