Head, Civil Service's note to public officers: Salute to Our Public Officers
Head, Civil Service, Mr Peter Ong, has written a note “Salute to Our Public Officers” in recognition of their efforts during the 2015 General Election. The note, reproduced below, was sent to some 141,000 public officers working in 16 ministries and more than 50 statutory boards
Head, Civil Service’s note to public officers: Salute to Our Public Officers
On Polling Day, I received many WhatsApp messages and Facebook updates from the time polling started at 8am and even after it closed at 8pm. Many shared how Singaporeans were touched in big and small ways by election officials and police officers going about their duties across 832 polling stations islandwide. I was told about an 83 year-old wheelchair-bound grandmother who was helped down from her 20th storey flat to vote, before being escorted back home, all by cheerful, smiling, election officials. Many citizens also wrote about how efficient the voting process was, with many of them casting their votes in under ten minutes.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also made special mention of the efforts of public officers at his post-GE media conference in the early hours of Saturday.
For many of you, preparations for the elections would have begun a few months ago. You attended training sessions and had online training modules to complete. Some would also have been involved in site recces and the planning of each nomination and polling station, as well as counting centre. You did this on top of your normal work back in your offices.
Training and briefing sessions intensified once Parliament was dissolved, so that everyone involved would be clear of their roles, before, during and after Polling Day.
During the nine-day campaigning period, our colleagues from the Singapore Police Force played an important role in maintaining safety and security, especially at the various rallies across the island.
The night before Polling Day, they stood guard over the polling stations, ballot papers and ballot boxes that election officials had meticulously set up to ensure the best flow of people and to accommodate the elderly and the disabled. The worsening haze threw another challenge – and preparations were made to ensure adequate N95 masks were available at all polling stations, with more masks distributed to polling stations through the day.
When polling closed after 12 hours at 8pm on Friday, our officers’ work was by no means done. The ballot boxes were sealed and escorted by election officials and police to counting centres, where the sample count was completed before the vote count started.
The last counting centre closed at 3am early Saturday morning, after a recount of the Aljunied GRC votes.
Once counting was completed and the results were announced, all the ballot papers, together with accompanying records and unused ballots were escorted by the assistant returning officers and police to the Supreme Court vault for storage.
All in, some 30,000 of our fellow public officers were involved in helping to make it possible for over 2.3 million Singaporeans to vote.
I would like to salute each and every officer who worked on GE2015, including those in the Elections Department. I want to say a big thank you for the long hours at the polling stations and counting centres, dealing with the haze, and ensuring it was a smooth voting process for all Singaporeans. Thank you for your dedication and contributions and for serving selflessly and with distinction throughout GE2015.
I am especially proud of how we have come together as One Trusted Public Service with Citizens at the Centre. It is a testament to the integrity, service and excellence of the Public Service that Singaporeans appreciate how you carried out the process of democracy efficiently and fairly, even managing to put a smile on many of their faces. I think this post on the left that was shared quite widely on Facebook and WhatsApp nicely sums up how your work is appreciated.
I hope you managed to get a well-deserved rest over the weekend, as I know public officers will once again be involved in this weekend’s F1 Grand Prix, just as many of you were also involved in the arrangements for the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, as well as the SEA Games and the Jubilee weekend earlier this year.
Once again, a big salute and thank you to all of you! Serving the nation and proud of it!
Head, Civil Service
14 September 2015