The Future of Security Engagement Session Organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs – Opening Address by Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development

Published: 03 February 2016

Looking to the Future


Thank you everyone for being here today and for being part of this SGfuture session.


2.     You have just come from the Future of Us exhibition, which has been curated to provoke our thoughts and not dictate our future.  I am sure you have a lot of thoughts and ideas about what the future holds, even though you lead very busy lives. Last year, our SG50 year, we paused and reflected about the past and how we got here.  The SGfuture conversations are about how we can make Singapore stronger in the future.  This is ever critical for a state that is a country, a city, an island.


A Secure and Resilient Nation


3.     For today's session, we are here to discuss "What can we do to keep Singapore safe, secure and strong?". At the heart of this is about how we build a secure and resilient nation, so that we and our children will be safe.


4.     Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world. But we must not take our security and harmony for granted.  It was not easy for our pioneers to build up a multi-racial, multi-religious society, and deal with the security challenges confronting Singapore. In the early days, we fought hard for peace.    


5.     We have to keep working hard to ensure Singapore continues to be a safe and secure home for ourselves and our children. Our safety and security are dependent on our institutions, our law enforcement agencies, our laws but also many other things - like the strength of our social fabric, our multi-racialism, sense of neighbourliness, volunteerism.  These are the many ingredients that have led to the safety and security that we see today.


6.     And yet around us, security threats are ever present, and continue to evolve. Terrorism and senseless violence have taken lives and destroyed the peace in cities around the world. Bangkok, Paris and Jakarta have suffered recent attacks. Suspected ISIS militants were arrested in Malaysia. The threat is pressing closer to home, and Singapore is not immune. A similar attack in Singapore could be a matter of when, even as we do our best to prevent this from happening here.


7.     Beyond terrorism, new threats have emerged.  Threat from cybercrimes and drugs are getting more complex and dangerous.  These are things that we need to think about.


8.     I was at a similar session last Sunday, and I was struck by a very thoughtful comment by a fulltime National Serviceman who said that it is easy to take things for granted until our peace and security and our way of life are threatened or taken away from us by incidents or circumstances.  


Everyone can Play a Part


9.     Ultimately, protecting the safety and security of Singaporeans is not just about placing a policeman on every street to guard lives and properties. It is also about the roles we can play and the actions we can take, to safeguard our own neighbourhoods and way of life.  Today's session is about us dealing with the threats collectively, and about what you and I can do. 




10.     Lastly, let me say that today's conversation is only the beginning. I hope many of you will take this session as the first step towards shaping our future together.  Through this series of conversations, we hope to hear from you about your ideas, what you would like to do – in your neighbourhood, workplace, in your community. Let us know and we will support and partner you. Feel free to join our Home Team Volunteers and groups. We look forward to your ideas today, and how we can partner you to translate that into your vision of a safe and secure Singapore.


11.     I wish you all a fruitful session today. Thank you.





Managing Security Threats