Singaporeans have crucial role in protecting country against terror, says PM Lee at SGSecure launch

The SGSecure app can broadcast important alerts during major emergencies. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
The crowd at the launch of SGSecure at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
It is crucial that Singaporeans play their part to protect themselves and those around them, PM Lee Hsien Loong said. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Terrorism threatens not just Singapore's physical safety, but also social harmony and people's way of life, and the Government's efforts alone are not enough to combat the threat, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday (Sept 24).

It is crucial that Singaporeans play their part to protect themselves and those around them, which is what the SGSecure national movement aims to do, he added.

Speaking at its launch at the Singapore University of Technology and Design on Saturday, Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to work together to respond with courage to terrorist threats and to acknowledge the challenges honestly even as they may be tough and uncomfortable.

Highlighting the evolving terror threat, Mr Lee noted how many attacks around the world have been carried out by self-radicalised "lone wolves" who work alone and attack everyday venues using ordinary objects like knives or trucks as weapons.

In Singapore's context, they could be attacking people at MRT stations, hawker centres and shopping malls, he said.

The SGSecure movement aims to get people to stay united in the face of such threats, and provides training on preventing and responding to attacks.

Mr Lee outlined the three roles people can play: prepared citizen, active responder and effective mobiliser.

At the most basic level, everyone should be a prepared citizen and should keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and report it to the authorities, he said. They should also be prepared to protect themselves and their family during a terror attack.

The goal is to have at least one member of every household trained in these areas, said Mr Lee, and NSmen and full-time National Servicemen from the police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) have been going door to door to encourage participation in SGSecure programmes since May.

People can also train to become active responders and help others in times of crisis, said Mr Lee. They will be taught how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use automated external defibrillators (AED) on those who have suffered cardiac arrest.

So far, the SCDF has trained more than 1,800 people in these areas, and the goal is for each constituency to have 300 trained residents, said Mr Lee.

On top of this, the SCDF will install one AED for every other HDB block by 2019.

Lastly, some, like religious leaders, grassroots activists, unionists, Home Team officers and volunteers, can also play the role of effective mobilisers, Mr Lee said. These "leaders of the SGSecure movement" will develop plans for their communities to respond in the event of a crisis, and should also help to "resolve frictions that could undermine racial or religious harmony, and mobilise the community both in peacetime and crises".

In detailing these roles, Mr Lee said no role was too small: "Whichever part you play, you will be helping to protect Singapore and our way of life."

On Saturday, Mr Lee also unveiled the SGSecure app, which he said can help Singaporeans remain vigilant.

The app can broadcast important alerts during major emergencies and people can also use it alert the police of incidents or request for help, said Mr Lee saying he had already downloaded it and urging people to do so as well.

He said: "At the heart of all these efforts is our determination to protect our way of life."

Generations of Singaporeans have worked hard for the racial and religious harmony the country enjoys, and this should not be taken for granted, he added.

He said effort had to be made continually to preserve such harmony, citing as an example the Government's recent review of the elected presidency to ensure minorities hold the post of president from time to time.

Singaporeans too can do their part by learning to give and take, reaching out to one another and speaking out against racial and religious intolerance, he said.

"I urge each of us to step up to do our part," he said. "If something happens - when it happens - we must stand together, we will endure, and show that SGSecure counts for something."

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