President Tony Tan awarded highest honour for shaping Singapore's defence technology

President Tony Tan Keng Yam (centre) and his wife Mary (front row, fifth from right), together with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (fourth from left) and other award recipients at the inaugural Defence Technology Community (DTC) Pioneers' Dinner at the
President Tony Tan Keng Yam (centre) and his wife Mary (front row, fifth from right), together with Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (fourth from left) and other award recipients at the inaugural Defence Technology Community (DTC) Pioneers' Dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel on May 6, 2015. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN 

SINGAPORE - President Tony Tan Keng Yam has been awarded the Defence Technology Medal (Pinnacle Award) for his contribution in shaping the Republic's armed forces.

It is "the highest honour bestowed on distinguished members of the defence technology community for their lifetime achievements" to the country, reads a press statement from the Ministry of Defence (Mindef).

Dr Tan, who was presented the medal by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at a dinner at Shangri-La hotel on Wednesday, said he was thankful for the award.

"This medal, which I accept on behalf of the defence technology community, underpins the progress we have made in defence science and technology in Singapore's short history," he added.

The medal also represented a tribute to the 5,000-strong scientific community for their work in emergency situations such as disease outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), H1N1 and Ebola viruses. Scientists responded by "rapidly developing and implementing emergency response solutions that enabled Singapore to contain and manage these incidents," he said.

Dr Tan, who was Defence Minister from 1995 to 2003, oversaw the corporatisation of the Defence Science Organisation as DSO National Laboratories in 1997, which allowed the organisation to work with research establishments. He was the coordinating Minister for Security and Defence between 2003 and 2005.

Under his charge, the first Temasek Laboratories - a collaboration between the Defence Science and Technology Agency and National University of Singapore - was established in 2000.

According to Mindef, the "steady investment of resources towards the development of an indigenous defence technology capability under Dr Tan's leadership gave the Singapore Armed Forces a strategic technological edge".