Singapore Land Authority
Feature | Singapore Land Authority

Making a Lasting Impact with SLA

The Singapore Land Authority is the organisation that manages and regulates land resources and geospatial information in Singapore. The work they do is crucial to the optimisation of our nation’s limited land usage. As such, it needs ambitious and innovative scholars like Tan Zi Hang and Low Rozanne to rise to the challenge.

Left: Low Rozanne graduated from NUS with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Highest Distinction) in History and was awarded the SLA Undergraduate (Local Mid-term) Scholarship. She now works with the Land Transfer and Land Sale Division of the Singapore Land Authority as an Assistant Manager.

Right: Tan Zi Hang is currently an Intern with the Survey and Geomatics Division of the Singapore Land Authority. He is a recipient of the Singapore Geomatics (Overseas) Scholarship Award.

It’s no secret that land is scarce in our thriving but tiny island nation. As such, the efficient management and regulation of land resources fall under the jurisdiction of the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

Established with the vision of ensuring optimal land use and sustainable development, the SLA undertakes various roles ranging from land administration and property management to the procurement of geospatial data. These criticalresponsibilities fall on the capable shoulders of the talents driving the organisation – SLA scholars Tan Zi Hang and Low Rozanne amongst them.

Zi Hang is a recipient of the Singapore Geomatics (Overseas) Scholarship Award and is currently interning in the Survey and Geomatics Division. Rozanne is an Assistant Manager in the Land Transfer and Land Sale Division and was awarded the SLA Undergraduate (Local Mid-term) Scholarship.

With them both on their way to gleaming bright careers within SLA, we sat down with them to learn more about what drives them.

Zi Hang, what sparked your fascination and passion for geomatics?

I have always been interested in geography. National Geographic was my favourite channel to watch and the games I played all revolved around geography and maps – City Skylines and Europa Universalis, for instance. But only in junior college, when I had the opportunity to take part in the Geography Talent Development Programme held by the Ministry of Education, did I see the potential of geography as a viable career. This eventually led me to a path down the Geomatics sector.

“The idea that I am in a very small way contributing to such a large development for the nation makes my work most meaningful.” Low Rozanne

Rozanne, how did you discover your passion for land related work?

Under the SLA Undergraduate Scholarship, I was given the opportunity to intern at SLA. During that period, my first stint was at the Land Transfer and Land Sale Division. As part of the internship, we would have various meetings with every team within the department to understand their job scopes and learn about the challenges they face as part of their case processing. I have fond memories of my time interning within the department and found the work very interesting. The idea of processing leases that would outlive me was rather fascinating. Hence, upon graduation, I requested to be placed in the Land Sale Department.

Why did you choose a scholarship with SLA?

Zi Hang: I was looking for a career path that would allow me to be innovative in what I am interested in while making a positive impact on society. The Survey and Geomatics Division at SLA has a technological element, where we investigate the uses of emerging technologies that could improve the regulatory role that is vital to Singapore’s national development.

Rozanne: When I discovered the SLA Undergraduate Scholarship on BrightSparks, I already applied for multiple Mid-Term open Scholarships. I went for multiple interviews with various Statutory Boards. As I went through various rounds of interviews, I felt that SLA was the most responsive to my questions. Back then, I had not secured the scholarship yet. However, the staff were very willing to aid in the process of my application, and the attention they gave us then made me feel valued.

“As an agency that is constantly trying to improve itself, there are many opportunities for those working in SLA to make a positive impact – not just in the organisation, but for the country as well.” Tan Zi Hang

What kind of support did you receive through the scholarship?

Zi Hang: Through the scholarship, I had the chance to speak with many veterans in this industry, not just in SLA but also from partners who work closely with SLA. They provided me with advice on the selection of my university courses and gave me insights into the future of the industry.

The Singapore Geomatics Scholarship provided me with the opportunity to study overseas without having to worry about the financial aspects. Since the scholarship fully covers my tuition fees, it gives me the freedom to fully focus on my academics.

Rozanne: During my years of study, SLA had kept up with us consistently and allowed us to pursue our interests where possible. In my second year (before COVID hit), I was given the opportunity to take up a sponsored overseas Winter School opportunity in South Korea. Additionally, during COVID, when the summer holidays were somewhat dull, I had requested to take up an online summer School course at Peking University. SLA was supportive and sponsored the duration of my study as well. My mentor had kept up with me as well which was heartwarming.

What would you say is most fulfilling about the work you do now?

Zi Hang: Singapore prides itself in making good use of our limited space. Being in SLA means that we get to play a key role in this process. Goodoutcomes come from good decisions, and good decisions come from being well-informed. And to be well-informed, there must be good data. SLA is the agency that collects, processes, and delivers all-important geodata relating to our country’s physical attributes. Do you know that geodata collected by SLA is being used to delineate our nation’s coastline and measure vertical land motion? From this we can better monitor sea level rise in Singapore over time, contributing to ongoing and future sustainability efforts. Knowing that data collection and analysis have an ever-growing role in policy planning, I know that our work in the Geomatics and Survey Division is of great importance to the nation.

I also had the chance to help out in the Map Our World program, which was meant to develop mapping and geospatial capabilities in Singapore students. With MOE’s aid, we hope that this programme will foster and develop the next generation of Geomatics and Geospatial professionals in Singapore, ensuring the sustainability of the industry for the future.

Rozanne: My team manages land alienation and land leases to Statutory Boards underthe Ministry of National Development. Our main client and partner is the Housing and Development Board. Daily, I process alienation for future BTO flats and manage existing leases with HDB.

I think what is most meaningful about my work is knowing that the cases and sites that I process are developments and leases that will last beyond my time. The idea that I am in a very small way contributing to such a large development for the nation makes my work most meaningful.

One example that springs to mind is my involvement with the Land Betterment Charge (LBC) Team. I have helped to manage the sale of the baseline product that is now processed by SLA. We have also had various queries regarding the act and as part of the team, I help to facilitate relevant discussions on these queries where necessary.

Lastly, what are the possibilities for someone looking to work with SLA?

Zi Hang: SLA has many different functions and roles, so scholars can look forward to picking up a wide spectrum of skills from a diverse talent pool. As an agency that is constantly trying to improve itself, there are many opportunities for those working in SLA to make a positive impact – not just in the organisation, but for the country as well.

Rozanne: SLA’s vision is “Limited Land. Unlimited Space.” Similarly, for us working at SLA, I believe we also have “Unlimited Possibilities”. I also think that there are always avenues wherein you can voice your thoughts and opinions to improve the work environment. Career-wise, they are always open to people speaking up about what they require for their personal development.