Hougang MRT incident a timely reminder

An SBS Transit staff member is seen behind shutters after Hougang MRT Station was closed temporarily due to the security incident on April 2, 2017.
An SBS Transit staff member is seen behind shutters after Hougang MRT Station was closed temporarily due to the security incident on April 2, 2017. ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

I would like to commend the Singapore Police Force and SBS Transit for their swift and comprehensive response to the security incident at Hougang MRT on Sunday (2 April) afternoon.

Although thankfully there was no terror threat, this served as a good test of how both institutions and the public would react in a real emergency, and proved that the SGSecure framework is going strong.

However, we should not get complacent. Rather, it is all the more important that Singaporeans stay vigilant and updated, so that we would remain calm when if (or when) disaster strikes.

For those who can afford it, we can arm ourselves with the necessary skills, so that we are better equipped when the need arises.

For example, one can sign up for first aid courses with the Singapore Red Cross, so that we can protect our families and those around us.

Organisations involved also need to strike a balance between timely reaction and over-reaction.

While things went relatively smoothly this time, too many false alarms would inevitably lead to increased scepticism of such incidents, both among organisational staff themselves as well as the general public.

While the Hougang MRT incident certainly is no prank, it is nonetheless important to be aware of this fine line and tread carefully.

As the Government has repeatedly asserted, terror attacks are matter of "when" and not "if". Thus, it is the duty of all Singaporeans to stay alert and be prepared.

Jason Chia Yi Kang