Speech by Acting Minister For Information, Communications And the Arts at the Singapore Computer Society Annual Dinner and IT Leader Awards 2010

5 March 2010 - Opening Address By Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister For Information, Communications And The Arts, At The Singapore Computer Society (SCS) Annual Dinner And IT Leader Awards 2010, Shangri-La Hotel, Island Ballroom

Opening Address By Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister For Information, Communications And The Arts, At The Singapore Computer Society (SCS) Annual Dinner And IT Leader Awards 2010 On 5 March 2010, Shangri-La Hotel, Island Ballroom

Mr Alphonsus Pang, President of the Singapore Computer Society,

Members of SCS,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening

1. It is my pleasure to join you this evening for the SCS Gala Dinner and the IT Leaders Awards. Tonight, we will be honoring those who have contributed to the advancement of infocomm in Singapore.  My heartiest congratulations go out to the recipients of the IT Leader of the Year and the Young Professional of the Year awards, our Hall of Fame inductee, and this year's IT Youth.

Infocomm Industry Will Continue to Grow and Thrive in View of Economic Recovery

2. We are now in the midst of what we hope is a sustained recovery from the economic downturn. The International Monetary Fund1 has forecasted that the world economy will grow by 3.9 percent this year and 4.3 percent in 2011 with the strongest growth expected in Asia.Singapore's overall economic outlook is also improving with growth for 2010 revised upwards to 4.5 to 6.5 per cent2 in 2010, up from the estimated 2 per cent contraction in 2009.

3. Similarly, the international outlook on the Infocomm Technology Sector is positive. Forecasts have shown that worldwide IT and telecommunications spending is expected to return to growth in 2010. According to Gartner, the IT industry will see a 3.33 percent increase in IT spending in 2010, up to a total of US$3.3 trillion. Hudson, an international recruitment firm, has also stated that in terms of recruitment, Information Technology is a sector likely to make a big comeback this year. In a poll of Singapore-based IT companies, 60% indicated that they had plans to increase hiring in the first quarter of this year, up from 36% in the fourth quarter of last year.

4. IDA's latest Annual Survey on Infocomm Manpower 2009 reinforces Hudson's findings. It indicated that despite the contraction in the Singapore economy, infocomm employment in Singapore grew by 1.3% in 2009, from 139,000 in 2008 to 140,800 this year. The strongest areas of employment growth include software development, digital media & animation, and research & development. Clearly, infocomm technology remains a crucial pillar and a strong focus of our economy, and this bodes well for infocomm professionals as well as those seeking a career in the infocomm industry.

5. The Information & Communications sector was the only services producing sector in Singapore that had expanded in 2009. In part, this was supported by the increased pervasiveness of ICT adoption in Singapore. In 2009, the proportion of households with internet access increased to 81% in 2009, up from 76% in 2008. The percentage of households that connect to the Internet at home via a broadband connection has risen to 80% in 2009 from 75% in 2008. This growth is one of the fastest in recent years. Similarly, the proportion of households that have access to at least one computer at home has increased to 83% in 2009, from 80% in 20084.

6. The Government will continue to ensure that Singapore remains a pro-ICT and pro-business environment, making it an ideal location for investment. Efforts will be made to maintain world-class infrastructure, with the Next Gen NBN coming readily to mind, and our reputation for efficiency so that we remain an attractive proposition for MNCs and international start-ups to locate their operations in Singapore and for our own SMEs to grow their operation.
7. In the past two years, 26 technology starts-ups from around the world have chosen to base their ventures in Singapore, increasing the diversity of entrepreneurs and engineering talent here. These include firms such as Wikinvest, the largest investment wiki in the world, and mig33, a mobile community platform with 25 million users in over 192 countries. Other international start ups include Intalio, an enterprise cloud computing platform provider, IGG, an online gaming company, and Netbiscuits, a B2B web software platform provider. The presence of these start-ups here will result in more opportunities for our infocomm professionals to work with international companies and explore overseas markets, and lead to greater employment and IP creation.

