Singapore appoints new defence, army chiefs

Singapore appoints new defence, army chiefs

Major-General Melvyn Ong will become Chief of Defence Force while Brigadier-General Goh Si Hou will be Chief of Army.

Composite image of Melvyn Ong and Goh Si Hou
Composite image of Melvyn Ong (left) and Goh Si Hou. (Photos: MINDEF)

SINGAPORE: Major-General (MG) Melvyn Ong has been appointed the Chief of Defence Force and Brigadier-General (BG) Goh Si Hou the Chief of Army, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) announced on Monday (Mar 12).

MG Ong will take over from Lieutenant-General (LG) Perry Lim on Mar 23 while BG Goh will take over from MG Ong on Mar 21. LG Lim will be retiring.

MG Ong, 43, assumed the post of army chief in August 2015 - also from fellow guardsman LG Lim. MG Ong was previously Chief Guards Officer and in 2011 led the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) earthquake relief efforts in New Zealand.

He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) (Military) in 2012. From 2013 to 2014, through a dual-career scheme, MG Ong served as Deputy CEO of the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). In addition to setting up the agency, he crafted policies and worked to raise the quality, accessibility and affordability of early childhood services.

As army chief, MG Ong "strengthened the Army’s operational readiness to address the threat of transnational terrorism", said MINDEF. "MG Ong seeded initiatives to improve soldier performance and the National Service (NS) experience ... MG Ong also oversaw plans to revamp the SAFTI training area into 'SAFTI City'."

"In addition, MG Ong bolstered the Army’s regional and international standing as a valuable defence partner through various bilateral exercises with foreign armies."

BG Goh, 40, now succeeds MG Ong as the new Chief of Army. He joined the SAF in 1997 and was awarded the President’s Scholarship as well as the SAF Overseas Scholarship. In his earlier appointments in MINDEF, BG Goh led the implementation of new military career schemes to enhance recruitment and retention for the SAF. 

He also headed a project office supporting the Committee to Strengthen National Service, which led to initiatives such as the formation of the SAF Volunteer Corps. BG Goh served previously as Commanding Officer, 20th Battalion Singapore Artillery and Commander 3rd Division Artillery. 


LG Lim, 46, held the Chief of Defence Force post since August 2015 after the retirement of current Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng.

He was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) (Military) in 2016, and the same year was conferred the Most Exalted Order of Paduka Keberanian Laila Terbilang (First Class) (Brunei) and the Bintang Kartika Eka Paksi Utama (Indonesia).

"Under LG Lim's leadership, the SAF maintained a high level of operational readiness and conducted round-the-clock security operations to defend Singapore and safeguard our peace and sovereignty," said MINDEF. "The Ministry of Defence expresses its deep appreciation to LG Perry Lim for his sterling leadership and outstanding contributions to the development of the SAF."

The ministry added that LG Lim also led efforts to strengthen the SAF’s counter-terrorism capabilities and inter-agency cooperation for homeland security operations. He placed emphasis on enhancing the SAF’s NS training system and NS experience; and contributed to strengthening defence relations and defence cooperation. 

According to the Defence Ministry’s website, LG Lim was seconded to the Ministry of Education from 2006 to 2008 to serve as Director of Higher Education. There he was responsible for formulating policies, planning and funding for the local university and technical education sectors, and regulating the private education sector.

He now sits on the boards of Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering, Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), and JTC Corp.

Source: CNA/jo