DPM Teo thanks public officers for their role in Lee Kuan Yew's funeral

DPM Teo thanks public officers for their role in Lee Kuan Yew's funeral
Vigil guards stand as mourners pay their respects to Singapore's late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew where he lies in state at the Parliament House.

SINGAPORE - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister-in-charge of Civil Service Teo Chee Hean expressed his thanks to public officers in a note sent to approximately 141,000 officers working in 16 ministries and more than 50 statutory boards on Tuesday.

These public officers had been involved in various ways during the Lying-in-State and State Funeral Service for Singapore's first prime minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who died on Mar 23.

DPM Teo said in his letter that public sector officers showed fortitude and dedication during the nation's time of mourning. Despite a short time frame and difficult weather conditions, public servants in Singapore and abroad managed to work seamlessly to help Singaporeans mourn their loss, he said.

He also credited the excellence of service shown by Singaporeans to the late Mr Lee, who emphasised integrity, clean government, meritocracy, efficiency and excellence.

Below is Mr Teo's letter reproduced in full:

Working Together as One Public Service, for Singapore

Dear colleagues,

Last week was a difficult week for Singapore. We lost our founding Prime Minister, and the Public Service lost a visionary leader who made a profound impact on our ethos, policies and culture. Our emphasis on integrity, clean government, meritocracy, efficiency, and excellence in the service of Singaporeans can all be traced to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. In the period of National Mourning last week, officers across the Public Service stood together with Singaporeans, and showed fortitude and dedication in helping Singaporeans to mourn our loss, recall the critical moments and achievements that Mr Lee led us through, and pay our respects to Mr Lee.

In the early morning hours after Mr Lee passed on at 3.18 am on 23 March, officers from PMO, Istana, SAF, SPF, MCI, PSD, MOE, PA, and other agencies swung into action. Throughout the week, many of you responded swiftly to dynamic ground conditions, working long hours with little rest, and supported Singaporeans in their grief-at Parliament House and the community tribute sites-to let as many Singaporeans as possible, more than 1.5 million, pay their last respects to Mr Lee.

Officers at NLB, NHB, Museum, NParks and other agencies, organised exhibitions and tributes dedicated to Mr Lee. MFA and MTI officers facilitated visits by foreign dignitaries and industry leaders, while our overseas missions organised tributes for Mr Lee and received Singaporeans and host country nationals who wished to pen condolences. Officers from MOT, LTA and Traffic Police worked seamlessly to coordinate road closures and extend public transport hours. Many more worked tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate plans from different agencies and to overcome unexpected challenges.

The downpour on Sunday brought us all closer together. Our officers with their families stood together with fellow Singaporeans steadfastly in the rain to bid Mr Lee a dignified and memorable farewell. We paused only for one minute, silent, united in grief, before rededicating ourselves to the ideals in our Pledge-ideals that Mr Lee worked for all his life- and sang our National Anthem.

It is fitting that in Mr Lee's passing, he brought Singaporeans together and brought out the best in us-public officers, volunteers, and the many who came to pay their last respects, united in a shared desire to say a final farewell to Mr Lee and thank him for his life's work.

Thank you for coming together as one Public Service. Together, you have carried out your duties with dedication and honour, quietly serving in the spirit of the Singapore Public Service. Your efforts exemplified the very values that Mr Lee had shown throughout his life-commitment, dedication and personal sacrifice.

Throughout the week, public officers also came together to reflect on Mr Lee's life, values, and his contributions to Singapore. Many officers-particularly younger officers- said that they now have a deeper appreciation of how their work is closely connected to Mr Lee's vision for a better Singapore. The stories shared by many of you have inspired other colleagues, and helped renew a deep sense of purpose in public service. As one officer reflected, "The past week made me think harder about my dreams for Singapore, for my family and loved ones, and most significantly, my role and how I can play a part. I feel proud to be able to contribute to sustaining Mr Lee's legacy into the future."

Indeed, for every one of us, the best tribute we can give to honour Mr Lee is to sustain his legacy, and to re-dedicate ourselves to creating a better Singapore for all. Majulah Singapura!

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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