Ministry of National Development
Feature | National Development

Pushing the Boundaries
of National Development

Ministry of National Development
The Ministry of National Development (MND), working hand-in-hand with its statutory boards, takes the lead in providing Singaporeans with a vibrant and sustainable urban environment to live, work and play.

S ingapore is our home. This is where our friends and families reside, where a comfortable built environment surrounds us, and where we have an array of delectable foods to satisfy our palates! From developing world-class infrastructure and creating a vibrant and sustainable living environment to building cohesive communities, MND has played an integral role in shaping the Singapore we see today.

To help improve the living environment for Singaporeans, the Municipal Services Office (MSO) was set up under MND to enhance the delivery of municipal services such as the cleanliness of public areas, horticulture maintenance, and transport infrastructure management.

MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholar Lim Li Qin is part of this newly-formed initiative. As a Senior Assistant Director of the Policy & Planning division in MSO, she gives us an insider’s look into how MND is helping to make Singapore an endearing home for generations to come.

Why did you take up the MND postgraduate scholarship?

Lim Li Qin: I believe in self-improvement and lifelong learning. After being in MND for six years, I felt the need to embark on a new learning journey in order to enhance my contributions to MND. Hence, I chose to pursue an MBA with the Nanyang Business School, which was a 16-month programme inclusive of an overseas learning opportunity at the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

This overseas exchange programme allowed me to meet friends from many different countries, and gave me a better understanding of businesses and management influences within an organisation. It also helped to hone my people management skills and sharpened my analytical rigour. I hope to put all these things to good use in my postings.

Lim Li Qin, MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholar

Lim Li Qin
MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholar

Senior Assistant Director (Policy & Planning), Municipal Services Office

“The sense of satisfaction derived from seeing our policies and plans take shape in our island-city is immense.”

Please share with us about your career in MND. What does your job entail?

Li Qin: I’m with the Policy and Planning Division of MSO, which was set up only in October 2014. MSO works to improve the overall coordination and delivery of municipal services across Singapore. By municipal services, I am referring to the upkeep and improvement of Singaporeans’ communal living environment. Specifically, I assist in the development of Whole-of-Government (WOG) structural and policy solutions, and tap on technology and data analytics to study trends and patterns. This way, we can identify areas for upstream systemic improvements that can benefit Singaporeans.

Prior to my posting to MSO, I was with MND’s Corporate Communications Division. While I was there, I managed the Ministry’s public communications needs in areas such as media relations and planning, events organisation, new media outreach, and public engagement.

How do you derive fulfilment from your job?

Li Qin: In MSO, a central coordinating body, we have to work closely with many different agencies – each with their own focal areas and priorities. There is thus a challenge in balancing the different interests to arrive at a consensus, and sometimes even a compromise. For instance, there were times when we had to review the scope of work to be undertaken by the different agencies so as to streamline processes and bring about greater convenience for the public. It’s like constantly playing mediator and honest broker, but on a higher level between organisations and not just individuals.

In a public-sector job, the work that we do cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Through our work, we have to manage public expectations and work to benefit the people, and that makes my job satisfying and fulfilling for me. The sense of satisfaction derived from seeing our policies and plans take shape in our island-city is immense. The lush parks and greenery, safe and clean housing estates, and our beautiful city skyline exist because of the contributions of the wonderful people who work at MND and our statutory boards!

What advice do you have for aspiring scholars?

Li Qin: A scholarship does not put anyone on a fast track towards success. At the end of the day, one’s career progression is not determined by a scholarship, but an individual’s thirst to learn, improve and contribute. It is important to know what you want out of your learning experiences, and take steps to achieve them. I would encourage anyone with a passion for sustainable development and public service to pursue the scholarship. The scholarship equips you with the relevant skills to better contribute to the shared vision of a sustainable Singapore. Being an MND EDGE scholar means embracing the core public service values of Integrity, Excellence and Service, as only with the right motivation and values can you truly excel.