Former senior minister S. Jayakumar, who is senior legal adviser to the Foreign Minister, has been awarded Singapore's highest civilian honour, the Order of Temasek (With High Distinction), for his sustained and invaluable contributions to Singapore.
He served as a diplomat and minister in a public service career spanning more than 30 years, and continued to lend his expertise on issues such as the Pedra Branca dispute and water agreements with Malaysia after his retirement from politics.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Professor Jayakumar, 80, said he was grateful and surprised by the gesture: "If Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan feel that it will be beneficial for me to share my experience and knowledge, how can I say no?"
Those at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 are also among the 5,470 recipients of this year's National Day Awards.
They include recipients of the Meritorious Service Medal - Ms Chan Lai Fung, permanent secretary for national research and development as well as public sector science and technology policy and plans, and chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star); and Associate Professor Benjamin Ong, who helped set up the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
The centre has placed Singapore in a better position to deal with the pandemic. NCID executive director Leo Yee Sin has been awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver).
Dr Masafumi Inoue, principal scientist at A*Star's Diagnostics Development Hub, who was in the team that developed a test kit to help diagnose infections with high accuracy, has been awarded a Public Administration Medal (Bronze).
As part of today's National Day celebrations, six fighter jets will fly past eight hospitals in an aerial salute to front-line workers. About 100 front-liners and essential workers will also be on vehicles in the mobile column that will cross the island.
A special list of awards to recognise those who have significantly contributed to the national response to Covid-19 will be issued in due course, said the Prime Minister's Office.
A full list of this year's National Day Award recipients is available at the PMO website.