Religious and community leaders in Tampines take part in crisis preparedness exercise

Religious and community leaders from Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles taking part in an Inject-Based Exercise on March 18, 2016.
Religious and community leaders from Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles taking part in an Inject-Based Exercise on March 18, 2016.ST PHOTO: NG KENG GENE

SINGAPORE - Religious and community leaders in Tampines took part in a crisis preparedness exercise this evening to test how they would react in the event of a terror attack.

Hosted by Living Hope Methodist Church, the Inject-Based Exercise (IBX) allowed participants to learn how to react to fictitious scenarios that were "injected" during the course of the two-hour-long exercise.

About 60 participants from Tampines GRC's five Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles (IRCCs) came together for this exercise, where they managed a crisis involving escalating communal and religious tensions. The participating organisations included Victory Family Centre, Darul Ghufran Mosque and Tampines Chinese Temple.

During the exercise, participants were given scenarios of a terror attack in their neighbourhood, and had to develop quick responses to address ground concerns, quash rumours and conceptualise methods to preserve solidarity among its members. 

Such crisis preparedness exercises have been conducted since 2007, as part of efforts to ensure that religious and community leaders have a good grasp of their roles and responsibilities during times of crisis.

This IBX was the first to be held this year, and the 27th one held since such exercises began in 2009. All but two of the 89 IRCCs across the island have taken part in crisis preparedness exercises. The two exceptions are the newly-formed Gambas and Limbang IRCCs in new constituencies. 

Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth and an MP for Tampines GRC, was at Friday evening's exercise.

"Despite our best efforts, we cannot guarantee that a terrorist attack will never happen in Singapore. So how we respond is vital. The IRCCs play an important role in maintaining Singapore's racial and religious harmony," he said.

"In times of crisis, we must all step up to play our part in restoring calm and harmony in Singapore."