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An insight into Singapore’s preparedness in counter-terrorism measures

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By: Yoong Siew Wah

Especially after the murderous terrorist attack on Istanbul in Turkey recently, it has been daily exercising the nimble mind of our so-called intrepid leaders, especially the unusually alert PM and the pushy Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen almost to the point of insanity on means and ways of softening the public to an imminent terrorist attack of the scale of Paris and Istanbul. That Singapore may be targeted for terrorist may not be a myth anymore. It’s a question of when and not if. That Singapore may be attracted as a terrorist target may also be attributable to the blustering accounts by Ministers, especially Dr. Ng Eng Hen of the so-called formidable forces at their command to counter any terrorist attack.

The latest gimmick is the establishment of the so-called Army Deployment Force (ADF) of battalion size with a rapid response of ten minutes to a terrorist attack. All this is very well for local consumption but what do you think of the terrorist reaction to such a bluster? Would it not be a challenge to them to target Singapore for all its bluster even if there was no such intention initially? Who would suffer in such an attack? Not the ministers or the armed forces.There is a Chinese saying: If you are careful you can drive a ten-thousand year ship (小心駛得萬年船). There is nothing to prevent Dr. Ng Eng Hen from continuing his blustering way, but it would be his peril.

It is therefore more prudent to assuage the public mind to our counter-terrorism measures in a less pushy manner so as not to incur the animosity of the terrorists. So for all these talks were about counter-terrorism measures, has it not occurred to the high and mighty PAP leaders to lay out measures to deal with the aftermath of any terrorist attack? Are there no lessons to be learnt from the terrorist attacks in Paris and Istanbul? Conditions may well be so chaotic that it is difficult to distinguish terrorists from victims and it will be a time when it will require monumental effort to calm the public. Notwithstanding the so-called fool-proof immigration security system, if the terrorists are determined to smuggle themselves into Singapore, events in Paris and Istanbul had proved this can be achieved by the terrorists.They are suicide bombers and their whole aim is to smuggle themselves into Singapore to carry out their mission. They do not expect to leave Singapore alive.

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Finally, has it ever occurred to our high-falutin PAP wallahs that the ordinary humble Singaporeans may be able to contribute some very good ideas to our counter-terrorism measures or the aftermath? Only that they have not been asked probably because they are not considered to have the requisite expertise.

May God bless Singapore?


Republished with permission from Mr Yoong’s blog ‘Singapore Recalcitrant’.

The erudite Mr Yoong was the Director of Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971 to 1974. He was Director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in the 1960s, and had a distinguished career in the Singapore Special Branch in the 1950s.

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