Published: 23 May 2015
1. The National Community Engagement Programme (CEP) Dialogue was held on Saturday, 23 May 2015. Some 550 grassroots, community and student leaders from the various CEP clusters attended the Dialogue to be updated on and to discuss issues related to social cohesion and communal harmony.
2. Opening the Dialogue, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs Mr Teo Chee Hean said that racial and religious harmony that our forefathers have painstakingly built has provided a firm foundation for Singapore's social stability and economic progress. As the external and domestic environment evolves, there are two important areas that we should continue to build upon. First, building and sustaining trust between communities, and second, strengthening social resilience and our ability to respond "the day after".
3. DPM Teo said that despite our best efforts, we cannot guarantee that a terrorist attack will never take place in Singapore. The main objective of an attack is to divide society and strike fear. How we respond should an attack happen is therefore vital. He cited the example of Sydney where Australians responded positively to the hashtag #illridewithyou and refused to let the actions of one person divide society. Similarly, should an attack happen here, we must pull together as one people. Being able to bounce back quickly also requires us to strengthen community response capability in the various CEP clusters. In this regard, he said that there will be national-level and community-level exercises to test our community response plans.
4. Ambassador Mohammad Alami Musa, from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, also spoke at the dialogue. He urged participants to consider how to make Singapore an enduring multi-religious society, one that demands much more than just tolerance but an affirmation of religious and cultural diversity.
5. Dialogue participants had an open sharing of views with DPM Teo, Minister for Manpower Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Mr Lawrence Wong and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Mr Masagos Zulkifli in concurrent Town Hall sessions. The discussions centred on actions and initiatives to ensure communal harmony in Singapore and how to bring CEP to the next level. The Ministers exhorted participants to build cohesive communities, deep levels of trust between communities and a strong sense of national identity.
6. A factsheet on the CEP is at Annex.
 The Community Engagement Programme is coordinated by the CEP Secretariat at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), and comprises five clusters led by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), and the People's Association (PA).
BACKGROUND TO THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMME (CEP)
1. The Community Engagement Programme (CEP) was launched in 2006, with the aim to bring together people from different communities to strengthen inter-communal bonds, and to put in place response plans to help deal with potential communal tension after an incident.
2. There are 5 clusters under the CEP as follows:
|Religious and community-based
organisations and cultural groups
|Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth|
|Media and academics||Ministry of Communications and Information|
|Educational institutions||Ministry of Education|
|Businesses and unions||Ministry of Manpower|
|Grassroots organisations||People's Association|
3. The CEP is a long-term effort to ensure that we continue to maintain social cohesion and communal harmony, should a crisis happen in Singapore. The CEP brings together Singaporeans from different communities, to strengthen inter-communal bonds, and to put in place community response plans to deal with potential communal tensions after an incident, be it a terrorist attack or a civil emergency. The CEP's aim is to build networks of trust that are resilient, providing the foundation for Singaporeans to stay united in a crisis.