Hougang MRT security incident a timely reminder for Singaporeans

I would like to commend the Singapore Police Force and SBS Transit for their swift and comprehensive response to the security incident at Hougang MRT station on Sunday (Quick action, calm evacuation after alert over suspicious bag; April 3).

Although, thankfully, there was no terrorist threat, the incident served as a good test of how both institutions and the public would react in a real emergency, and proved that the SGSecure framework is going strong.

However, we should not get complacent. Rather, it is all the more important that Singaporeans stay vigilant and updated, so that we will remain calm when disaster strikes.

Those who can afford it should arm themselves with the necessary skills, so that they are well equipped when the need arises.

For example, they can sign up for first aid courses with the Singapore Red Cross, so that they can protect their families and those around them.

Organisations involved also need to strike a balance between timely reaction and overreaction.

While things went relatively smoothly this time, too many false alarms would inevitably lead to increased scepticism of such incidents, both among organisational staff themselves and the public.

While the Hougang MRT incident on Sunday is certainly no prank, it is nonetheless important to be aware of this fine line and tread carefully.

As the Government has repeatedly asserted, terror attacks are a matter of ''when'' and not ''if''. Thus, it is the duty of all Singaporeans to stay alert and be prepared.

Jason Chia Yi Kang