26 September 2017, Tuesday, 9am
Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre

Mr Pedro Conceicao, Director of Strategy Policy, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Mr Taavi Roivas, former Prime Minister of Estonia, and

Ms Maria Robertson, Deputy Chief Executive of Service Delivery and Operations, New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs

Ladies and Gentlemen


  Good morning.

  1. A lot has changed in Singapore over the past year: we rolled out Facebook Workplace across government, witnessed the launch of Amazon Prime Now, brought local productions into Netflix, and facilitated the opening of Google’s first Cloud servers in Southeast Asia. 

  2. The public sector also welcomed the beta release of the New OneMap. Built by SLA entirely in-house, the New OneMap is now the most authoritative and user-friendly source of geospatial data in Singapore. It serves as the common platform for government agencies to deliver geospatial information and services, and brings us one step closer toward Smart Nation.

  3. The Ethos of Smart Nation

  4. In the execution of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative we have three major objectives. First, we will improve our citizens’ everyday convenience and their quality of life. Second, we will drive greater enterprise efficacy and support new areas of innovation. Third, the expectation, and correctly so, is for us to be inclusive for all Singaporeans from the start. The benefits of our Smart Nation have to be widely distributed and not available to a select few.

  5. Thus any platforms we build must not just adopt the most advanced technologies, they must also be publicly-accessible and interoperable. This is important because as a government, we are building platforms not for profit, but for delivering a public good. Our platforms must also have tangible use cases and benefits, such as providing more efficient and tailored services, and have measurable improvements that citizens can see and feel. At the back-end, we have to design it in a way that we can derive and develop, and leverage on enabling deeper policy analysis. So that each platform, each product and each service needs to build on the rest of the ecosystem, accelerating and deepening the development of our Smart Nation in a synergistic approach, with each rollout.

  6. But the most important consideration of all is that our platforms must continue to maintain the longstanding trust that Singaporeans have in their government and public services. Without this, we are not going to get much done, let alone transform our nation and our society.

  7. There are some key issues that have to be tackled upfront to ensure the effectiveness of our vision – issues that we have to get right, and we have to deal with these issues in a cohesive manner. Our success in addressing the challenges within them will drive the implementation and adoption of the Smart Nation initiatives. These three key issues are data, a willingness to restructure and a focus on the user experience.

  8. Data as an Enabler

  9. Data is a key enabler that underpins our Smart Nation efforts. That is why for the past year, we have been designing a data sharing framework that will boost inter-agency collaboration to improve the design, integration and delivery of public services, while introducing legal safeguards to maintain the longstanding public trust towards the government’s use of data. Soon, we will be formalising a robust public sector data architecture that will accelerate our Smart Nation journey.

  10. We are also enhancing ways that we share data with the public. We have come a long way with our open data platform, Data.gov.sg. Earlier this year, we introduced our Open Data License to welcome more citizen involvement by simplifying the terms and lowering the barriers of using public sector data. We have also continued to provide more granular, machine readable and API accessible datasets for users. If we are to develop new solutions, new ideas and even new platforms to help us solve policy issues, we need more participation and co-creation. So if you have not looked at Data.gov.sg recently, please have a look, and join in.

  11. Being Creative about Government Platforms

  12. A willingness to restructure and be creative in the way that we develop the platforms to better meet the needs of our citizens is vital. We are studying ways to transform how our services and information are organised, how we can better address our citizens’ needs and to provide them with a seamless experience when interacting with government.

  13. We have been successful with creating applications like OneService, which provides a centralised platform for collecting citizen feedback for close to 30 agencies and Town Councils. The application has enhanced our ability to monitor service quality and coordinate improvements, so we want to extend this approach to a broader range of services.

  14. One of the projects we are currently looking at is the Moments of Life initiative, which bundles services and information to citizens at different key life moments, such as when they start a family, or around housing, schooling and even health. How can we push, pull, coordinate and collaborate so that a particular service for the citizen is tailored to their needs and is as friction-free as possible? We are exploring the development of this digital service for citizens and an initial version will be made available by the middle of next year.

  15. Delivering New User Experiences

  16. We have to continually focus on the experience of the users – our citizens. There is a need to improve the convenience and safety of online transactions. Our daily transactions have become more digitised and increasingly performed on mobile devices. We need to also design these experiences to be more intuitive, secure and hassle-free.

  17. Realising this, we have started to build the National Digital Identity to enhance everyday online experiences. Last year, we gave SingPass users an opportunity to try out a new government service known as MyInfo – a secure portal that allows users to manage their personal data online. We created the service to help reduce the hassle of filling up online applications, and to provide government-verified data for transactions that require SingPass authentication. MyInfo users will therefore save the trouble of entering the same information repeatedly, or uploading personal documents. The response has been very encouraging: in just over a year, we have received 200,000 sign-ups and successfully extended this service to the banking sector.

  18. I am very happy to announce today our next step towards strengthening our National Digital Identity. After a successful trial, all SingPass users will receive a MyInfo profile by the end of this year. After logging in with your SingPass to any participating online government service, such as an application for a new flat, all of your basic personal information including your name, NRIC and date of birth will be filled in automatically.

  19. With this expansion of MyInfo, every SingPass user will get the added convenience of just confirming their pre-filled information when transacting with selected online government services. In fact, because this information has already been verified, government agencies will no longer require you to upload a scan of your IC or a proof-of-address. We envision MyInfo to be a key part of our “Tell Us Once” ecosystem, and we see this as a key enabler of our Smart Nation initiative.

  20. However, for transactions that involve personal financial information, such as your CPF or income tax records, further steps such as providing consent will still be needed before the transaction can continue. This will reduce the convenience available, but will ensure security and trust around the most sensitive issues. Thus we will always work to strike the right balance, between convenience and security.

  21. I am also very excited to announce today that we are looking to extend the use of MyInfo to businesses by the end of this year. We have been piloting our Proof-of-Concept with DBS, OCBC, UOB and Standard Chartered Bank for the past 5 months, and users have been able to use MyInfo for 19 different banking services, such as opening a new bank account or applying for a new credit card. After providing consent to share data from MyInfo, users save the hassle of entering their personal information or uploading personal documents. We believe that MyInfo, and the future National Digital Identity framework, will transform the way our citizens transact online, and the number of services that support it will grow.

  22. Using Platforms in the Public Service

  23. Since our Smart Nation vision was launched in 2014, we have had ideas for many different types of platforms: platforms for better service delivery, platforms for citizen engagement and platforms for improved data distribution. Some of these ideas have crystalised into products, like MyInfo. Others have become our five Strategic National Projects, which includes the National Digital Identity framework, our E-Payments platform, the Smart Nation Sensor Platform, the Smart Urban Mobility initiative and the Moments of Life initiative. These projects will form the core infrastructure that drive pervasive adoption of digital and smart technologies throughout the economy and society.

  24. We have to be wholly inclusive to all Singaporeans from the start, designing products and services with the user as an integral part of the process. These have to be interoperable with the public and the private sector, because ultimately, the Smart Nation journey has to generate benefits for the economy, businesses and jobs in Singapore.

  25. Thank you very much.