Press Releases

Additional Comments from MHA on Detention of a Radicalised Singaporean under the Internal Security Act

Published: 12 June 2017

Qn: Was Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari (Izzah) planning any attack in Singapore?


The Government takes a stern view against anyone who supports, promotes, undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence, regardless of how they rationalise such violence ideologically, or where the violence takes place.


Izzah was not planning any attack in Singapore. However, she intended to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group ISIS, which has threatened attacks against Singapore.  She was also prepared to take up arms in Syria on behalf of ISIS. 



Qn: Will there be any action taken against those who withhold information?


The Government takes a serious view of the withholding of information that is pertinent to the safety and security of Singapore and Singaporeans.  This is especially so if the failure to report leads to violent activities that would kill or cause harm to others. The authorities are looking into taking action against the family member who destroyed important evidence relating to Izzah's plans to join ISIS.



Qn: What happens when a report is made on a radicalised individual?


When a report is made, the authorities will carry out checks to ascertain the veracity of the report, including speaking to the informer, if possible. The identity of the informer is also protected.


In situations where no indications of radicalisation are detected, then no further action will be taken on the person reported on, or the informer. Where there is basis to suspect that the person may be radicalised, then he or she will be called up for interview. How the investigation develops depends largely on the findings and the authorities' assessment of the threat posed by the individual.


If the individual is found to be in the nascent stages of radicalisation, he/she may be referred for counselling and other mitigating measures without the need for arrest.  We will, however, not hesitate to use the ISA to deal with individuals who are radicalised and have engaged in terrorist conduct.  This includes any person who supports, promotes, undertakes or makes preparations to undertake armed violence, regardless of how he rationalises such violence ideologically, or where the violence takes place.


Early reporting enables the individual, who is at risk of becoming radicalised, to be given proper guidance and counselling.  He could then be steered away from the path of radicalisation and may not need to be severely dealt with under the law. 


Qn: Are there concerns on potential distrust of the Malay-Muslim community in Singapore?

There has been an increase in the number of radicalised individuals detected in recent years but the number of cases remains small. The vast majority of the Muslim community in Singapore are moderate and mainstream.  This is also the first case of radicalisation involving someone in the preschool sector.  There are many excellent infant/childcare workers – many of them are Muslim – who have meticulously cared for the children in their charge.  We should not let Izzah's case take anything away from the good work by our Muslim staff in the preschool sector. 



Qn: Did Izzah influence the children at the PCF Sparkletots, her colleagues or family members?

There is no evidence that Izzah tried to influence the children in the centre. There is also no indication that Izzah has tried to radicalise her colleagues. The family did not support Izzah's actions, nor did they share the same radical ideas.


Law and order
Managing Security Threats