Parliamentary Speeches

Addendum to the President’s Address

Published: 08 May 2018

Mr K Shanmugam

Minister for Home Affairs


1. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will strive to deliver our mission of ensuring Singapore’s safety and security, by transforming the Home Team for greater operational readiness and effectiveness, and strengthening our engagement with the community and international partners.


Safety and Security Challenges


2. The security environment remains complex.


3. The terrorism threat to Singapore continues to be at a high level. We will continue to strengthen our counter-terrorism capabilities.


4. Criminal syndicates exploit technology and the Internet, and operate across national boundaries. Online scams and online trafficking of drugs have become more prevalent. Our society has also been impacted by the worsening global drug situation, with new psychoactive substances emerging, and some countries adopting a more liberal approach towards drugs.


5. We need to guard against attempts by foreign parties to exploit fault lines in our society and influence developments in Singapore to advance their own agenda. It is for Singaporeans to decide on our domestic politics and policies. We must defend our sovereign right to make choices for ourselves.


6. Our racial and religious harmony has been a pillar of our peace, prosperity and progress. We must defend this vigorously, reject unequivocally teachings and practices that would divide us, and instead take active steps to grow our common space.


7. The Home Team will have to deal with these security challenges even as we grapple with manpower constraints.


Home Team Transformation


8. We will take bold and transformative steps to develop stronger capabilities, leverage emerging technology for operations, deepen the proficiencies of our officers, and strengthen laws where necessary to enhance the Home Team’s effectiveness.


9. The Home Team’s joint capabilities will span the areas of operations, investigation, and intelligence. The new Home Team Operations Centre will be a nerve centre which will employ cutting-edge technologies and harness data, to ensure a swift and coordinated Home Team response to incidents. We will further integrate our island-wide network of cameras and sensors to enhance sense-making, and enable us to identify and deal effectively with security threats and criminal activities.


10. We will make a strong push in digital transformation and robotics. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will continue to integrate robotics – such as the use of exo-skeletons – into its operations, to improve the safety and capabilities of our fire-fighters. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will employ more biometric solutions to tighten border security, but will also facilitate more efficient immigration clearance through the use of automated clearance for cars. The Police investigation process will be digitalised, while the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will trial the use of automation for urine testing. The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) will use business intelligence tools to automate routine work, and video analytics to enhance supervision of inmates. These initiatives will free up our officers’ time, allowing them to perform more complex and higher value-added tasks, and improve their productivity and effectiveness.


11. We will continue to invest heavily in our people. Home Team officers will have more training opportunities to keep abreast of digital transformation and the changing operational environment. Officers will be cross-trained to reap synergies and optimise resources. We will build up the capacity and capabilities of our Emergency Medical Services to deliver better emergency response outcomes while meeting the growing demand for such services.


12. We will enhance our service delivery to the public with more convenient e-services and platforms. ICA has developed ‘MyICA’, a web portal which allows citizens to access a full range of e-services with a single login. The Police Hub is a convenient one-stop portal for the public to lodge reports, provide feedback, and check on transactions.


13. To enable our law enforcement agencies to protect Singaporeans and deal with security threats more effectively, we have introduced new legislation, such as the Infrastructure Protection Act and the Public Order and Security (Special Powers) Act. We will complete a fundamental review of the Penal Code, where a significant focus has been placed on enhancing protection for vulnerable persons.


Strengthening Community and International Partnerships


14. We will build on our strong community networks and high levels of public trust, to leverage the collective strength of the community to deal with threats to Singapore’s safety and security.


15. Our security response to the terrorism threat must be complemented by community vigilance and resilience. SGSecure will continue to be one of our priorities in this area. Since the launch of SGSecure, we have made good progress in raising public awareness about the threat of terrorism. We will next focus on enhancing the community’s preparedness to respond to such threats. At workplaces, we will develop advisories to enhance the capabilities of premise owners and small businesses in contingency planning and protective security. In schools, we will train our students in first aid and emergency drills. We will equip grassroots leaders and volunteers with emergency response skills, such as enabling them to perform psychological first aid to mitigate post-attack trauma. We will continue to partner the community to prevent radical ideologies from taking root in Singapore.


16. We will also continue to promote our Community First Responders (CFRs) programme. As part of the Save-A-Life initiative, SCDF will install Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in all HDB estates by 2019, and pilot them in private condominiums. SCDF will collaborate with the Ministry of Health to train more people in CPR and the use of AEDs. SCDF will expand the CFR scheme to include response to other incidents such as rubbish fires.


17. We will continue to partner the community in the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. SPS will conduct more programmes for inmates and their families. The Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) will launch several initiatives to enhance the employability of ex-offenders, such as training to equip inmates with vocational skills in prevailing demand by potential employers.


18. We will work with our international network of partners, including multilateral organisations such as the INTERPOL, ASEAN and the United Nations, to deal with transnational crimes, drug trafficking and terrorism.


19. With the support of Singaporeans, the Home Team will make Singapore a safe and secure home.


Managing Security Threats
Civil Defence and Emergency Preparedness