8. Singapore-based infocomm companies have also been very active in exporting their public sector infocomm services to growing markets such as China, India and parts of the Middle East, which have been looking to acquire expertise and know-how. Through these activities, our infocomm professionals have been able to acquire valuable international experience and sharpen their competitive edge. The Government, through the efforts of IDA and its partners, will continue to help Singapore-based enterprises internationalise and groom them to become players in the global arena.

New Technology Areas Will Increase the Prospect of Infocomm as a Career

9. ICT is a key instrument in raising productivity and a major enabler in enhancing efficiency in businesses. Through the re-engineering of companies' operations and workflows, business processes are transformed for more efficient utilisation of resources. ICT seeds ideas for innovation, facilitate collaboration and make the process of creating new quality products and services easier and more effective.

10. New growth areas such as eco-friendly Green ICT, Cloud Computing and Business Analytics are expected to be increasingly important to companies in the years to come. Cloud Computing, together with Business Analytics, are also expected to have a direct and positive impact on a company's business performance. Infocomm professionals must therefore keep abreast of these new developments and identify other growth opportunities to enjoy increased opportunities to develop their career.

Sustaining the Talent Pool, Building a Pipeline of Infocomm Professionals

11. Going forward, the National Infocomm Competency Framework, or NICF, will be updated to cover new and emerging areas. Currently, 562 skill sets have been mapped to 250 infocomm positions on the NICF. This year, the NICF has also been expanded to include new areas such as Data Centre Management, Quality Assurance, and Portfolio Management. I would like to encourage all organisations and individuals to use the NICF as a guide to competency development, professional upgrading and training. Already, the NICF is being adopted by companies such as SingTel, Crimson Logic and Neptune Orient Lines for their internal competency frameworks.

12. To provide more upgrading opportunities for professionals, 4 Infocomm Continuing Education and Training Centres, or CET Centres, for short, have been jointly appointed by the IDA and the Workforce Development Agency. These CET Centres seek to deliver more than 60 courses and train more than 8,000 individuals over three years. More than 1,700 infocomm professionals have already benefited from the 35 NICF courses held at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and the Institute of Systems Science. The fourth centre, the Strategic Technology Management Institute at the National University of Singapore will be launched on 8 March 2010.

13. A strong pipeline of IT Professionals is crucial. We need to draw in a fair share of bright young people into the sector. We need industry leaders to spearhead this effort, reach out to the schools and excite them with the possibilities in the industry. For promising students, IDA offers two scholarships, the National Infocomm Scholarship, which supports infocomm studies at the bachelors and masters degree level, and the Integrated Infocomm Scholarship, which supports good “O” level students to embark upon infocomm studies from polytechnic to university. These scholarships are part of IDA's efforts to ensure that students with a passion for infocomm have the opportunities to develop a solid foundation in the topic.

14. We offered 46 scholarships last year. This is encouraging, we need to keep at this pace, and improve on it, for a good number of years so that we build strong pillars for the future. Monetary incentives are not enough. There needs to be steadfast efforts from the leaders of this sector, for them to reach out and share, and let the students understand how critical this industry is for Singapore. The future of this sector depends on everyone present.


15. Let me now take this opportunity to thank the Singapore Computer Society for actively partnering the government in furthering the development of our infocomm industry. I hope that SCS, as the voice of the IT professional community, will continue to foster a strong spirit of enterprise and innovation to uphold the high standard of infocomm professionals in Singapore.

16. Congratulations again to all our award winners tonight and I wish you a pleasant evening. Thank you.


1 According to the IMF's "World Economic Outlook", published on 26 Jan 2010. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/2010/NEW012610B.htm

2 According to MTI's press release "MTI Revises 2010 Growth Forecast to 4.5 to 6.5 Per Cent" dated 19 February 2010.

3 According to Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2009, October 18-22, in Orlando http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1209913

4 According to IDA's 2009 Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households and by Individuals.



Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023