SINGAPORE - Professor Fong Kok Yong helped oversee operations in community care facilities to make sure Covid-19 patients were well cared for as the pandemic raged in Singapore.

Prof Fong, who is SingHealth's deputy group chief executive for medical and clinical services, also had a hand in assessing Covid-19 vaccines before they were rolled out for use.

For his contributions in building Singapore's public healthcare system for more than 10 years, he received the Public Administration Medal (Gold) from President Halimah Yacob.

On the sidelines of a ceremony held at Singapore Expo on Sunday (Nov 28), Prof Fong said he did not expect to get the award and was "appreciative and grateful" for the recognition.

Another person who was recognised for his contributions to Singapore was National Parks Board chairman Benny Lim Siang Hoe. Along with Public Transport Council chairman Richard Magnus, he was given the Distinguished Service Order - the second-highest award given out this year.

Mr Lim, 64, began his career as a police constable and, in 2005, was appointed permanent secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The citation that came with his award said: "Nobody before or after Mr Lim has repeated this singular trajectory."

Other key positions Mr Lim has held include helming the Ministry of National Development and Prime Minister's Office as permanent secretary.

In August 2018, he was appointed to his current role, where he continues to drive efforts to make Singapore a green city.

Mr Magnus, 76, served for 40 years in the legal service before retiring in 2008 as a senior district judge.

He was the first chairman of the Casino Regulatory Authority, his citation said. He also chaired the Committee of Inquiry that looked into the 2018 SingHealth cyber attack, and made recommendations to boost the healthcare sector's resilience against such attacks.

This year's top National Day honour was given to DBS chairman Peter Seah Lim Huat, 74, who was awarded the Order of Nila Utama (With Distinction).

Mr Seah was lauded for his contributions across diverse sectors, including healthcare, finance, aviation and education.

He was a banker for 33 years before retiring as vice-chairman and chief executive of the former Overseas Union Bank in 2001. He was also former chairman of SingHealth.

Today, he is chairman of the National Wages Council, Singapore Airlines and Lasalle College of the Arts.

The citation for his award said: "Mr Seah has brought his keen business insights and acumen to the numerous roles he has played in both the public and private sectors."

A total of 5,720 people, including public servants and community leaders, received National Day honours this year.