Ministers urge Singaporeans to raise the alarm early

TWO ministers yesterday called on Singaporeans to play their part and alert the authorities to potentially radicalised individuals early, in the wake of recent arrests.

"All of us must play our part. If you know or suspect anyone who is becoming radicalised, please notify the authorities early," Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said.

"You would be helping to save that person from harming himself and others," he added.

Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said the recent discovery of youth seduced by radical ideology was "a reminder for us - parents, religious teachers, friends and community at large - to remain vigilant".

"We must do our utmost to reach out to young people who are in search of answers to problems confronting their generation," he added.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that M. Arifil Azim Putra Norja'i, 19, was detained last month for planning to join ISIS, failing which he intended to carry out violent attacks here. Another radicalised student, 17, was arrested this month for further investigations.

The MHA said that while Arifil had recruited several persons to help carry out his plans, they did not alert the authorities about him. Fortunately, another person who knew him noted that he had changed and reported him to the authorities.

Mr Edwin Tong, deputy chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law, said the best defence against radicalisation of the young was in family members and friends "being close to them, knowing what they are reading online, and observing any change of behaviour".

The MHA said family members, colleagues and others have a role to play in protecting fellow Singaporeans from radicalisation.

This should be done early, so that they can get guidance, supervision and religious instruction. It said anyone who knows or suspects that a person is radicalised should call the ISD Counter-Terrorism Centre on 1800-2626-473 (1800-2626-ISD) promptly.