Playing a part in the nation’s fight against Covid-19

Photo Caption: Ms Tiffanie Lau knew early on that she wanted to pursue a meaningful career in the public service. Tiffanie Lau, a Home Affairs Senior Executive (HASE) officer, was able to tackle the challenges of Covid-19, thanks to her wealth of experience accumulated from various postings across departments and agencies.

As early as January last year, when the first cases of Covid-19 appeared in Singapore, the Homefront Crisis Executive Group (HCEG) was already coming up with solutions to deal with the fast-spreading virus.

Tiffanie’s role as part of the secretariat team was to ensure that she captured key decision points and deliberations at numerous meetings and coordinated with the other government agencies for their immediate plans and actions. 

The 32-year-old says: “I saw first-hand how officers at all levels across the different agencies pooled resources and stepped up in many ways, often taking on responsibilities that were not ‘traditionally’ theirs or building up capabilities along the way, to get things done.” “I also witnessed how my colleagues in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) deployed to the Forward Assurance and Support Teams supported the efforts to control the outbreak at the foreign worker dormitories, and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s nimble implementation of the changes in border control.”

During this critical time, she also shouldered her role as a Senior Assistant Director at the Joint Operations Group (JOG), which she has held since Jan 2019.At the JOG, she works closely with her teammates, other agencies and stakeholders on regulatory operations and policy matters. This is where her interdisciplinary background comes in handy — it helps her formulate policy recommendations amid the challenging uncertainties of the evolving Covid-19 situation. Some recommendations she’s been working on with a wider team include the enforcement framework for safe management measures, and managing the closure and safe resumption of businesses.

One career, varied exposure

Tiffanie knew early on that she wanted to pursue a meaningful career in the public service. What sealed the deal for her was an internship at MHA in 2009 — she saw how the Ministry would offer her the challenge of tackling interdisciplinary work, as well as learning and development opportunities.“I’ve always liked spreading my energies across different disciplines,” says the Philosophy of Science master’s degree holder. “Here, I’m able to spend a few years in one portfolio to acquire a certain level of mastery, then move on to the next challenge where I can build on my prior knowledge, skills and networks.”

In October 2012, Tiffanie started out in MHA’s Policy Development Division where she worked on the landmark Protection from Harassment Act, amongst other legislative reviews. She then did a four-month operational stint at the SPF’s Bedok Division in 2014, before her secondment to the Ministry of Health.

She returned to MHA in January 2017 and joined the Home Team operations management team, where she focused on the management of major incidents and new laws to enable SPF to better respond to serious threats to public order and safety.

Now, two years into her current role at JOG, Covid-19 efforts aside, Tiffanie has worked on a variety of key projects. One of these is the amendments to the Women’s Charter in strengthening enforcement against vice activities in the heartlands. 

Tiffanie has grown professionally and personally at MHA. Besides job rotation, she has benefited from developmental opportunities like structured training programmes, participation in cross-division projects and career guidance by senior leaders. As an HASE officer on the Public Service Leadership Programme, she also has the chance to participate in security-related developmental opportunities at a Whole-of-Government level, and be groomed as a future Home Team leader. The vast and varied developmental opportunities ensure Tiffanie is in good stead to tackle complex regulatory issues that impact Singapore’s security. She notes: “The world is increasingly complex, and we often have to find creative solutions by looking elsewhere for learning points, or other approaches within the security community. Having a wide range of work experience allows me to do just that.”