23 July 2007 - Welcome Speech By Ms Penny Low, Chairman GPC, Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts At the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) International Conference 2007, Swissotel The Stamford.

Welcome Speech By Ms Penny Low, Chairman GPC, Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts At the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) International Conference on 23 July 2007, Swissotel The Stamford.

Mr Everett C. Johnson, ISACA International President,
Ms Susan Caldwell, ISACA Chief Executive Officer,
Members of ISACA International Board of Directors,
ISACA International Conference Delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,


1. Thank you for inviting me to officiate at this conference as the Guest of Honour on behalf of the Singapore Government. We are certainly delighted that you have chosen Singapore as the venue for the ISACA International Conference 2007. I have been informed that this annual conference is in its 35th year and it is also the first time that it is held in Asia. To the foreign delegates, I would like to welcome you to Singapore. While you network with international industry experts and peers at the conference, I would also encourage you to explore what is uniquely Singapore, our multi-racial culture, increasingly cosmopolitan people and vibrant night life.

Singapore's e-Government Experience

2. Let me take this opportunity to share with you what Singapore has done and achieved so far in exploiting IT for its competitive advantage in line with your conference theme, "I will embrace new concepts."

3. E-government is not just about infocomm technologies or systems. Rather, the focus of our e-Government is about re-engineering the internal government thought processes and work procedures so as to be able to leverage IT efficiently and effectively to better serve our citizens and businesses. Our ultimate goal is to meet the needs of our citizens and engage them.

4. Our efforts in e-government have not gone unnoticed. The latest Accenture's study on government customer service including e-government across 22 countries has placed Singapore at the top for the first time since 2000. We have also consistently received many accolades from World Economic Forum, EIU and ITU for our pervasive usage and adoption of IT to transform the way we work, live and play.

Evolution of e-Government in Singapore  

5. Our journey in e-Government began slightly more than 25 years ago. In 1981, we initiated the Civil Service Computerisation Programme to introduce computer simultaneously to 10 ministries at the national level when the computer era had barely begun. This effort was a powerful enabling tool - not just to improve the efficiency of the civil service, but also to serve Singapore and Singaporeans in a knowledge-based economy.

6. This brings us to the launch of the first e-Government action plan (e-GAP 1) in 2000. With a budget of $1.5 billion for three years, e-GAP 1 successfully created the platform for all public agencies to work together for an efficient deployment of e-Government services in Singapore. All public services deemed suitable for online access were put on our one-stop Internet-based e-Citizen portal (www.gov.sg). To date, we have rolled out some 1,600 e-government services for always-on easily accessible services to Singaporeans.This means that more than 98% of government services are now available on-line 24/7.

7. The success of e-GAP 1 set the stage for a second programme in 2003 to bring e-services to an even higher and more responsive level for closer citizen-government interaction. With a new budget of S$1.3 billion, e-GAP 2 was launched to achieve our vision of Singapore as a leading e-Government to better serve the nation in the digital economy. It focused on the richness and reach of the online services to be even more accessible, integrated and provide value-add to our citizens as well as encourage greater use of IT to promote active citizenry. 

8. Our most recent masterplan for the Singapore Government - iGov2010 - was launched last year in May. At the heart of this $2-billion plan is the emphasis on transcending organisational structures, changing rules and procedures, to re-organise and integrate the government around customers' and citizens' needs and intentions. The principle to think "customer" and "start with the user in mind" in everything we do remains central. This means that we have to put ourselves in the user's shoes, constantly thinking of what he wants, what will be useful and convenient for him when he transacts with the Government. It is with this strong desire to serve the public with the highest standard that our public agencies have worked tirelessly together to push our e-services up the maturity ladder - from simple information publication, to interactive, fully transactional e-services, integrated e-services, and 3P (or Public-Private-People) integrated e-services. This is aimed at making the e-services as responsive, accessible, convenient and easy to use as possible. 

E-Government and Singapore's Competitiveness

9. Today, seven years after launching e-government, the way public services are delivered has been totally transformed. Citizens and businesses alike have benefited greatly from transacting online with the Government.  GeBIZ, the Government’s integrated one-stop centre for all procurement and revenue tender activities, is the largest Government internet-based e-commerce initiative. Businesses are now able to transact with the government online, and via e-procurement, which has netted sizeable cost savings for both businesses and also purchasing government agencies.

10. Our Government-To-Business (G2B) e-services have also imbued a pro-enterprise environment, facilitated business growth in Singapore, and saved valuable time and resources. The Online Business Licensing Services (OBLS) is a good example. It is a one-stop service for business license application, which shields the transactional complexity involved in applying for various licences and permits. With OBLS, aspiring entrepreneurs in Singapore can go online to apply for one or more of the 69 licenses from 19 government agencies. As an example of its efficiency, the average processing time for licenses was reduced from three weeks to 12.5 days, with accrued business savings exceeding $3 million yearly.

11. E-services have also greatly enhanced convenience for Singaporeans. We do not have to make trips to government agencies to do transactions. Take for instance the renewal of passports, which can now be done online. Government agencies are also able to consult the public online and engage the public and industry in the development and review of our public policies and legislation to ensure greater transparency and buy-in for our regulatory framework.  

Security and Control

12. With increasing use of e-Government services, and with increasingly connected international network infrastructures, the threat of cyber terrorism becomes a very real concern, given Singapore's reputation as a secure and trusted hub in the region.  

13. The Infocomm Security Masterplan was launched in 2005, to defend our critical infrastructure from cyber attacks, and maintain a secure infocomm environment for the public, private and people sectors in Singapore. One of the key outcomes from the masterplan is the establishment of the National Cyber Threat Monitoring centre which went live in March this year. Further, Singapore has also taken significant steps over the years to collaborate with our international partners, through CERTS, or Computer Emergency Response Teams, to improve our collective abilities to combat cyber threats.

14.  There is also ongoing public education and concerted industry efforts to raise public awareness of online security threats, alongside other efforts to instil confidence in Singaporeans to transact online through enabling legislation of the Computer Misuse Act, the Electronic Transaction Act, the TrustSg framework and more recently, the Spam Control Act.


15. In closing, I would like to say that Singapore is relentless in our pursuit for innovative and creative ways in which we can leverage on technologies to roll out new modes of service delivery and to better serve our citizens in this digital era. I hope you will likewise exploit the opportunity at the conference to network with each other and to discover new concepts of addressing leading edge managerial issues facing IT governance, security and assurance. On this note, I wish you a very informative, enlightening, insightful and enjoyable conference.

16. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023