Parliament: Singaporeans planning to support or join ISIS will be dealt with under the law

Alleged Islamic State (IS) militants stand next to an IS flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in the south-eastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Oct 6, 2014.&
Alleged Islamic State (IS) militants stand next to an IS flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in the south-eastern town of Suruc, Sanliurfa province, on Oct 6, 2014. Singaporeans planning to join or help the Middle East terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) will face the full extent of the law, warned Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - SINGAPOREANS planning to join or help the Middle East terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) will face the full extent of the law, warned Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday.

"Any Singaporean who assists, supports, promotes or joins violent organisations like Isil would have demonstrated a dangerous tendency to support the use of violence," said Mr Teo, referring to the terrorist outfit by its other name - the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

"Such a person poses a real threat to Singapore's national security, and will be dealt with in accordance with our laws."

Singapore is a co-sponsor an anti-terrorist resolution approved by the United Nations Security Council. The resolution requires nations to adopt laws criminalising nationals that join extremist groups like Isis.

Mr Teo added that the Government's approach will be "carefully calibrated" to the specifics of each case.

Where necessary, the Internal Security Act - which grants the Government the discretion to detain people without trial - will be used to pre-empt and neutralise terrorism threats that endanger the security of the country and its citizens.

Referring to the known "handful of Singaporeans" who have left for Syria to join the fight - and are last reported to still be there - Mr Teo added: "We will continue to investigate anyone who expresses support for terrorism or an interest to pursue violence."

Security agencies here are also keeping close tabs on the situation in Syria and Iraq, working with their partners to exchange information.

Mr Teo was responding Mr Ang Wei Neng's (Jurong GRC) question on whether the Isis' recent atrocities - including the beheading of four Western hostages so far - would pose an increased security threat to Singapore.

There is currently no information of any specific threat to the country arising from these beheadings, or as a result of anti-ISIS attacks led by the US, said Mr Teo.

But he added: "However, our assessment remains that the expansion of the ISIL threat beyond Syria and Iraq has raised the threat not only to countries who are part of the US coalition but also to Singapore. As with the threat from the Al-Qaeda, even if Singapore is not itself a target, foreign interests here may be targeted."

In 2001 a Jemaah Islamiah (JI) plot to bomb embassies here - including the US embassy - was foiled.

Mr Teo also urged Singaporeans to remain united in the face of the terrorist threat, and not allow it to rip apart the social fabric of the nation. Members of the public, he added, should remain alert and report suspicious individuals, objects and activities to the authorities.

"A timely call to the authorities could well save many innocent lives. By working together, we can make Singapore a safer place for everyone," he said.

asyiqins@sph.com.sg