DPM Teo: Singapore's racial harmony helps 'us prevent, respond to, and recover from' terror attacks

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has urged Singaporeans to strengthen their resolve in maintaining peace and racial harmony here.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has urged Singaporeans to strengthen their resolve in maintaining peace and racial harmony here.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - In the wake of recent terror attacks in Europe, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has urged Singaporeans to strengthen their resolve in maintaining peace and racial harmony here.

Speaking on the sidelines of community sports day event organised by the People's Association on Saturday (July 23), he said: "If by having good racial harmony, it helps us to prevent, it helps us to respond, and it helps us to recover if ever an attack were to take place."

He also highlighted the recent arrests in neighbouring countries, including that of 14 Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants by Malaysian authorities. They were caught with a 1kg improvised explosive device.

Mr Teo said these "reflect the level of activity that is going on in the countries around us".

Singapore has also had to deal with people who encourage extremism and violence.

"We should stop these people, we should take them in and make sure that we guide them along the right path if we do find such people in Singapore," he said.

Singaporeans who notice someone "who may be going down the wrong way", should bring the matter up to friends, religious figures or security personnel.

"We can guide him on the right path, save him, save his family, save the community from harm," said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.

"No country in the world today is immune from terrorism. That's why we have to prepare for all three phases: To prevent as much as possible, to respond if there's an attack, and most importantly, to maintain social harmony and unity should an attack happen."

About 500 residents were at Pasir Ris Elias Community Club on Saturday for the first community sports day held by the People's Association to promote racial harmony. The event was held across 76 community clubs.

They took part in games with a kampong theme - such as sepak tekraw and skipping, flavoured with a ethnic twist. For example, the teams of three had to be made up of difference races, and participants had to skip 20 times while wearing a traditional Indian sarong called a lungi.

Games, Mr Teo said, are a "wonderful way to bring people together". " It is a common language which everybody can enjoy. So games can bring people together from all races, bring them together to bond with each other, do something together," he said.

Game participant Raymond Miranda, 31, a Filipino engineer living in Pasir Ris, said: "English isn't my first language but I felt I was able to communicate through the games. My team mate Gopa even taught us how to wear the lungi before the competition."