Speech by JTC Chairman Dr Loo Choon Yong at JTC's 50th Anniversary Dinner
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Mrs Lee,
Ladies and gentlemen,
- On behalf of my JTC colleagues, I extend a warm welcome to everyone to this gala dinner to celebrate JTC’s 50th anniversary. In particular, we thank Prime Minister Lee and Mrs Lee for taking time from their busy schedules to grace this event. We are also very pleased to have several of our past Chairmen, Board members, CEOs, and many captains of industry here with us this evening. You honour us with your presence, and make this a very special celebration for JTC.
- JTC’s story started fifty years ago when it was set up to oversee the development of Singapore’s first industrial estate, and launch Singapore’s industrialisation drive. Initially known as the Jurong Town Corporation, our mission back then was focused on the development of Jurong Industrial Estate. This was an ambitious endeavour at that time. In the famous words of Dr Goh Keng Swee, had it failed, it would have become known to posterity as “Goh’s folly”. But fortune was on our side. Not only did the plan succeed, it also laid a strong foundation for JTC to grow and evolve. As Singapore’s economy moved up the value chain, JTC has also over the years stepped up its capabilities to meet new challenges and demands. So after 50 years, we can confidently say that Jurong Industrial Estate is indeed the result of the wisdom, foresight and daring of Dr Goh Keng Swee and his colleagues – certainly not a folly.
- Today, JTC is known both locally and in the region as an icon that is closely associated with Singapore’s successful industrialisation. By providing relevant and future-ready industrial infrastructure, JTC has played an instrumental role in attracting companies to make Singapore a key base for their operations, and providing a conducive operating environment for businesses. Successive generations of JTC colleagues have applied themselves to re-imagine industrial spaces, design new industrial typologies, and implement developments that foster collaboration and innovation. Their efforts have paid off as part of MTI’s collective efforts to build vibrant and resilient business communities, and ensure that Singapore is always ready for our next phase of growth.
- We are now facing a new world defined by uncertain global geo-politics, an accelerating technological revolution, and changing domestic demographics. In the 1960s, the pioneer generation too had to confront a very harsh world, with much fewer resources than we have today. As we celebrate JTC’s 50th anniversary, it is an opportune time for us to reflect on their phenomenal achievements, and to commit ourselves to build on their legacy.
- Our first commitment is to retain JTC’s DNA, the tradition of embracing ambitious and bold visions, just as Dr Goh Keng Swee had envisioned Jurong as a driver for Singapore’s industrialisation 50 years ago. For JTC, this means committing ourselves not only to take bold innovative actions, but also to build up solid professional capabilities to see through complex engineering and infrastructure projects. This is the spirit that has guided us through the years to implement challenging projects like Jurong Island, one-north and Jurong Rock Caverns. The same spirit will continue to guide us as we embark on ambitious projects such as PDD, or the Punggol Digital District, and JID, or the Jurong Innovation District, to position Singapore for the future.
- Our second commitment is to continue to build on the close partnership with fellow economic agencies and business communities. This is especially critical at this juncture when we are at the start of another industrial and economic revolution. In all our estates new and old, our future success will depend on how well we work together to organise ourselves to accommodate new methods of production, new ways to bring products to market, and new ways to meet the expectations of the future workforce. As the future is not clear at the moment, there is a need for constant experimentation. In our estates, we have started these conversations, and in some areas such as one-north, we have offered our precincts as a test-bed for new ideas and technologies. We will continue to strengthen these collaborations in local business communities to enhance business resilience, and create new opportunities for enterprise and industry transformation.
- Our third commitment is to continue to embrace the Singapore model of development. This means not pursuing economic growth alone, but striking a fine balance between economic, social, and environmental imperatives. This is a developmental approach with a long-term view, and has created a very liveable environment that makes Singapore an investment destination of choice.
- Climate change is now big on the global agenda, and this approach to sustainable development is more relevant than ever today. There is a growing global awareness that the planet’s ability to repair itself is not limitless. Increasingly, consumers are holding businesses accountable to the attention we pay to the environment. To keep our estates relevant, we have been progressively adopting renewable energy sources, and smart systems that optimise resource utilisation. There are vast opportunities for JTC to work with stakeholders to improve our performance in this area. As part of our 50th anniversary celebration this year, we will be announcing a number of initiatives to invite our industry partners to contribute towards making our estates greener. We look forward to your active support and participation.
- It is wonderful this evening to celebrate this important milestone in JTC’s journey with our Prime Minister, Mrs Lee, past colleagues and industry partners.
- JTC’s greatest asset is our people, and our achievements would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of officers over the years. From a small 290-strong workforce at JTC’s first office at Taman Jurong, to a 1,000-strong workforce today, what ultimately defined us as an organisation is our people’s unshakeable resolve to seek new opportunities, and turn them into reality to serve Singapore’s interests. I salute you and thank you.
- Lastly, JTC’s contribution to Singapore’s economic progress would not have been possible without the support and trust of our partners and customers. There are companies here today which have roots dating back to the days before JTC was formed, that means more than fifty years ago. On behalf of the JTC team, I thank you for your strong partnership over the years.
- We are all here this evening because of our association with JTC, in one way or another. I am sure I echo everyone’s sentiments that we are all proud to be associated with this icon of Singapore, and proud to be participants of its past fifty years of journey.
- I once again thank everyone who is here with us today to celebrate this milestone with us, and I wish you an enjoyable evening ahead.