SGSecure in the Neighbourhood – A Community of Prepared Citizens
Partners from the Home Team and People’s Association
Thank you for taking time to join us. On behalf of Kolam Ayer, I would also like to thank the organisers for your hard work in putting together today’s programme.
The community must join in the fight against terror
2 The terror threat is very real – we often come across news reports on terrorist attacks in different parts of the world. In recent months, countries like Indonesia, Egypt and United Kingdom have experienced terrorist attacks, resulting in the loss of lives. The British authorities are investigating their third terrorist attack which happened last Saturday in under three months.
3 According to the Singapore Terrorism Threat Assessment Report issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the terror threat to Singapore remains the highest in recent years. Singapore is a key target for terrorists. We know this as we have uncovered plots against us and we have also been cited as a target in terrorist publications and videos. While the government monitors these developments closely and puts in the necessary security measures, it is not enough for the government to fight this threat alone. All of us, you and I, have an important role to play in keeping Singapore safe and secure.
What the community can do
4 To deal with the threat of terrorism, the first step is to stay alert and report any suspicious sightings or activities to the authorities. About two months ago, a suspected terrorist attack was stopped in London because someone who was concerned about the suspect’s behaviour had informed the police. This is the kind of alert and vigilance that we need within our Singapore population. The UK police reported that information from the public had helped to stop several terrorist attacks over the years. One of the greatest concerns facing Singapore is an attack from radicalised individuals living here. We must stay alert to signs of radicalisation in individuals and report them to the authorities. So if we see anybody whose behaviour has changed, becoming very radical in their outlook and very extreme in their views, don’t hesitate. Just keep the authorities informed and they will investigate whether that person is a threat or not. All of us can be the eyes and ears for the community.
5 The Ministry of Communications and Information, my Ministry has incorporated SGSecure messages on the need to be vigilant and prepared into television programmes to reach out to more people, especially our elderly. These include the dialect programmes, “Eat Already” (Jiak Ba Buay in Hokkien) and “Happy Can Already” (Hua Hee Tio Ho in Hokkien) on Channel 8, and the Channel 5 programme, “Steady Lah!”
6 I would also like to encourage all of you to download and use the SGSecure app. I have already tried the app – in fact, it is very easy to use, and allows you to report suspicious activities to the police almost immediately. You can also receive alerts from the police in times of emergencies. That is equally important. Some of our seniors here may not be so familiar with the use of apps. So I hope those of us who are more digitally savvy can share with them what this app is all about.
7 The second step is, of course, to stay united. For all our efforts to be vigilant, the high level of threat that we face means that it could be a matter of time before an attack happens here. When an attack happens, we have to stand together and not spread rumours or untruths to cause distrust amongst our community. This will be playing straight into the hands of the terrorists’ goals. Their objective is to sow hatred and fear among the various communities here in Singapore.
8 What we can do is to rally together as a community. In the aftermath of the UK terrorist attacks, residents there stepped forward to help one another. Taxi drivers offered free taxi rides in the chaos following the bomb blast. Some residents offered rooms for those needing a place of refuge. Some kind people donated blood to help the injured. Such acts of kindness are crucial to help the community recover in the face of adversity. We cannot just leave to the agencies to do it. We have a part to play. In our day-to-day life in Singapore, we have also come across inspiring stories of how some Singaporeans have made use of social media, for example, to rally Singaporeans to provide relief or support for the needy. We must continue to foster this community spirit and offer our kindness to those in need in times of crisis. And here in Kolam Ayer, our SGSecure group has been reaching out house to house, to keep them informed of what it is that they can do. So I hope you can continue to build up your readiness to make sure that when it happens, we are ready to face this crisis together.
9 The third thing is that we must not let a terrorist attack in Singapore destroy our lives. We must be prepared, stay strong and be quick to bounce back. Today is a good start to prepare ourselves for times of emergencies.
10 We can familiarise ourselves with the “Run, Hide, Tell“ advisory which teaches us how to seek help after a terrorist attack has just happened. As you can see in the exercise earlier this morning, one of the residents used her mobile phone to send an SMS immediately to the police. In gist, it means we must run and hide from the attackers and then get help from the police. The “Press, Tie, Tell“ advisory that you will learn from the exhibition booths is also very useful, as it teaches us how to stop bleeding on an injured person. There were two demonstrations this morning – one on how to deal with bleeding, and the other on how to deal with an injury and heart attack. These are important skills we must equip ourselves and be familiarised with.
11 I hope everyone will check out the activity booths today and share the knowledge you have gained with your family and neighbours. If we stay alert, stay united and stay strong, we will be able to stand up to the threat of terror, and overcome the damage of a terrorist attack when it happens here in Singapore.
12 Thank you very much.