04 January 2003
Minister for Home Affairs' Comments on Why the White Paper
In response to queries on why the Government is tabling the White Paper on the Jemaah Islamiyah arrests and the threat of terrorism now, the Minister for Home Affairs Mr Wong Kan Seng said at a dance drama organised by the Bishan Community Club Indian Activity Executive Committee on Sat 4 January 2003,
"The Government believes that Singaporeans should be better informed about the terrorist threat posed by the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and other groups in the region and how these linked up with the Al-Qaeda.
"The Government decided to release the White Paper which gives Singaporeans a detailed and comprehensive account of the threat posed by JI as well as the threat of terrorism in Southeast Asia. It is intended to create greater common understanding among our people across the communities about the terrorist threat, and how it can undermine the inter-ethnic peace and harmony that we have built up over the years. More importantly, it is intended to help explore practical, even if difficult, directions to take in order to address this threat as a society and as a people.
"The fight against terrorism and extremism involves not only the Government but also all Singaporeans. To be able to do so, Singaporeans must know what they are up against. The White Paper informs Singaporeans of the challenges ahead and the steps we have to take as a nation to confront and neutralise this threat.
"The White Paper is divided into five main sections, apart from its introduction and conclusion. Section I surveys the various self-proclaimed Islamic terroritst groups in Southeast Asia and describes the web of relationships that link them together. Section II delves specifically into JI and its ties with Al-Qaeda and other radical militant groups in the region. Section III describes the development of JI in Singapore, its main terrorist plans here, and the motivations of its members. Section IV outlines the report and recommendations of the Internal Security Act Advisory Board that met to consider the case of the JI detainees. Section V looks ahead to consider how Singapore may protect its people from the threat of terrorism."
Minister Wong also told the media that the White Paper would be on sale to the public from 10 January.
Ministry of Home Affairs
4 January 2003