Central Narcotics Bureau
Feature | CNB

Career Learning and Purpose at CNB

The Central Narcotics Bureau fights the war on drugs using three key strategies – Enforcement, Education and Engagement. Officers Muhammad Sadikin and Irene Choi share how these pivotal functions enable officers to experience an exciting and meaningful job like no other.

Left: ASP Muhammad Sadikin Bin Muhamad Jailani is a Staff Officer of Ops Planning and Policy, Operations Division, at the Central Narcotics Bureau. His key responsibilities include the formulation, implementation and review of operational doctrines and policies across divisions.

Right: SSSgt Irene Choi is an Investigation Officer with CNB's Investigation Division, currently on sponsored full-time degree studies under the MHA Degree Scholarship. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese at NTU.

Central Narcotics Bureau's vision   is for a drug-free Singapore.

The officers who strive to safeguard a society free from the scourge of drugs fully understand the importance of their work. We interviewed ASP Muhammad Sadikin (Staff Officer, Ops Planning and Policy, Operations Division), and SSSgt Irene Choi (Investigation Officer, Investigation Division), who delved deep into the multifaceted nature of their roles as Narcotics Officers at CNB.

One-of-a-kind Career

"Before I joined CNB, like most Singaporeans, I didn't think much on the need to adopt a strong stance against drugs," Sadikin said.

"This changed when I went on the ground. I saw first-hand how drug offences are detected, and how drugs can destroy lives and families."

Sadikin had applied to join CNB during his final year of studies at NTU, and this kick-started a unique career trajectory backed by a meaningful purpose. Since joining CNB, he has been posted to various roles, such as Officer-in-Charge of Supervision in CNB's in their rehabilitation, before moving to his current position as Staff Officer in the Operations Planning & Policy Unit. Here, he formulates, implements, and reviews operational doctrines and policies across divisions.

Aside from his core duties, Sadikin had also undertaken other responsibilities that equipped him with useful experience and practical skills. He was involved with CNB's Emergency Management Committee, which coordinated CNB's response to Covid-19, and the "Dadah Itu Haram" campaign, a ground-up, community-nuanced initiative that aims to promote anti-drug awareness within the Malay-Muslim community.

Sadikin shared how CNB officers can look forward to postings to the different CNB divisions throughout their career, and how there are various structured courses and training that officers will undergo to prepare them to take on specific roles. Sadikin was also emplaced on the Home Team Leaders-in-Development Programme, which is a programme that develops officers to take on leadership positions in the Home Team by exposing them to departmental and ministry-wide stretch assignments and development initiatives.

Muhamad Jailani

Muhamad Jailani

He elaborated further on how the 3E's in CNB's mission – Enforce, Educate, Engage – epitomises his work experience, making it a diverse and fulfilling one. "A common misconception the public has is that CNB officers only arrest drug offenders. But besides our enforcement work, CNB officers also educate and engage to keep Singapore safe from drugs."

"CNB conducts preventive drug education talks and road shows to students and the general public, and we engage our local and international partners to further the drug-free cause."

Yet, the Bureau is also mindful of the importance of rest and work-life balance for all officers. "I can personally attest to the fact that in CNB, we work hard and play hard too. You will always have the opportunity to rest and recharge, as well as enjoy your personal time," he shared.

Caring and supportive teammates are instrumental to making this happen. "Having kind colleagues who are willing to cover your work when you are away or busy with other matters, as well as understanding and supportive supervisors, help to make work-life balance a reality," he said. In his off-hours, Sadikin unwinds with his family and friends over meals and movies or goes on cycling trips. "I knew that a career with CNB would provide a one-of-a-kind experience," said Sadikin. He has certainly been proven right.

"Join CNB if you are looking for a dynamic and exciting career where you will play an active role in keeping Singapore drug-free." Sadikin

SSSgt Irene Choi

SSSgt Irene Choi

One-of-a-kind Development

Irene joined CNB as a Direct-Entry Sergeant. She was recently awarded the MHA Full-time Degree Scholarship as she demonstrated outstanding performance in her work, potential and keenness to pursue further studies.

Such an opportunity highlights CNB's commitment to the holistic development of its officers. Irene is presently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese at NTU.

Taking a course under the discipline of humanities allows me to apply critical thinking and analytical skills from various angles to understand how the world and society works. These are valuable skillsets integral to my work as a Narcotics Officer," she explained.

"Every day, we deal with people from various backgrounds and in different situations, so the ability to think from different perspectives and critically analyse the facts before coming to a decision is of utmost importance."

Like Sadikin, she has chalked up a myriad of experiences at CNB, including carrying out anti-drug operations as an enforcement officer and conducting in-depth investigations for court cases as an investigation officer.

Another facet of her role which she finds particularly fulfilling is the supervision of ex-drug abusers to steer them to lead a drug-free lifestyle. Under the drug supervision regime, supervisees are observed on their good attendance for routine urine tests, and counsellors and job coaches also provide feedback on supervisees who are performing well at work. "It truly takes a community to support ex-drug offenders in their road to rehabilitation," she shared.

Irene is committed to spreading anti-drug awareness to the younger generation. "It is important for us to equip youths with the right knowledge so that they will not make any ill-informed decisions," she emphasised. "In addition, by engaging them, they can also become anti-drug advocates in their community by spreading the anti-drug message and looking out for their friends."

And like Sadikin, she is grateful that CNB respects her personal time. In her free time, Irene participates in Chinese Orchestra, playing the dizi. Her supervisors and colleagues have been nothing but supportive, approving time-off for performances and rehearsalsas needed. "There is strong camaraderie between CNB officers, and as a team, we look out for each other," she said.

With the support of her teammates and CNB, she can have itall – work, play and a career with purpose. She summed up her CNB career in a single word: "Meaningful."

"I applied to join this organisation because I knew a desk-bound job was not for me. Also, I wanted to do something meaningful." Irene

One-of-a-kind Mission

Irene's pursuit of further studies and Sadikin's diverse job rotations represent just some of CNB's many career offerings. When they were asked what kept them passionate about the job, both interviewees emphasised the meaningful mission over any number of awards or developmental opportunities.

"I applied to join this organisation because I knew a desk-bound job was not for me," shared Irene. "Also, I wanted to do something meaningful."

Sadikin concurred: "Join CNB if you are looking for a dynamic and exciting career where you will play an active role in keeping Singapore drug-free."