Singapore's detention laws 'sufficient to foil attacks'

Mr K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs & Law, speaking at an inter-religious symposium at Marina Mandarin Hotel on Jan 19, 2016.
Mr K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs & Law, speaking at an inter-religious symposium at Marina Mandarin Hotel on Jan 19, 2016.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

Singapore's security laws are sufficient to detain extremists before they can execute any violent acts, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has said, adding, however, that the Government has continued to ponder the need for added preventive measures.

Speaking to reporters yesterday on the sidelines of a conference in Kuala Lumpur on deradicalising terrorists, he said "process-related" aspects of security measures were being looked at.

"We've been thinking about this for a long time," Mr Shanmugam said when asked about the possibility of Singapore adding more preventive anti-terror laws, as Malaysia has done and Indonesia is planning to do.

STAYING AHEAD OF TERRORISTS

We've been thinking about this for a long time. We thankfully have the Internal Security Act and the Internal Security Act allows us to move well ahead of the terrorists. As it stands now, the detention laws are sufficient.

HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER K. SHANMUGAM, on the possibility of Singapore adding more preventive anti-terror laws.

"We thankfully have the Internal Security Act and the Internal Security Act allows us to move well ahead of the terrorists," he said.

"As it stands now, the detention laws are sufficient."

Malaysia last year added several preventive laws to give it wider powers to cripple terrorist activities but the new legislation, especially the National Security Council Act, has been criticised as moves by the current administration to stifle dissent and override checks and balances in the government.

Indonesia is also looking to enact new preventive laws this year after the deadly Jan 14 attacks in Jakarta, as it is not a crime as yet to support or join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group. ISIS has taken responsibility for the Jakarta attacks and is threatening more in the region.

The minister also said there was no "specific and existing threat" that he could point to, but cautioned that there are "terrorists moving around the region who have in the past targeted Singapore".

"There is both the developments internationally and the movement to radicalise people, which has had an impact on our people. Some of them have become radicalised, we have had to deal with it," he said.

Shannon Teoh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore's detention laws 'sufficient to foil attacks''. Print Edition | Subscribe