Paris attacks: Singapore steps up security, raises alert level

People warming up under protective thermal blankets as they walk on a street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, on Nov 14, 2015.
People warming up under protective thermal blankets as they walk on a street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, on Nov 14, 2015. PHOTO: REUTER

SINGAPORE - Singapore has stepped up security after at least 120 people were killed in gun and bomb attacks in Paris.

"In Singapore, today, we have raised our alert level. We have stepped up security measures, border checks and vigilance," said Mr K. Shanmugam, the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, in a statement released on Saturday (Nov 14) after the overnight attacks in Paris.

"We encourage everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities or persons to the authorities," he said, adding: "Together, everyone plays a part to keep Singapore safe and secure."

These attacks show that no country is immune, even when there is a state of heightened security, Mr Shanmugam said.

 
 
 

Singapore must continue to build up social resilience because such attacks aim to strike fear in the community, he said.

"This will ensure that if an incident were to occur here, we will stand together, recover quickly and emerge stronger and more united," he added.

He also expressed his sympathy for the victims, saying: "Our deepest sympathies to the victims of the Paris attacks, and their families and loved ones. In this difficult time, our thoughts are with the French people. We pray for their recovery and that they will emerge stronger as a community."

Mr Shanmugam also spoke at a Singapore Civil Defence Force parade during the Home Team Festival at the Singapore Expo on Saturday, where he said: “To bring war onto the streets of cities in such a complete dastardly way shows that terrorist attacks can take place anywhere."

Earlier, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post: "It is not the first time innocent civilians have been massacred like this in this troubled world. But each time it happens we again feel appalled and outraged beyond words, for an attack like this is in fact an attack on our shared humanity.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and to the people and government of Paris and France."

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, as quoted by Agence France-Presse, said “this is a terrible assault on a beautiful city with warm, cheerful, hospitable people”. 

“We must not let the terrorists divide us or destroy our spirit. I know the French spirit will prevail,” said Mr Balakrishnan

He will be in Paris later this month for the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-21), to be held in Le Bourget, France from Nov 30 to Dec 11.

Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also wrote in a Facebook post that Singapore's RSAF personnel in France were well, but that they were taking extra precautions.

"All our RSAF personnel in France are well, but they are taking extra precautions," he wrote. 

"We have also stepped up vigilance at our local camps, especially at our naval and air bases. Our security agencies are monitoring the situation closely. Let’s all be vigilant and keep each other safe," he added.

Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in a Facebook post that people of different faiths and cultures have to deepen their bonds and develop a spirit of open-mindedness in all societies in order to fight terrorism.