Be prepared at all levels to tackle terror crisis

As we stand with the French and mourn for victims of the Paris terror attacks, we should also draw lessons from the tragedy so that our world will be a safer place ("Paris lockdown after terror attacks"; Sunday).

We need to be well prepared and stay vigilant at every level to prevent a similar crisis from reaching our shores.

All plans to handle such a crisis should not only be well crafted, but should also be well tested by appropriate persons in realistic situations.

After all, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has indicated that Singapore is one of its potential targets for attack ("ISIS backers set sights on Singapore targets"; May 29).

Relevant stakeholders should be able to take charge of the potential crisis and ensure effective leadership and organisation of measures and resources across the public, private, people and political sectors.

Critical systems and operations should be well protected.

Their functions and processes should be kept running smoothly so that we are better positioned to handle the crisis.

In addition, as social media can spread real and perceived news faster than mainstream media, the authorities should look at how to contain negative publicity in a more proactive way.

If not resolved professionally and promptly, the negative publicity can create unnecessary concerns and hindrance to proper crisis management.

The authorities also need to provide key information and regular updates to help the people stay calm and collected.

This will also help the people to be clear about and confident in playing their part to tackle the crisis and in taking appropriate protective measures.

The crisis should not cause excessive fear such that our people cannot function properly.

The crisis should also not cause our people to be divided.

If anything, it should drive us to strengthen our relationships.

It should help us further bond with one another, regardless of creed, culture, colour, custom and country of origin.

Patrick Liew Siow Gian (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2015, with the headline 'Be prepared at all levels to tackle terror crisis'. Print Edition | Subscribe