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Speech by Second Minister for Finance and Education, Indranee Rajah, at the SAF Day Combined Re-Dedication Ceremony on 1 July 2019 at Gateway Theatre

01 Jul 2019

Mr Wong Heang Fine, Group CEO Surbana Jurong, 

Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Lew Chuen Hong, 

Distinguished guests, 


Ladies and Gentlemen

1. This year, we commemorate Singapore’s Bicentennial. In keeping with this historic occasion, the National Day Parade (NDP) will be held at the Padang as we re-enact 200 years of progress for our country. The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) mobile column will be part of the NDP and march into HDB heartlands the next day, to join thousands of Singaporeans there. This SAF hardware, together with Singaporeans, is richly symbolic as it captures the essence of a strong national defence. National Servicemen (NSmen) from all parts of Singapore, and their family members who support the SAF, give strength to our nation through the SAF. Without that strength, there can be no economic security and no progress for our nation.

2. Our forefathers learned this hard truth, often through painful experiences – as a colony subject to the British; through the despair of the Japanese Occupation during World War II, the mayhem and deaths as a result of Konfrontasi, the Communist insurgency and communal riots in the 1960s. Through all these difficult periods, Singapore did not have the means to mount an adequate defence. As a result, our people were vulnerable, hostage to the will of others. Therefore, when Singapore gained independence in 1965, one of the first priorities of the Government was to build a strong and effective SAF to protect our  country and our people and our right to determine our own future. 

3. As it has done for every NDP since 1966, the SAF will once again parade down the Padang, but this time as a modern military. Our fighter aircraft will roar above all with the sound of our freedom, to give voice to our strong determination to protect what we hold precious on this island home. The Navy’s ships will stand guard over our territorial waters. The Army will display our fortitude and steely resolve. The Hunter, the SAF’s new armoured fighting vehicle, will make its debut appearance too. 

4. The strength of the SAF today is a tribute and testament to the men and women of the SAF, including more than 1 million NSmen who have done their duty year after year. Together, we have forged an SAF that is an advanced, modern fighting force and one that we can all be proud of to protect Singapore. It is an SAF that can carry us forward to a secure future with the next generation of Singaporeans, to the next centennial and beyond. 

5. On this SAF day, I thank each of you for keeping Singapore safe and secure. 

6. Majulah Singapura and Happy SAF Day.