Left: Megan Ann Pang is a Senior Executive in the Business Planning and Development Department at Singapore Land Authority. Her job scope involves optimising State Properties through adaptive reuse and putting them up for interim uses to create value. The SLA Undergraduate (Overseas) Scholar has a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Economics, First Class Honours from University College London and was awarded the Geography/Economics Prize for jointly topping her cohort.
Right: : Chan Wei Ling is a Principal Registration Executive and Legal Counsel with Singapore Land Authority. The SLA Mid-Term Undergraduate (Local) Scholar has a Bachelor of Social Science (Major in Psychology and Minor in Business), Second Upper Honours from NUS where she was on the Dean’s List for two consecutive semesters in 2005. She also has a Doctor of Jurisprudence, Magna Cum Laude (High Distinction) from SMU and was awarded the Juris Doctor Scholarship 2015 and the Tan Sook Yee Prize for Top Student in Property Law 2016.
The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) wears many hats.
In its regulatory capacity, it oversees the registration of local property transactions in Singapore and manages the national land survey system.
Maintaining the status quo is insufficient when it comes to making the vision of “Limited Land • Unlimited Space” a reality. Therefore, SLA also takes charge of our land policy development, steering land usage by managing state land and properties and developing geospatial data infrastructure policies.
Leading the way are consummate professionals, SLA Undergraduate Scholars, Chan Wei Ling and Megan Ann Pang. Wei Ling manages and tracks the progress of various digitalisation projects in the Land Titles Registry and Megan Ann is involved in projects that focus on optimising use of State Properties to ensure a holistic, complementary cityscape.
How it began
Megan remembers completing her A-Levels around the time when buzz about the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail Project was at its zenith. While browsing through the vast media coverage, a 3D map of Singapore fascinated her. This map was constructed by SLA. Megan Ann began to wonder about the organisation behind such a digital marvel, and if its work was in line with her own interests in Geography and Economics.
As she researched, she discovered the statutory board’s work resonated with her ideas for the future, “I thought that SLA was a great place to be close to the forefront of government efforts in geospatial technologies and the way they were developing rapidly. SLA also has a myriad of departments that each dabbles in very different functions. That to me meant breadth of exposure and experience which was exciting!”
She decided to take the plunge. “Having done an internship and experienced what life at three different departments is like, I can testify that the experiences between different departments are indeed varied,” she smiled.
Similarly, Wei Ling was also inspired to join SLA due to a personal experience. In her case, it was her professor in SMU who ignited her passion for property- and land-related issues.
Seeking to use her Law Degree to formulate innovative policies that address land scarcity issues, she saw SLA as an organisation where she could make a difference from the ground up.
With an organisation waiting for her at the end of her academic career, Wei Ling set herself to completing the rigourous SMU Juris Doctor programme. She blossomed into a capable individual who would find solutions to problems without looking to peers or superiors for the easy way out.
She also perfected her presentation skills and this helped her to ace important presentations to the various committees to obtain funding approval of projects and also to senior management.
Megan also picked up useful, career-appropriate skills as she read a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Economics.
Faced with a myriad of content to digest in a short amount of time, she rose to the challenge by transforming herself into a “humble learner”.
“Professors always challenged us to think critically and deeply,” she explained. “When it came to writing reports and conducting data or field work, the question was always what do we observe, how can we do this better and how can we overcome this problem.”
“That process itself taught me a lot about constant improvement, problem solving and never settling.”
Our Land, Our Land Use
She carries those same principles of humility, endurance and curiosity into her work today. As a Senior Executive in the Interim Use Planning team at Business Planning and Development (BPD), she is charged with envisioning new, innovative ways of optimising State Properties.
The work constantly stimulates her problem-solving, ever-curious mind as no two sites are quite the same. Megan must always be on the lookout for innovative solutions to land use issues. She also negotiates with other stakeholders such as businesses owners, agencies and representatives of the public to figure out the best use for the land.
Her enjoyable experiences with family and friends at State Properties such as Dempsey Hill and Chip Bee Gardens are sober reminders of the tangible impact her work has on people, experiences and stories.
“Now that I have started work at SLA’s BPD, I understand the vital role that BPD has in tendering various sites to bring in such businesses,” she reflected.
“It’s rather exciting to see and know that my work directly contributes to the lived experiences of Singaporeans and to be a part of this action.”
The Legality of Land Use
Wei Ling’s work may be very different in scope, but it is no less essential to effective land use in Singapore.
The scholar double-hats in both Land Titles Registry (LTR), where she oversees the progress of various digitalisation projects, drafts submissions and presents the business case for funding approval and reviews policies and legislations, and Legal, where she drafts advices for the various departments.
And when the pandemic hit, she rose to the challenge and took on even more varied tasks to make processes more efficient. “When I first joined, law firms were not allowed to go to the usual collection area because of COVID-19 social distancing measures,” she remembered. “As a result, this made the collection of instrument sets (legal documents on land ownership) challenging. I was tasked to streamline the processes for collection so that law firms could collect the instrument sets more efficiently.”
There is never a dull day at SLA for Wei Ling, as the multiple digitalisation projects under her purview expose her to stakeholder interactions, networking opportunities and work in different departments. “In my case, I am given the opportunity to double-hat in both LTR and Legal so that I can learn not only about registration and legal matters, but also the work processes in other departments such as land sales.”
“That truly helps me to broaden my horizons as I learn more about how different industries work,” she concluded.
Infusing New Blood
She emphasised the same possibilities for any aspiring scholar. “People get opportunities to take on additional projects beyond their day-to-day routine work.”
Wei Ling “unintentionally” picked up Burmese when she did her internship in Yangon after receiving the Go Southeast Asia (Go SEA) Award 2018. She is now grateful for the off-the-wall choice, as she learnt much about Myammar’s rich culture.
Megan concurred, “Each department in SLA operates differently and offers different experiences in terms of work culture and job scope so the work experience and possibilities are aplenty.”
Under SLA and its talents, not one inch of our land is wasted – instead, all of it is fertile soil from which the future grows.