Speech by Mr Guah Eng Hock, Chairman of the Waste Management and. Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS) at WMRAS Chinese New Year

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1 Speech by Mr Guah Eng Hock, Chairman of the Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS) at WMRAS Chinese New Year cum 10 th Anniversary Dinner 2012, 31 January Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, fellow members of the association, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. 1 A very good evening and a warm welcome to all. I would like to extend an especially warm welcome to Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of Information, Communications & the Arts, and WMRAS new advisor. We are very glad to welcome you to the Association and thank you for gracing this evening s dinner as our Guest of Honour. Introduction 2 The Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore, or WMRAS as it s usually called, was formed on 8 August marked our 10 th anniversary and we decided to combine it with our annual Chinese New Year Dinner for a bigger celebration. I am very glad that we made the choice to wait till today, as there are so many you with us today, at least 100 more people than we usually have at our annual Chinese New Year Dinners! Key Changes 3 When WMRAS was first formed in 2001, the intention was to create a community with common interests and concerns to come together, and build a 1

2 bridge between industry and the Government. We started off with just 30 members, and I m glad to announce that we have since crossed the 100 mark at the end of For WMRAS to reach the 10-year mark, the journey was not easy. It took the efforts of many dedicated individuals to put in their time, ideas, connections and financial support to help us get to where we are today. The contributions of a few stand out, for their vision and direction, and long service of unwavering dedication. Tonight, I m pleased to announce that we will be honouring some of these individuals by presenting them with lifetime membership. As those of you who were there at our recent Extraordinary General Meeting will know, a change in our Constitution was recently passed. We now have new membership categories to acknowledge Honorary Individual members, as well as newly created categories to make it easier for newly-registered and young companies to join us as Startup Members, and for Students to join us as members. 5 The honorary members that we will be awarding later tonight have either served as Chairpersons in the Executive Committee or have served a full ten years in the Executive Committee. That s right, you heard me correctly. We have members in our Executive Committee who have been with us since Day 1 and who have been offering their time and expertise unrelentingly. I thank them for their commitment and belief in the Association. They represent the confidence in our industry, and are an invaluable source of information and witness to the continuous development of the industry. 2

3 6 I would also like to make special mention of and acknowledge our past Advisor, Dr Amy Khor, whom we are now recognising as Honorary Advisor. Dr Khor has served as our Advisor since our early days when she was Minister of State for the Environment, and has personally been involved in the planning and execution of many key events and plans for the Association, including the setting up of our new full-time Secretariat Office. It is unfortunate that she is unable to join us tonight but I would nevertheless, like to record our note of thanks to her. 7 Earlier in August this year, we elected in a new team to the Executive Committee. My team and I look forward to working closely with you, our members, and meeting your expectations. I am pleased to inform that 3 sub-committees have been formed in this regard: Industry Development, to address technical and business issues, and promote best practices; Membership and Outreach, to foster closer ties and enhance the image of the industry; and Environmental Health and Safety, to work together with stakeholders to improve the safety of the industry. Please approach us if you are interested to be part of these sub-committees. The Year Ahead 8 With the new Secretariat Office, as well as support from our long-term secretariat services partner, Enterprise Promotion Centres, members can expect more activities and opportunities for networking in the coming year. Last year, WMRAS organised the Waste Management Symposium and 3 seminars on the concept of zero waste and sustainable construction. Many of you were at the Symposium to hear about the prospects for the industry from NEA and regional representatives, and latest technological updates from industry experts from the 3

4 International Solid Waste Association, ISWA. This year, we are taking a slightly different approach to the Prospects Symposium. We are working with NEA to brief the industry on some key changes to the regulatory landscape for General Waste Collectors, and have also invited other agencies to share on financial and assistance schemes that will help boost the competitiveness of companies and improve companies prospects. Inaugural WasteMET Asia 9 I am sure by now you would also have heard of, or signed up for, our most major event since WMRAS was first formed, an event that will be taking place this year from 1-4 July. WMRAS will be co-organising with NEA a new exhibition cum conference on waste management and environmental technologies, WasteMET Asia. The event has received strong support from both the local and the international industry. I will leave it to our Guest of Honour and Advisor to tell you more about the event but would just like to give a word of advice to those of you who are still considering whether or not to be part of the exhibition - more than 60% of the exhibition floor space has already been booked so do make your reservations quickly! The technical Conference will be co-organised with the International Solid Waste Association, and will be focusing on the challenges and opportunities presented by globalisation, examining cities at different stages of development, and exploring innovative emerging waste management technologies that will be part of cities of the future. 10 I would like to take this opportunity to thank ISWA, strategic partner to WasteMET Asia and co-organiser of the WasteMET Asia Technical conference. I 4

5 would also like to show my appreciation for WasteMET Asia s founding sponsors: Keppel Integrated Engineering, Dowa Eco-Systems, Veolia Environmental Services; and other Gold and Silver Sponsors. Thank you for your support of WasteMET Asia. Mission Trip 9 A few mission trips have also been planned for this year to enable members to explore opportunities beyond Singapore and to keep abreast latest technologies and practices. In early March, we are working with NEA to organise a mission trip to Kitakyushu Japan to learn more about the recycling industry there and for companies to explore potential entry into the Japanese market, or for technology collaboration opportunities. Kitakyushu is known for its advanced pollution control and recycling technology, and presents much learning and business opportunity. 10 We will also be exploring other trips: to Munich, Germany to attend the IFAT ENTSORGA trade fair in May this year, which is one of the most major international trade shows for the environmental sector. We will keep members updated on these mission trips. Capability Building 11 In the coming months, WMRAS will be rolling out training courses to build up the capability of our industry. First and foremost are the training courses leading to Workforce Skills Qualification for the drivers and crew of our waste collectors. From the first batch of workers that have undergone the training programme, the feedback has been positive and very encouraging. We are working very closely with the Workforce Development Agency to develop the key competencies necessary for the 5

6 waste management industry, starting from the operations level, to the supervisory level, and finally the management. By systematically developing the capabilities of all levels of our industry, we are confident that this will lead to a more progressive and technically competent industry that will stand out for our advanced practices and competitiveness in the region. 12 On the cards are also training courses in safety, such as bizsafe and Business Continuity Management BCM), which are the backbone of every business. I urge you to look out for these training opportunities and sign up yourselves and your staff for them, to keep abreast with regulatory requirements and best industry practices. Conclusion 13 In conclusion, the year ahead promises to be an exciting and busy one for the Association. Much can be done when we come together as one, and I look forward to knowing more of you and meeting you at our events. Thank you for your support and I trust that you will enjoy tonight s dinner and the entertainment that has been lined up for you. On behalf of my Executive Committee member, I wish you a Happy and Prosperous Dragon Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai! 6

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