Published: 04 October 2021
Mr Mohd Fahmi Bin Aliman: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether existing measures are sufficient to prevent terrorist attacks in public places such as supermarkets; and (b) whether the Ministry intends to implement additional measures to prevent terrorist attacks from occurring on our soil.
Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in view of a recent advisory issued by the Japanese Foreign Ministry to its citizens in Southeast Asia warning of a possible terror attack in crowded places, whether there have been additional measures put in place to counter a terror threat in places of high human traffic in Singapore.
1. The Government has strengthened our counter-terrorism capabilities and measures over the years. These efforts must be sustained even when an imminent terrorist attack against Singapore appears unlikely, as is the case now.
2. We have enhanced our intelligence capabilities to try to detect radicalised individuals and terror groups early. We have strong Police presence on the ground to deter attacks, through vehicular and high-visibility foot patrol in public places. These patrols also provide fast response when an attack happens. Further Police resources will then be activated, including Rapid Deployment Troops (RDTs), who are trained in counter-assault and will respond swiftly on motorcycles to navigate through traffic gridlock. In addition, frontline Police officers are being progressively trained and equipped with pistols, providing officers with higher firepower as compared to revolvers.
3. The Police have installed more than 90,000 police cameras in public residential estates, towns and neighbourhood centres, and areas of high footfall island-wide. We aim to have more than 200,000 cameras across Singapore by 2030. This boosts the Police’s capability in dealing with terrorist incidents.
4. Ultimately, a vigilant and prepared community is our strongest defence against terrorism. The SGSecure movement has helped to sensitise, train and mobilise the community to deal with terror threats. We will continue to work with partner agencies to enhance the preparedness of our neighbourhoods, businesses, schools, workplaces and places of worship.
5. For example, together with MOM, we have engaged business entities to raise their preparedness in dealing with security incidents. Under the enhanced bizSAFE framework, businesses are required to incorporate terrorist attack scenarios in their risk management plans. We have held seminars and produced SGSecure guides to help businesses develop and review their security measures and contingency plans. As of June 2021, more than 63,000 business entities have appointed their staff as SGSecure representatives to work with the authorities and drive SGSecure programmes in their workplace. Counter-terrorism exercises have been conducted with business entities to sharpen their operational responses. Such exercises are also conducted in retail malls involving anchor tenants such as supermarkets.
6. The Government will continue to review our security measures as the terror threat evolves, and to strengthen community vigilance, preparedness and resilience through the SGSecure movement.
7. Despite all we do, there can be no guarantee that a terror attack will not eventually succeed. Hence, we must also be prepared as a society to come together, support each other, and stay united in the aftermath of an attack, and not allow such to divide us, as is their aim.