New scheme to help tenants in commercial buildings identify safety and security threats

Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad speaking at the Hotel Security Awards presentation ceremony on Oct 30, 2018.
Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad speaking at the Hotel Security Awards presentation ceremony on Oct 30, 2018.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - Smaller businesses are less well prepared than bigger firms in dealing with safety and security threats, and the authorities are hoping a new scheme will help to change that.

Soon, tenants in commercial buildings will be able to take simpler, bite-sized modules of a current five-step programme to help companies improve their workplace safety and health standards.

"This will enable tenants to learn more easily and experience minimal disruption to their business," said Minister of State for National Development and Manpower, Mr Zaqy Mohamad at the Hotel Security Awards presentation ceremony on Tuesday (Oct 30).

Mr Zaqy noted that while more than 8,000 companies have attained level 3 of the five-step bizSafe programme in the past year - which means they have put in place plans to handle terror threats - there are fewer small companies among them.

"The need to prepare against the terror threat may not be apparent to them," said Mr Zaqy.

In addition, the Ministry of Manpower will work with commercial landlords, such as hotels, to reach out to tenants to be more prepared, he said.

He also noted that more than 27,000 SGSecure representatives have been appointed since the launch of the SGSecure@Workplaces programme last year. The programme is an extension of the SGSecure movement to workplaces, and it aims to train and mobilise the community for terror threats. These representatives help their companies prepare for terror attacks by raising awareness of the SGSecure movement within the company, and serve as a point of contact with the authorities during emergencies.

"These represent good progress and demonstrate the seriousness of our companies in protecting the safety and security of their employees and visitors," said Mr Zaqy.

At the ceremony, held at the Furama Riverfront hotel, Mr Zaqy handed out awards to a record 96 hotels for their security and safety efforts. Another 19 individual hotel employees were lauded for displaying honesty, bravery or vigilance at work.

Some of the recipients said they look forward to the new scheme, as it would complement their hotels' security efforts.

Ms Saw Lai Eng, 48, director of operations for Park Avenue Rochester Hotels & Suites, said the new scheme would allow the hotel's management and its office tenants to work more closely together to ensure the safety of the hotel's premises.

The Park Avenue Rochester Hotels & Suites was a recipient of the Hotel Security Excellence Award, which recognises those that have attained an established security standard.

"Safety is a priority for hotels, and maybe this will help make sure that everyone will be fully aware and alert of what's going on around them," said Ms Saw.