Veteran civil servant Benny Lim appointed new NParks chairman

Mr Benny Lim will be succeeding Mrs Christina Ong, who will step down from the NParks board at the end of the current term. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

SINGAPORE - The National Parks Board (NParks) will be welcoming a new chairman when veteran public servant Benny Lim takes over the role on Wednesday (Aug 1).

Mr Lim, 61, was formerly permanent secretary of the Ministry of National Development (MND), Prime Minister's Office and National Security and Intelligence Coordination. He spent 37 years in public service and retired in 2016.

An ardent lover of nature and greenery, he will be succeeding Mrs Christina Ong, who will step down from the NParks board at the end of the current term.

Mrs Ong, 70, has served as NParks chairman since 2007 and has been on its board for 12 years. She supported NParks' work in nature conservation with its Nature Conservation Masterplan, and the opening of Singapore' first Marine Park at Sisters' Islands, NParks said in a statement on Monday (July 30).

Under her leadership, programmes such as Community in Nature - a movement to connect Singaporeans with the island's natural heritage - was also launched to engage and inspire Singaporeans. The Singapore Botanic Gardens also became a Unesco World Heritage site during her tenure.

The new appointment comes amid changes to statutory boards, mainly the cessation of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) next April. NParks, which is a statutory board under MND, will take over the animal-related functions under AVA's purview. About 300 AVA staff will move to NParks.

A new statutory organisation - the Singapore Food Agency - will be formed to take over AVA's food-related work.

The NParks board now to be led by Mr Lim will also go through changes. Four members will step down as another six are reappointed. The four who will leave the board after their terms end on July 31 are Mrs Koh-Lim Wen Gin, Dr Malone-Lee Lai Choo, Mr Seah Kian Peng and Ms Jamie Ang.

The six to be reappointed are Mr Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Mr Warren Fernandez, Dr Suriani Suratman, Mr Guy Harvey-Samuel, Mr George Huang and Mr Kenneth Er. Three new members - Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, Ms Shantini Ramachandra and Mr Musa Fazal - will join the board.

All appointments are for a two-year period beginning from Aug 1.

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