Look Back 2019: No letting up on security as terror threat remains

In October, a former information technology engineer became the first Singaporean to be sentenced for terrorism financing.

Ahmed Hussein Abdul Kadir Sheik Uduman, 35, pleaded guilty to two charges in connection with payments he made, totalling about $1,145, to an individual who was facilitating terrorist acts overseas.

The court heard that Ahmed Hussein had become radicalised in 2013, and had reached out to a preacher living in Jamaica who supported the use of violence against non-Muslims.

This was the second case to be sentenced under the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act, which was passed in 2002 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States and the foiled Jemaah Islamiah plot in Singapore, both in 2001.

It was among several other detentions and court cases under the internal security and terrorism Acts this year.

These included three Indonesian women charged in October for collecting and/or providing money to facilitate terrorist acts.

They were investigated and issued orders of detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in September for their support of the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Indonesia-based ISIS-affiliated group Jemaah Anshorut Daulah.

In April, Singaporean Imran Kassim, 35, was charged over the provision of money to support ISIS propaganda efforts for terrorist purposes.

He had been detained under the ISA since August 2017.

 
 
 
 

In January, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that a 46-year-old former religious teacher Murad Mohd Said was placed on a Restriction Order under the ISA last December as he had "propagated beliefs promoting violence and views detrimental to the cohesion of Singapore's multi-racial and multi-religious society".

He was the first person who was once accredited as a religious teacher to be issued with an order under the ISA.

Why it matters

The Ministry of Home Affairs warned in January that the terror threat to Singapore remains high despite there being no credible or specific intelligence of an attack being planned since its last report, released in 2017.

What lies ahead

Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said in January that while three in four Singaporeans were aware of the SGSecure movement to guard against the terrorism threat, more needs to be done as the threat has not gone away.

He said at an SGSecure event at Our Tampines Hub that the likelihood of somebody getting radicalised remains, and that Singapore's response and preparedness have to be part of this "new normal".

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said at a Singapore Armed Forces overseas service medal presentation ceremony in September that the fight against terrorism is a long-term one. Even as ISIS is "severely weakened", "what you're seeing is one wave gone, but another wave, or even more waves, will come".

 

He said contributions by Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) troops in international coalitions had protected Singaporeans and citizens elsewhere. He added that Singapore will do more in working with Asean members and other countries to step up intelligence-sharing platforms and counter-terrorism capabilities with the SAF.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2019, with the headline 'No letting up on security as terror threat remains'. Print Edition | Subscribe