Get SAF help only in a major rail disruption

The announcement that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) may be roped in to help manage crowds during rail disruptions ("Soldiers may help manage crowds in rail disruptions"; Aug 21) has generated some debate.

SMRT, being the rail operator, must have the basic ability to manage the crowds. It should have plans in place to get additional manpower - such as auxiliary security personnel and part-time staff - if required.

The police force, with its role in maintaining law and order, should have the necessary skill and authority in this matter, and can be called upon if required.

The SAF, being a large organisation, should have no problem carrying out the task, if called upon. It could deploy a small standby force, as having a larger standby force may compromise its training and operational readiness.

When it comes to the order of who should manage the crowds, it should be SMRT first, then the police, followed by the SAF.

While I agree that the SAF can be deployed for emergencies, it should be the last agency to be deployed, and only when the disruption is a major one that affects the daily lives of the people and security of the nation.

Also, if the SAF is deployed, the cost should be borne by SMRT.

Leong Kok Seng