Engineers urged to embrace cross-agency work

Defence Science and Technology Agency engineer Lok Xin Quan demonstrating the National Maritime Security System at the Public Service Engineering Conference yesterday.
Defence Science and Technology Agency engineer Lok Xin Quan demonstrating the National Maritime Security System at the Public Service Engineering Conference yesterday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Public sector engineers are expected to draw on information and technology from different agencies and sectors to build technological infrastructure for the nation, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

Speaking to some 1,300 public sector engineers at the inaugural Public Service Engineering Conference, he said cross-agency work can enable comprehensive and integrated solutions.

For instance, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and other government agencies use different sets of data such as demographics, road networks and people and traffic flow to make more informed urban planning decisions, both at the national and local level.

"These include planning for infrastructure needs such as roads and drains, and also where to locate social facilities such as parks, hospitals, eldercare facilities and childcare centres," DPM Teo said.

The conference at the ITE College Central in Ang Mo Kio was to recognise engineers' contributions and provide a platform for sharing experiences, said the organiser, the Public Service Division .

DPM Teo also commended the innovative engineering beneath the Marina Bay area, which houses the world's largest underground district cooling system for the buildings in the area and thus allows an unobstructed view of the bay.

The 20 giant chillers, 8km of pipes, 25 cooling towers and 79 heat exchanges are "ingeniously hidden away", he said. He also cited an "old but still relevant example" of the Infrared Fever Scanning System used during the Sars outbreak in 2003. The system was adapted from a military thermal imager.

Experienced engineers in their fields also took to the stage to share their journeys and inspire fellow engineers.

Mr Reman Chim, 36, an assistant director with the Defence Science and Technology Agency who deals with cyber security, said the conference had enabled him to network and understand the skill sets of engineers from other fields.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'Engineers urged to embrace cross-agency work'. Print Edition | Subscribe