Published: 15 May 2018
1. The Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Act [‘POSSPA’], passed in Parliament on 21 March 2018, will be brought into force on 16 May 2018.
Ongoing Efforts to Combat the Terrorism Threat
2. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been reviewing, updating and introducing legislation to ensure that our security agencies have the necessary powers to prevent and deal with the terrorism threat as effectively as possible.
3. Indeed, Singapore continues to face a clear and present terrorism threat, posed by home-grown radicalised individuals and foreign terrorists who view Singapore as a prized target.
POSSPA Enables Police to Respond Effectively to Serious Incidents such as Terrorist Attacks
4. POSSPA is part of these continuing efforts to combat terrorism. Attacks around the world have shown that terrorists are continuously evolving their methods to inflict maximum casualties and deaths. It is therefore important to equip the Police with powers to be able to respond swiftly and effectively to attacks of any scale and of varying tactics, and minimise the chances that their security operations are compromised. Under POSSPA, Police will be able to use special powers to handle serious incidents, including terrorist attacks.
5. There is a two-tier unlocking mechanism for POSSPA, and the threshold is high. In order for POSSPA to be activated, the Minister for Home Affairs must first authorise the use of the powers in the Act. Subsequently, each special power under POSSPA has to be unlocked by the Commissioner of Police only as and when he assesses that the situation requires it.