28 Jul 2017


Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I am happy to join you today, to commemorate Cleaning Express’ twentieth-anniversary celebrations and the alliance that will be forged between the company and Atalian Global Services. It is heartening to see Cleaning Express, or CEPL, look towards the horizon and take this bold step in establishing a presence on the global stage.

2. It is vital that companies are well-prepared for the future economy. The Singapore government has placed great emphasis on this and it is a key reason behind why we set up the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE) – to develop economic strategies for the next decade that will help the nation progress, despite significant structural shifts around the world. In this year’s budget speech, initiatives were rolled out to help enterprises digitalise, innovate and scale up globally. The government also detailed the Global Innovation Alliance, which goes two ways: Firstly, creating opportunities for business-owners in Singaporean companies to connect with overseas markets; and secondly, to link up innovative foreign companies with Singapore partners to leverage on one another’s strengths and expand in the region.

3. It is a holistic approach, and one that I am sure, will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking towards better opportunities and greater expansion. The Singapore Economic Development Board or EDB, has a number of initiatives in place to encourage such efforts. I urge all SMEs to take benefit from such initiatives and maximise their potential, just as CEPL has done.

4. Atalian Global Services has a presence in over 30 countries and saw a turnover of 1.86 billion Euros in 2016. A partnership with Atalian is indeed a significant milestone for CEPL and it is testament to the good work and impeccable track record that the company has earned over the years.

5. CEPL did not achieve this record overnight. Sheer fortitude, acute business sense, care for employees and a vision towards the future are some key principles that have guided CEPL thus far, under the guidance of its founder, Yusof Shahul Hamid. Yusof came from a humble background and rose above his circumstances through sheer grit and determination, despite challenging circumstances. Today, his company boasts a staff strength of close to a thousand employees and has won multiple awards, including the Enterprise 50 award in 2016.

6. Coming from dire circumstances and succeeding in life often gives people a different perspective and moves them to aid those in need of assistance. Which is why, it is heartening to see CEPL donate $10,000 as part of its corporate social responsibility, towards SINDA, a self-help group for the Indian community in Singapore.

7. SINDA is driven by its mission to achieve progress for every individual, regardless of their circumstances. It is not an easy effort and it is one that requires the various entities in the community – the corporates, grassroots organisation, schools, community groups and other stakeholders – to work in tandem to make this change possible. As a community, we must work together to ensure that no one is left behind. SINDA’s role is to be the catalyst in this mission but the uplifting of the community is the work of the community as a whole, by supporting and encouraging each other to do better. This donation by CEPL today will go a long way in achieving this mission.

8. On this occasion of CEPL’s twentieth anniversary, I am happy that Yusof’s children, who have taken over the management of the company, have chosen to keep the culture of giving alive. The company will provide staff with a one-off ex-gratia payment, in recognition of their hard work, dedicated service and positive contributions.

9. CEPL has witnessed commendable growth over the years and I am confident that it will continue to grow from strength to strength, especially with its alliance with Atalian Global Services. My best wishes to both companies for a long-lasting and fruitful partnership, one that results in prosperous economic growth.

10. On that note, my best wishes to everyone and I hope you enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Thank you.