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Failed Terrorist Attempt Highlights Need for Singaporeans to Stay United, Stay Alert and Stay Strong
Speaking at the Revamped Toa Payoh West/Balestier Emergency Preparedness Day,

The crisis was staged, but the threat is real. Residents in Toa Payoh witnessed an anti-terror exercise on 6 August 2016, where two gunmen opened fire at participants in a crowded market. Some civilians were seen struck down during the make-believe scenario.

The pretend perpetrators were swiftly subdued by the Singapore Police Force (SPF)’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) soon after. The injured were then tended to by rescuers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Police officers restrain armed assailants during an anti-terror exercise. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

The events that happened during the Revamped Toa Payoh West/Balestier Emergency Preparedness (EP) Day served as a reminder to residents that the threat of terrorism exists, and life-saving skills, along with swift community response, will make a difference in life and death.

Just a day before, Indonesian authorities arrested six individuals who had been allegedly planning to fire a rocket from Batam to Singapore. The terrorist suspects, aged between 19 and 46, were targeting to launch the rocket towards Singapore’s Marina Bay.

Minister of State for Communications and Information, as well as Minister of State for Health Mr Chee Hong Tat called for residents to pick up EP skills during his visit to the third EP day to be held this year.

“The planned attacks bring home the point that we have to stay vigilant and be prepared for attacks that may come whether within our shores or from the region around us,” Mr Chee said.

Mr Chee (right) meeting participating members after an anti-terror exercise. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

Mr Chee added that the Singaporeans must stay united as one people, and be alert and prepared so that when such an event happens; they will be ready.

“Terrorists want to break us up and create fear and confusion in (the) society. We will have to stay united and stay cohesive so that we can remain as united people,” he added.

During the event, Mr Chee commended the residents of Toa Payoh West/Balestier constituency for their willingness to volunteer for EP skills training under the SGSecure banner. Some 1200 residents from Toa-Payoh West/Balestier constituency, took part in training sessions in June on the usage of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/Automated External Defibrillator (CPR/AED), improvised first aid and the “Run, Hide, Tell” protocol. These training sessions had been made available to volunteers since March 2016.

“These residents are good role models for all of us,” Mr Chee, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bishan Toa-Payoh Group Representation Constituency (GRC) said. Mr Chee added that some training participants had graduated to become EP Day trainers themselves.

Mr Nay Zar Kyaw Win is one such individual. Mr Nay, who is a Singapore Permanent Resident, was recently presented with the SCDF Public Spiritedness Award for coming to the aid of an injured person in November 2015.

“I bandaged an old auntie who had a fall and was bleeding badly, I would not have been able to do so if I had not received training on first aid,” he said.

The Director of a small engineering firm said this was not the first time he had reached out to render assistance to a stranger. He had come to the aid of six others before receiving the award.

Mr Nay Zar Kyaw Win (middle) started volunteering at his Residents Committee six years ago. He has also roped in his wife (left) to help out as a volunteer. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

“I have a passion to help people, but if I didn’t join the C2E (The Community Emergency and Engagement Committee), I may not know how to save lives. Even if I wanted to help, I may not know how to help. So passion is not enough, so we need to equip ourselves with life-saving skills such as CPR-AED and firefighting,” Mr Nay added.

His wife is also a volunteer at the event, and was a trainer at one of the first aid booths.

“All these training are not only for ourselves, we can help our family members, friends, relatives, and even strangers, these are very simple, but very useful for us,” Mr Nay said.

For 35-year-old software engineer Ms Shubha Shreehk, the knowledge of knowing emergency skills reassures her that she will be able to do the right thing during times of crisis.

Ms Shubha recently completed her Masters in Community leadership and Social Developments with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).

Volunteer Ms Shuba Shreehk picked up essential lifesaving skills such as CPR/AED and first aid so that she can help fellow residents in times of emergency. PHOTO: Nizam Neti

“It has been very hard, because there was a lot of assignments, plus exams and volunteering… I started volunteering with PA, and I realised that was my passion, so I wanted to pursue my passion,” she added.

“They (the volunteers) understand the threat of terrorism is ever-present, and that a community response is needed when, not if, such an attack occurs. The skills they have learn makes a difference in the aftermath of an attack for themselves, their friends and family,” Mr Chee said.

With National Day approaching, Mr Chee said the event was an affirmation of commitment and resolve to protect Singapore’s multi-racial, multi-religious way of life.

“9 August is a day where all of us celebrate our Singapore story – one where people of different races and religions live together in peace and harmony,” Mr Chee said.

 Mr Chee (fourth from right) also launched a series of lift decals showcasing the SGSecure messages of "Stay Alert," "Stay United" and "Stay Strong". PHOTO: Christopher Chen


© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 08 August 2016
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