Resilience, unity needed to weather attack: PM

Police patrolling Westminster Bridge in London yesterday. It was the scene of a deadly terror attack on Wednesday.
Police patrolling Westminster Bridge in London yesterday. It was the scene of a deadly terror attack on Wednesday.PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI • Singapore is on its guard in the light of the heightened global terror threat, as there is no foolproof protection against an attack like the one London suffered on Wednesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said.

"It has happened elsewhere, nobody can say it will never happen in Singapore," he said.

"If it does happen, we need to have that fortitude and resilience, and unity, to say: This is bad, let's find out what was the background, let's do what we need to do, but at the same time, carry on with our lives. And tomorrow is another day, Singapore survives."

Mr Lee made the remarks to Singapore reporters at a wrap-up press conference yesterday when he was asked whether such an attack could happen in Singapore, and what he would say to people who are concerned it could happen any time, anywhere.

"It is something we have to be conscious about - these things can happen. And they have happened in many other cities, it could happen to Singapore," he said.

On the London attack, he said: "It is one person, we don't know the circumstances exactly.

"He had a criminal record, he may have been a criminal now adopting the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) flag, he could have been converted and adopted the ideology of extremism, jihadism. We are not sure yet."

He added: "But in our modern, civilised world, we cannot be fortified every single moment of our lives. We have to go on the basis that we are working together. There is peace, we trust one another, we work with one another.

"We are on our guard, but at the same time, we know there is no 100 per cent foolproof protection, and it can happen elsewhere."

On Wednesday, Khalid Masood, 52, mowed down pedestrians along Westminster Bridge with a car and crashed it into a railing as he sped towards Britain's Parliament building. He then fatally stabbed a policeman and was shot dead.

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2017, with the headline 'Resilience, unity needed to weather attack: PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe