Terror-linked auxiliary cops ‘disappointed Singaporeans’: President Tony Tan

The two Singaporean auxiliary police officers were fellow Aetos officers at Woodlands Checkpoint.
The two Singaporean auxiliary police officers were fellow Aetos officers at Woodlands Checkpoint.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The two Singaporean auxiliary police officers arrested for terror- related offences have undermined the work of officers in the security agencies in keeping Singapore safe, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said yesterday.

"Singapore has been safe and harmonious over the years, thanks to the hard work of the officers and men in our security agencies," said the President in a Facebook post. "These two radicalised individuals have therefore disappointed many Singaporeans."

Dr Tan's comments yesterday came three days after the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the arrest of the two men last month under the Internal Security Act for their links to terrorism. It is believed to be the first such case involving uniformed personnel.

Muhammad Khairul Mohamed, 24, has since been detained for planning to travel to Syria to fight against the Syrian government, while Mohamad Rizal Wahid, 36, has been placed on a Restriction Order for supporting his plan. The men were fellow Aetos officers at Woodlands Checkpoint.

News of their arrests comes one week after the ministry disclosed it had detained 22-year-old Syaikhah Izzah Zahrah Al Ansari, the first Singaporean woman to be held under the ISA for radicalism.

The infant care assistant had planned to travel to Syria with her child to become a "martyr's widow", fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

These arrests "are yet another reminder of the vulnerability of Singapore to extremism", Dr Tan said.

He noted that a report on Singapore being named by ISIS supporters as part of its East Asia wilayah, or state, will embolden terrorists to target the country.

 
 

Stressing the importance of protecting and preserving racial and religious harmony in Singapore, he said: "We must not let fear and suspicion drive a wedge between our communities."

He added: "The terrible attacks committed by terrorists in the guise of their religion are not acts advocated by Islam."

Most Muslims are peace-loving, he said, and called on people to "strengthen inter-community ties to inoculate ourselves against the virus of terrorism".

Meanwhile, Reverend Dominic Yeo, general superintendent of The Assemblies of God of Singapore, a group of 45 churches, said in a statement yesterday: "We stand together in solidarity with the Muslim community in Singapore."

He added: "Our nation's best security is our unity. This is not a time for irresponsible comments and we must not condone any form of Islamophobia."

Toh Yong Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'Terror-linked auxiliary cops 'disappointed S'poreans': President'. Print Edition | Subscribe