SINGAPORE - A voluntary accreditation scheme to prepare religious organisations to handle a crisis - such as a terrorist attack on their premises or in the vicinity - will be rolled out by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), said its minister, Ms Grace Fu, in Parliament on Friday (March 8).
Called SGSecure Community Network Crisis Preparedness Accreditation Scheme, it will be launched in the second half of the year.
This requires religious organisations to use a toolkit to assess their own emergency preparedness in areas such as crisis communication, their security infrastructure and the emergency-preparedness of their members.
Under the scheme, members of religious organisations can also undergo training to pick up emergency response skills such as improvised first aid and the use of automated external defibrillators.
The scheme also requires the faith groups to conduct regular crisis-response exercises.
Ms Fu said: "We urge religious organisations to come on board, as we work hand in hand to ensure Singapore remains safe and united in the face of future crises."
The scheme is a follow-up to MCCY's ongoing work, in partnership with Home Team agencies, to help more than 800 religious and community leaders from more than 300 religious organisations build their capacity in crisis response through counter-terrorism seminars and exercises, among other things.
MCCY noted that the terrorism threat to Singapore remains high, and that the Republic continues to face the threat of individuals becoming radicalised by terrorist propaganda. It cited the Singapore Terrorism Threat Assessment Report, released in January, which found that only one in five Singaporeans feels that an attack is imminent, even though many recognise that Singapore is a target of terror attacks.
MCCY said it is thus vital that crisis response plans are developed now and not when an incident occurs, especially since religious organisations, which are soft targets for terrorist acts, have been targeted in the region. The ministry added that some religious organisations also provide social services, such as childcare, and conduct community events within their premises.