Home Team and community need to work together to combat threats: DPM Teo

SINGAPORE - The global threat of terrorism and growing cyber crimes underscore the importance of maintaining high security and for the Home Team to work together.

But that is still not a guarantee that an attack would never happen, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Saturday. And that is why community resilience needs to be strengthened.

DPM Teo, who is also Minister for Home Affairs and Coordinating Minister for National Security said: "As we have seen in Paris, Sydney, and recently in Bangkok, and other places around the world, attacks can still occur even where there is already a high level of security alert. Thus... we also need to strengthen community resilience so that if a terrorist incident were to occur in Singapore, we will remain united and strong, and not let the terrorists tear apart our social harmony that we have painstakingly built over the decades."

Last week, an explosion at popular Erawan Shrine in Bangkok left dozens injured and 20 dead including one Singaporean.

On the domestic front, the minister said demand for Home Team services will continue to rise, with more travellers arriving here and an aging population needing more emergency services. But despite the demand, there will be fewer young people joining the workforce as a whole. "There will be fewer people which the Home Team can call upon. The Home Team therefore needs to work together in a more integrated way, and use technology as a force multiplier, so that we can deliver better services to Singaporeans more efficiently and effectively."

DPM Teo was speaking at a scholarship award ceremony by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The 12 Home Affairs Uniformed Services Scholarships were given to three women and nine men.

Aloysius Zai, 20, was one of the recipients. The full-time national serviceman will study sociology at the National University of Singapore next year.

Mr Zai, who hopes to be a police officer, said: "To have a direct impact in combating crime will allow me to serve society, because crime has the potential to affect everyone.

"From young, I have been exposed to stories that my father shared as he was a police officer. His job sounded exciting and every day was different."