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MHA COS 2020: A Strong Home Team for a Safe and Secure Home
What it takes to fulfil the Home Team’s mission of keeping Singapore safe and secure.

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GRAPHIC: Home Team News

At the Committee of Supply (COS) Debate in Parliament on 2 March 2020, Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam emphasised the Home Team’s efforts in making Singapore a safe and secure home and stressed how good governance must be in place for the Home Team to fulfil its mission. Here are four highlights from his speech.

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GRAPHIC: Home Team News

1. We’ve strengthened protection for the vulnerable.
Amendments were made to our legislation in 2019 to strengthen protection for those who are more vulnerable and less capable of protecting themselves. The Penal Code was amended to cover more groups of vulnerable people, and penalties for offences such as rape, hurt and wrongful confinement against intimate partners or those in close relationships have been doubled. 

The Protection from Harassment Act was also amended to enhance its robustness and deterrence. Victims of serious abuse in intimate relationships can seek protection orders against their partners while punishments for harassment and breaches of protection orders have been doubled. Processes have also been simplified so victims can benefit from protection orders more quickly. 

2. We’ve continued to address the threat of religion-based conflict.
Singapore’s peace, progress and prosperity are underpinned by social harmony and the way we have structured our society. To strengthen the Government’s ability to safeguard against and respond more effectively to threats to our religious harmony, amendments were introduced to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act in 2019. 

The amendments also introduced levers that protect our local religious organisations from foreigners that may channel their own agenda into Singapore, or impose their values to sow conflict among Singaporeans. 

3. Public trust in the Home Team remains high.
The 2019 Gallup Global Law and Order Report, which measures citizen’s sense of security and their experience with law enforcement agencies, ranked Singapore first for the sixth consecutive year. 

In a recent Public Perception Survey, 91% of respondents agreed that the Home Team is fulfilling its mission of keeping Singapore safe and secure, and 90% trust the Home Team to do their duties objectively and with integrity. 

The Home Team is also trusted to manage incidents effectively. An example is how Home Team officers are deployed in the national fight against COVID-19.

For the Home Team to continue to remain effective, it’s pivotal to recruit and retain capable officers of good character. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also worked with its partners to encourage continuous learning and upskilling of Home Team officers, from recruitment to retirement. 

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PHOTOS: Home Team News

The retirement age for Home Team officers under the Home Affairs Uniformed Services Scheme will be gradually increased from the current age of 55 to 58 by 2030. In doing so, we will be able to tap on the experiences of our more mature officers and enhance professional transition efforts to secure meaningful second careers for them. 

4. Public order is crucial to the Home Team's mission to safeguard Singapore.
Singapore’s safety and security isn’t just the responsibility of our law enforcement agencies. We have seen how protests and riots in major cities around the world have disrupted the lives of ordinary citizens, and Singapore isn’t immune to threats to public order. 

Our approach to public order is based on a basic principle – the actions of a disaffected few shouldn’t be allowed to threaten the right of the majority to live in a stable, peaceful society. That’s why Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance approach to illegal demonstrations and protests, through legislation such as the Public Order Act.


MHA COS 2020
Read the COS 2020 speech delivered by Minister K Shanmugam. For more on MHA COS 2020, visit the MHA COS 2020 webpage.
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 02 March 2020
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