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MHA COS 2024: United and Secure – Safeguarding Singapore’s Future

Key takeaways from the speech by Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam.
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GRAPHIC: Amber Qua

At the Committee of Supply (COS) Debate 2024 in Parliament on 29 February, Minister K Shanmugam touched on three priorities for the Home Team: 
(1) The scam situation in Singapore;
(2) Drug abuse amongst youths, especially cannabis; and
(3) The resourcing of the Home Team. 

He also updated on the plans to introduce the Maintenance of Racial Harmony Bill.

The Scam Situation in Singapore 
We face two major challenges in combatting scams. Firstly, with the speed and convenience of online transactions, scammers can reach out to potential victims easily, move stolen funds quickly and hide behind the anonymity of the internet. Secondly, most scammers operate from overseas, beyond our jurisdiction. 

MHA will introduce new laws next month to punish the abuse of local SIM cards for scams. The Government will continue to explore other measures, to protect the public from scams.

Drug Abuse Amongst Youths
The Inter-Ministry Committee (IMC) on Drug Prevention for Youths was established in 2023 to deal with the youth drug problem. The Committee seeks to develop a whole-of-government response to the youth drug problem. 

Minister touched on three of the IMC’s planned initiatives. Firstly, from this year, every third Friday of May will be designated as ‘Drug Victims Remembrance Day’, so that we remember the victims of drug abuse. The Government, schools and institutes of higher learning will be organising various activities on Remembrance Day. 

Secondly, schools will cover preventive drug education (PDE) in their school curricula, by extending it to other subjects, such as General Paper. 

Third, we will enhance PDE for full-time national servicemen and better equip NS commanders to identify and support drug abusers and those at risk. This will better sustain the drug-free message beyond schools.

Resourcing of the Home Team
The demands on the Home Team are growing sharply, and we face a shortage of manpower. To deal with this, MHA uses technology to boost productivity, leverage retired officers, community partners and volunteers, and focus on the welfare of our officers. We will also try and increase the ministry’s manpower allocation.

Maintenance of Racial Harmony
MHA is preparing to introduce the Maintenance of Racial Harmony Bill later this year, to supplement existing legislations as part of our efforts to maintain racial and religious harmony.

The Bill will introduce softer reparative measures to help the aggrieved community take a more reconciliatory view towards an offender and strengthen mutual understanding between races.

MHA Committee of Supply (COS) Debate 2024
Read the speech delivered by Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam. For more info on MHA COS 2024, visit the MHA COS 2024 webpage.

Written by

Tham Yee Lin


29 February 2024

Drug Abuse
Keeping Singapore Drug Free
Maintaining Law & Order
Preventive Drug Education
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