Looking forward: The political scene - Security

Terror threat to remain a reality

The Singapore Civil Defence Force taking part in Exercise Northstar outside the Singapore Sports Hub last year. Some 2,000 people were involved in the mock staging of a multiple terror attack. An annual anti-terror exercise led by the Home Team in No
The Singapore Civil Defence Force taking part in Exercise Northstar outside the Singapore Sports Hub last year.PHOTO: ST FILE
The Singapore Civil Defence Force taking part in Exercise Northstar outside the Singapore Sports Hub last year. Some 2,000 people were involved in the mock staging of a multiple terror attack. An annual anti-terror exercise led by the Home Team in No
An annual anti-terror exercise led by the Home Team in November last year tested the emergency preparedness and joint response of the team during a chemical attack in the heart of the Central Business District.PHOTO: ST FILE

The spectre of terrorist attacks on home soil will likely continue to loom large this year.

Singapore backed the multinational coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last year, deploying non-combat hardware and military planners to assist in the battle against extremism. The authorities here will most certainly continue backing the fight against ISIS this year.

At the same time, attacks by terror groups and "lone wolves" around the world - from Paris to Pakistan - have underscored the message that anything can happen anywhere.

Most chillingly, posts online last year identified Singapore as a possible target for attack.

None of these security realities will fade away.

 

International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research analyst Jasminder Singh told The Straits Times recently that while ISIS and its allies have not had the opportunity to conduct operations in Singapore because of the security environment, "we can't take that for granted because they will keep trying".

Beyond overseas deployments and building global consensus on the world stage, Singapore is expected to continue with regular drills involving the Home Team and the Singapore Armed Forces.

The Republic is also slated to co-organise a maritime counter-terrorism exercise involving 18 countries this year.

Also ongoing are measures launched last year to counter the propaganda that ISIS disseminates via social media.

Meanwhile, ministers here continue to stress that Singaporeans must not only be vigilant, but also stand firm against anything that would threaten the country's multiracial harmony.

The reality of terrorism, most unfortunately, is here to stay this year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 03, 2016, with the headline 'Terror threat to remain a reality'. Print Edition | Subscribe