I’ve served 42 years in the public service and retired at the end of last year. I was in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) from 1977 to 2013, where I served as Deputy Commissioner of Police for 11 years during that time. In the last eight years of my career, I was seconded to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
In August 2016, I was invited to sit as a member on the Board of Trustees of Industrial & Services Co-operative Society (ISCOS) Ltd for a term of three years. ISCOS is an organisation that helps ex-offenders in Singapore. That’s how I came to be here today.
Looking back on my career, the common thread that runs through the different appointments I had held is my personal motivation to help people. I enjoy helping people and being in positions where I can do that, and I think that remains true to this very day.
When I joined the SPF in 1977, my calling in life wasn’t just to catch criminals and ensure that they got the punishment they deserved, and to help people who were victims of crime, but it was also to stop criminals from further causing harm to themselves and their families.
I really enjoyed my work every day, always giving my best and putting my heart and soul into my job because I found it to be meaningful work. My career developed and progressed along the way but it was never my ambition to be the number one or number two person in the SPF. So when I was entrusted with the position of Deputy Commissioner of Police, I was grateful for the opportunity given to me. The new role allowed me to continue to pursue my ambition to help people; but this time was to help developing the people within the Police Force so that they could grow in their potential and could be better at their jobs.
But I think the years I spent at MHA really helped me with my current role at ISCOS. I could better understand the need to help ex-offenders because I could see how departments within MHA – Prisons, Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) and Statutory Boards such as the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) – tackled the challenges of rehabilitation of offenders.
ISCOS, being a cooperative set up by SCORE, is also in the business of rehabilitation. My exposure to the policy work on rehabilitation during my time at MHA, together with my police experience and personal motivation to help people, made me appreciate my role as a member of ISCOS Board of Trustees even more.
A recent highlight for me was my involvement in helping to raise funds for a charity golf event last November. My contribution was bringing in partners and donors to contribute to the event. I did that by tapping onto my personal contacts and network of friends and associates, and also reaching out to organisations I had worked with during my career, explaining the work of ISCOS and the needs of ex-offenders and their families to them.
I was quite happy many of them responded and supported the event which was graced by Mr Lim Swee Say, the then Minister for Manpower. I think the event was a success and helped raised the awareness of ISCOS among existing and potential partners.
Moving forward, I hope that more members of the public could learn about the important job ISCOS is doing. ISCOS is preventing ex-offenders from returning to the world of crime and helping them become useful citizens of our society. Getting a job can be difficult if you have a record. I hope the public understands their plight and supports them.” – Liang Kwang, 65
Goh Liang Kwang is a member of the ISCOS Board of Trustees.