Mention the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), one would immediately think of soldiers defending our homeland. However, the security of Singapore encompasses more than just the combat troops. It also involves other MINDEF personnel who undertake important responsibilities which support MINDEF and SAF’s core mission of defending Singapore.
One such individual who contributes to the defence of Singapore is Tan Pei Jie. A recipient of the Defence Merit Scholarship, Pei Jie is currently a Budget Analyst with the Defence Finance Organisation at MINDEF. She tells us about the developmental opportunities the scholarship has afforded her, and how she makes a difference in the lives of others.
Answering the Call to Serve
Since Pei Jie was a student, she has been determined to pursue a career in the Public Service. “My interest lies in geopolitics, and my hope was to eventually be part of our National Service and Total Defence efforts - MINDEF and SAF stood out. These led me to strive for a scholarship with MINDEF,” she enthuses.
Currently, Pei Jie is part of the team that ensures the viability and adequacy of the defence budget, including making decisions and recommendations on investments and spending.
Tan Pei Jie
Budget Planning & Management Branch,
Defence Finance Organisation
Defence Merit Scholar
An Accelerated Development
When Pei Jie was pursuing her undergraduate studies, she had the opportunity to serve a vacation attachment (VA) with the Internal Audit Department, where she was involved in auditing the 2008 National Day Parade accounts. Her second VA was with the Defence Finance Organisation, assisting the financial governance and policy department to review and streamline financial policies and directives.
“These VAs offered me snapshots into the dynamics and workings of the organisation, as well as the other key stakeholders such as the SAF. They have also allowed me to build friendships and working relations with my future colleagues in those departments,” she quips.
Pei Jie started her career as a Policy Officer with the Defence Policy Office. She says this role has helped her build a firm foundation in the organisation, and given her opportunities to participate in and contribute to large multilateral events.
Pei Jie recalls, “I was part of the delegation to the United Nations which represented Singapore at the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations. This is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons. The negotiation process was an eye-opening experience, and it saw members of the inter-agency delegation working together to ensure that Singapore’s interests were safeguarded in the treaty.”
In addition to picking up new skills and competencies on the job, Pei Jie shares that MINDEF embraces an encouraging environment when it comes to furthering one’s professional skillsets. She enthuses, “I am presently pursuing my Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification and Chartered Accountant (Singapore) designation. MINDEF has been very helpful in facilitating my postings in order for me to accumulate the necessary work experience required for these certifications.”
Furthermore, she had the opportunity to enhance her learning through participation in inter-agency projects such as the SG50 National Day celebrations. She says, “As a member of the National Day Celebrations Committee, I witnessed many stakeholders coming together to put together the series of celebrations for Singapore’s 50th Birthday. A lot of hard work and effort went into the preparations, and I was glad that I had the chance to contribute to it.”
Driven with a Purpose
Pei Jie is fulfilling her ambitions of contributing to national defence and is a strong advocate of defending our nation’s security interests. She stresses that aspiring MINDEF scholars should be motivated to protect the peace and security of Singapore. She elaborates, “I personally believe that this quality would guide our daily work. Understanding the purpose of what we do will help us to overcome challenges and find better ways to fulfil the organisation’s mission.”
To conclude, Pei Jie added that this desire should also be complemented by conviction and positivity.
“Defence issues are complex, and finding optimal solutions to address them is no mean feat. More often than not, there is also a degree of uncertainty that one has to balance in order to address these issues in the most holistic manner. In order to do our job well, it is crucial that one possesses the determination and optimism to push through our proposals. The process would be particularly rewarding, and the result particularly satisfying if we do not give up.”