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New Facility at ICA Ports Command Launched as Part of Sustained Plan to Protect Singapore's Borders
Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam opened a three-storey Protective, Analytical & Assessment Facility

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Minister for Home Affairs and  Law Mr K Shanmugam opening the three-storey Protective, Analytical & Assessment Facility (PAAF) at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority's Pasir Panjang Scanning Station. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

Speaking at the official opening ceremony of a new three-storey Protective, Analytical & Assessment Facility (PAAF) located at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority's (ICA) Pasir Panjang Scanning Station, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam said today (15 July 2016) that the world now faces a persistent and evolving threat of terrorism that is increasingly executed in unconventional ways.

Just hours before the opening of the PAAF, international media reported on a terror attack on Nice in France, where a grenade-filled truck plowed into a crowd, killing many.

Reiterating what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at the recent Nuclear Security Summit held in Washington DC, Minister Shanmugam told reporters that the likelihood of a terror attack of a different kind, using nuclear or chemical materials bought from the black market, “cannot be ruled out” and that an attack of this nature in the region “may only be a question of time”.

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“Our borders are our first line, and most important line, of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. We must not compromise on this and will continue to advance our capabilities,” said Minister Shanmugam, while thanking the ICA and the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Office of the Chief Science and Technology Officer (OCSTO) for their foresight in planning and building critical analytical infrastructure such as the PAAF and two other border laboratories in Singapore. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

“We have to plan for the time when the terrorists can have access to weapons of a different nature, nuclear, biological, radiological… It’s not far-fetched. It’s entirely plausible,” said Minister Shanmugam. “This facility allows us to analyse and assess what kind of materials are coming in. It’s a capability of a different order. So, we are thinking ahead and preparing ourselves.”

The ICA’s new, state-of-the-art PAAF will enhance the authorities’ ability to detect and identify any chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials or agents quickly, or at real-time, to allow for immediate and appropriate mitigation at our borders without impeding the flow of other goods and commuter traffic.

Hazardous biological and radioactive materials that cannot be easily uncovered through simple visual inspection can hence be promptly picked up by the authorities and stopped from entering the country.

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Minister Shanmugam was brought on a tour by ICA officers round the Scientific Demonstration Suite (SDS) and Rad-Nuc Analysis Laboratory in the PAAF. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

The facility is the latest in a series of serious and sustained efforts to further boost and tighten security at Singapore's checkpoints and strengthen the country’s capabilities for defence against terror attacks.

It comprises a suite of advanced border laboratories equipped with a range of radiological and nuclear analytical capabilities, and an assessment centre that is large enough to hold two 45-foot trucks for inspection and to conduct technological tests involving larger equipment.

“Our borders are our first line, and most important line, of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. We must not compromise on this and will continue to advance our capabilities,” said Minister Shanmugam, while thanking the ICA and the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Office of the Chief Science and Technology Officer (OCSTO) for their foresight in planning and building critical analytical infrastructure such as the PAAF and two other border laboratories in Singapore.

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PHOTO: Christopher Chen

The first border laboratory, known as the Protective & Analytical Facility, was set up at Tuas Checkpoint in 2009. This was followed by the Woodlands Analytical Laboratory at Woodlands Checkpoint in 2010.

These border laboratories provide a critical layer of defence against undesirable threats and protect the environmental health and safety of both Singapore and the country’s residents.

“ICA’s top-most priority is security, while at the same time, ensuring that goods are cleared; people are cleared; fast and effectively,” said Minister Shanmugam.

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


  1. by Mabelle Yeo
  2. 15 July 2016
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