Leo Yip

On January 23, 2020, the COVID-19 virus arrived on our shores.

For more than two years after that, our Public Service was put to the sternest of tests. We were up against a formidable foe that was ever-changing, and different from anything we had experienced before, including SARS in 2003. We had to find new ways to manage the pandemic and combat one infection wave after another. Numerous times, just when we thought we could see some light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel took yet another turn. It was frustrating, even daunting. We were stretched thin at times, and our resilience and perseverance were tested time and again. In the darkest of days, like some of you, I sometimes questioned how much more of such intensity and workload I could carry. 

But it is in adversity that true mettle is shown. Our Public Service stood up to the test of the pandemic. I acknowledge that there were areas where we should have done better. But by and large, our Public Service performed admirably. I am very proud of how our officers, our ministries and agencies, and our Public Service made important contributions to this national fight, very often going beyond the call of duty.

Through it all, we were continually reminded of the important purpose of public service. We are here to serve and protect Singaporeans, both lives and livelihoods, and to help our country manage this crisis and emerge stronger. It was a purpose like no other, and one unique to the public service.

Another source of pride for me was how our Public Service came together as One to carry out our mission. We were aligned, cohesive and well-coordinated. We acted with agility and responded swiftly and effectively to the fast-changing challenges of the pandemic. This was true on many counts, from our officers serving on the frontline to our officers helping to support agencies with the hiring of manpower or procurement of services.

COVID-19 has shown the importance of a cohesive, agile, resilient, and excellent Public Service. Looking ahead, as we continue to face new challenges and seize new opportunities, we should never let up in our quest to have such a Public Service serve Singaporeans and Singapore.

Throughout COVID-19 there were countless examples of good work by public officers across the Service. This portal is an important collection of some of this great work. It also captures the accounts of fellow public officers involved in the enormous range of work that contributed to the national fight. It forms an important record for learning, for recognition of the good work of our colleagues, and for inspiration of what we can all achieve.

I thank and commend the efforts of the Public Service Division and other agencies in putting together this essential portal.

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