SINGAPORE - Asean countries "must be bold and creative, and use technology and IT solutions" in tackling the threats of terrorism, cybercrime and drugs in the region, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday (Sept 13).
This comes as the terror threat hit its highest level in recent years, alongside a rise in cybercrime and cyber attacks, added Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.
To complement the partnership between regional law enforcement agencies, he said there would be an improved Aseanapol (Asean National Police) Database System, or e-ADS 2.0, for "better connectivity and exchange of information".
Mr Teo was speaking at the opening of the 37th Aseanapol Conference at Resorts World Sentosa, where Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam launched the improved database.
The three-day conference, which started on Tuesday, is a platform for Asean police forces and international law enforcement agencies to discuss transnational security and law enforcement issues.
While the e-ADS - a secure, Web-based system - was launched in 2006, its new version includes features such as an e-library, discussion forum, events calendar and announcement portal, said Commissioner of the Singapore Police Force Hoong Wee Teck.
This allows the police forces to share best practices, information and crime trends, allowing for faster connectivity, he added.
"It is this spirit of continuous innovation and partnership that will enable all Asean countries to meet the challenges head-on, and ensure the long-term safety and security of our region," added Mr Teo.
Outlining the region's common challenges, he highlighted that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been trying to establish a caliphate in South-east Asia.
With returning fighters passing through Asean countries, there is a need for close coordination to exchange intelligence and biometric information of known fighters.
"We must remain united and continue to share best practices in deradicalisation and countering violent extremism, through regular, institutionalised exchanges," he said.
He added that Singapore will continue helping to develop Asean members' capabilities in fighting cyber attacks as well, such as by supporting cybercrime investigation training programmes.
With a rise in methamphetamine production in the region, and overseas syndicates involved in trafficking drugs here, Mr Teo added that there is a need to maintain a zero-tolerance stance.
The conference brought together police chiefs from Asean countries, and was attended by delegates of the 10 Aseanapol member countries, as well as 18 other dialogue partners and observers.
In his opening address, Commissioner Hoong added that harnessing technology and innovation, including using data analytics and game theory, must be part of policing efforts.
He added that as "transnational crimes and terrorism are, by nature, borderless, no single country can fight this alone".