DPM Teo: Security agencies can't be everywhere so Singaporeans need to be alert

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean speaking to security trooper 3SG Chia Yong Guan, 38, at an observation tower in Jurong Island on Feb 22, 2016.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean speaking to security trooper 3SG Chia Yong Guan, 38, at an observation tower in Jurong Island on Feb 22, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung (right) and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (third from right) interacting with security troopers 3SG Chia Yong Guan (second from right), 38, and LCP Sasindran Nelamalgan, 30during their visit to a
Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung (right) and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (third from right) interacting with security troopers 3SG Chia Yong Guan (second from right), 38, and LCP Sasindran Nelamalgan, 30during their visit to an observation tower in Jurong Island on Feb 22, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean speaking to security trooper 3SG Chia Yong Guan, 38, at an observation tower in Jurong Island on Feb 22, 2016.
Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean speaking to security trooper 3SG Chia Yong Guan, 38, at an observation tower in Jurong Island on Feb 22, 2016. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Security trooper 3SG Chia Yong Guan, 38, looking out from an observation tower in Jurong Island on Feb 22, 2016.
Security trooper 3SG Chia Yong Guan, 38, looking out from an observation tower in Jurong Island on Feb 22, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - While Singapore's security agencies continue to watch over the Republic's key installations, they cannot be everywhere to protect the "soft targets" that terrorists are increasingly eyeing like schools and shopping centres, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

So Singaporeans must also be more "security conscious" and be more aware of their surroundings and look out for suspicious objects or persons.

They can then know how to respond and even take some "important actions to contain and mitigate the consequences of an attack so that the attacker cannot carry out all the things that he wanted to do and reduce the damage on the casualties".

"These are important critical moments, sometimes even before the security forces can arrive," said DPM Teo, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security.

He was speaking to reporters after visiting citizen soldiers who were deployed to patrol Jurong Island on Monday. He was accompanied by Senior Minister of State for Defence Ong Ye Kung, army chief Melvyn Ong and senior army officers.

The Operationally-Ready national servicemen (NSmen), who are from the 811th Singapore Infantry Battalion (811 SIR), are among the troops who have been keeping watch at the Republic's key installations round the clock since 2001. Other installations include Changi Airport and Sembawang Wharves.

DPM Teo's comments come on the back of fresh warnings about possible terror plots that may be launched in South-east Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

On Sunday, the Australian Government issued a new travel advisory warning its citizens that terrorist attacks may take place in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Earlier on Monday, the Saudi Arabian embassy in Manila notified the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs that the Saudi government was alerted to plans by the "Iranian Revolutionary Guards" to hijack or bomb a Saudi Arabian airplane heading to and from Manila.

DPM Teo said Singapore, which is already operating at a heightened alert level, is monitoring the situation and takes these intelligence reports very seriously.

Meanwhile, Singapore's security agencies are working together over the next few months to work on spreading the message to the ground to make Singaporeans aware of what they can do if they are caught in an attack.

"The realisation that such a threat exists is already quite widespread in Singapore. But we want people to understand the nature of the threat and how it can affect them even in their daily lives, when they least expect it. So, in a sense, we want people to expect the unexpected and be prepared for it."