Two leading lights in engineering here received high honours last night for their contributions in advancing the profession and Singapore's development.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, was named honorary fellow of the Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES), while Professor Cham Tao Soon received its Lifetime Engineering Achievement Award, the highest honour in the field here.
Mr Masagos, who trained as an electrical engineer, made history as Singtel's first Malay graduate engineer in 1988, and rose to be chief executive of Singtel Global Offices.
Since becoming a minister last October, the 53-year-old has been tasked with creating a more liveable future for Singaporeans, planning for the country's long-term water sustainability and working regionally to promote cooperation in fighting transboundary haze.
Prof Cham, 77, has a civil engineering degree and helped build up the profession when he was the institution's president in the 1980s. He also founded the Academy of Engineering Singapore.
A key driver in raising engineering competency in higher learning institutes here, he is credited with making Nanyang Technological University a leader in engineering education. In April, he was appointed to set up the Singapore Rail Academy to boost the training and re-skilling of engineers and technicians.
Referring to both men, IES president Edwin Khew said: "You are great role models attesting to the difference that engineers can make in various sectors of our economy."
On attracting young people to join the field, Prof Cham said the main challenge is finding "ways to make the profession imaginative, to tell them that all the 21st century comforts - computers, handphones - are creations of engineers".
He added: "Hopefully, they'll want to be part of this group that creates."
Lim Yan Liang