28 May 2016

The Revamped Emergency Preparedness Day, Chong Pang - Opening Remarks by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, and Grassroots Advisor for Nee Soon GRC

​​Chief Executive Director of the People's Association,

Second Permanent Secretary (Home Affairs),

Grassroots leaders,

 

Introduction

 

1.            Thank you for joining us here this morning.

 

2.            What is this all about? You saw something happening there. It is what we call SG Secure (Singapore Secure). Why are we having this? We saw what happened in Paris and what happened in Jakarta. I have been saying for a few months now that an attack in Singapore is likely. It is not a question of if, but a question of when.


Protecting Singapore and Fellow Singaporeans

 

3.            We have seen terror attacks around the region. We have seen security agencies arresting people in the neighbouring countries. We have seized plans to attack Singapore. We ourselves have arrested people who want to attack us and assassinate our leaders.

 

4.            If an attack takes place, how do we react the day after? Do we point fingers at each other in our multi-racial, multi-religious society? Or are we able to come together as a society and move on? How we respond to any attack is equally important.

 

5.            We cannot let the terrorists or anyone divide us as a society. Therefore, we need to be prepared for an attack, both in terms of how you respond when an attack takes place and be prepared after the attack. Both are extremely important. We need the skills on what to do, this is emergency preparedness. We need the skills in terms of community cohesiveness.

 

6.            This event, the pilot revamped EP Day, would not have been possible without the People's Association. It is not possible or sensible for the Ministry of Home Affairs, or any Ministry, to replicate the ground resources, the people, the grassroots networks, that the People's Association has. So it is important to have the support of the People's Association. I am glad that we have gotten complete and total support, in particular from the People's Association Emergency Preparedness and the Chief Executive Director. His presence here shows that. Thank you, Hak Seng.
 

7.            I also thank my Constituency Director for her extremely hard work. Together with the Grassroots leaders, they went house to house trying to register people. It is not easy because people have many other things to do. However, they have managed to register a decent number of people and also mobilised people to get residents to come and participate in the event. The focus is to bring the appreciation of Emergency Preparedness to the people.
 

8.            Next, I also thank my own Ministry staff who in a very short frame of time, have put together a very impressive pilot project and have managed to work out a modus operandi with the People's Association.
 

9.            My own Grassroots Leaders have worked tirelessly, led by Oliver. We take today's event as a reference point because we have got to roll this out across all the constituencies in partnership with the People's Association. We have to be very clear what the branding is. It cannot be a Singapore Government event, an MHA event, or a People's Association event. It has to have a new brand – SG Secure.
 

10.         SG Secure should be the clear branding. In fact, when Pei Ling, my Constituency Director, came to me about the banner, I said I would prefer if the only thing that is there is SG Secure. If we had SG Secure, with all the partner agencies below, then we have a new branding. We are going out to attract people and we are telling them that this is something different. It is not just emergency preparedness. We want you to be actively involved.
 

11.         In order to get people to be actively involved, we have got to bring across to them that this is going to have an impact on you. You could be in a mall when there is an attack. You could be in that coffeeshop when there is an attack. You have to run, you have to hide, and then you have to tell. It can be anyone, so we need strong support from the community. So while MHA can provide some of the ideas and resources, PA is the backbone of the entire event across Singapore. The branding is SG Secure and we come together. This time round, we start with our Grassroots leaders but we have got to go beyond, to the community. The success or failure of this programme depends not on exercises or demonstrations, but how many residents have been trained.
 

12.         After today and tomorrow's pilot programmes, we will do an after-action review to look at what worked and what didn't work, how we can do it better and how we can reach out to the ground even better.

 A Community of Prepared Citizens

 

13.         We want our people to learn CPR-AED, basic first aid, and basic fire-fighting skills. We have to bring this across to everybody and the idea that terrorism is here to stay.

 

14.         Chong Pang's revamped EP Day will run for a week. There will be hands-on training and exhibitions for all our residents until 3 June. We need to go out there and try to get as many people to take part as possible.
 

15.         A few weeks ago, I was at the SCDF Workplan Seminar. There was a young lady from Ang Mo Kio who actually performed AED CPR on someone in distress. She made use of the AEDs that SCDF has put at HDB blocks and she saved a life.
 

16.         I spoke with a taxi driver who had gone for AED training. He went to help someone in distress and also saved a life.
 

17.         Regardless of how old or young we are, we can help to save a life. But beyond that, we need to build up the strength in our community to come together, both during an event or incident and reacting as a community the day after.

 Conclusion

 

18.         Let me conclude by thanking our key partner, the People's Association. I am glad that Hak Seng, the Chief Executive Director, has given his strong support. With that, we can go across to all the other constituencies. The success is measured by how many people we can reach out to. We need to bring that message across to every other constituency.

 

19.         I also thank the tireless team from Home Affairs. It is challenging to plan and execute this within the few weeks that you had. I am thankful for your support, SCDF, Police, and MHA, including the team which takes care of SG Secure.
 

20.         Together with PA and the other partner agencies, let's work to build this for the future. I thank every single one of our grassroots leaders. They came for a full-dress rehearsal two days ago. They came and set aside their time for the training.
 

21.         Let's move forward on this SG Secure movement, a national movement.
 

22.         Thank you.

Last Updated on 30 May 2016
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