Published: 20 March 2023
Mr Mark Chay: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs with regard to the concerning trend of teens being detained under the Internal Security Act (a) whether the Ministry has identified any sociological factors that these cases share in common, such as broken homes or single-parent households; and (b) if there are similarities among these cases, whether the Ministry is doing anything to proactively address the thread of radicalisation from within this subset.
Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development:
1. Sir, we have not observed such common sociological factors.
2. A common factor, however, is the youths’ exposure to online extremist content. Terrorist groups have capitalised on the developmental issues experienced by youths in their adolescence, such as their search for a sense of belonging and identity, and their proclivity for sensation-seeking and risk-taking.
3. The Internal Security Department (ISD) has been working with other government agencies and community partners on upstream counter-radicalisation outreach efforts. For example, ISD has collaborated with the Ministry of Education, schools, and institutes of higher learning on various outreach activities, such as talks, workshops, seminars, and webinars. In 2022, ISD organised close to 70 outreach events, both online and in person, for more than 2,300 participants including student leaders, educators, and other school staff. These included workshops for over 350 student counsellors and student welfare officers to educate them on the radicalisation process and factors pertinent to youths, and to help them identify tell-tale signs of radicalisation. These efforts were complemented by other outreach events such as talks and youth forums organised by community partners including the Religious Rehabilitation Group and the Inter-Agency Aftercare Group.