New scheme to prepare commercial building tenants for security threats

The scheme will allow tenants to experience minimal disruption to their business, said Mr Zaqy Mohamad.
The scheme will allow tenants to experience minimal disruption to their business, said Mr Zaqy Mohamad.

Smaller businesses are less well prepared than bigger firms in dealing with safety and security threats, and the authorities hope 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 Zaqy Mohamad at the Hotel Security Awards presentation ceremony yesterday.

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," he said.

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

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 hotel employees were lauded for displaying honesty, bravery or vigilance at work.

Some of the recipients said they looked 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 scheme will 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 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2018, with the headline 'New scheme to prepare commercial building tenants for security threats'. Print Edition | Subscribe