S'poreans keen to boost the Republic's security

Singaporeans want to play a bigger part in keeping their country safe and are looking for platforms to do this, said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee yesterday.

Speaking to reporters after a two-hour-long discussion with 60 participants organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Lee said many suggestions revolved around strengthening Singapore's social fabric and accepting the differences between various cultures.

The discussion was part of SGfuture, in which the public is invited to share its ideas for Singapore's development.

"When a society such as Singapore has had many decades of safety and security, the need for vigilance becomes even greater, because we have so much more to lose if we are not careful," said Mr Lee, who is also Senior Minister of State for National Development.

He had urged the participants earlier not to take security for granted though Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world.

"Security threats are ever present, and continue to evolve," he said, referring to recent attacks in cities such as Bangkok, Paris and Jakarta, as well as the arrest of suspected militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in neighbouring Malaysia.

"The threat is pressing closer to home, and Singapore is not immune. A similar attack in Singapore could be a matter of when, even as we do our best to prevent this from happening here."

New threats, such as cybercrimes, have also emerged.

"Ultimately, protecting the safety and security of Singaporeans is not just about placing a policeman on every street to guard lives and properties," he said. "It is also about the roles we can play and the actions we can take, to safeguard... our way of life."

One of the participants yesterday, Ms Norfikah Samsudin, 21, a final-year student at the Institute of Technical Education College East, suggested having community events where people of different races and religions can interact.

"Everyone can play a part to keep Singapore safe," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2016, with the headline 'S'poreans keen to boost the Republic's security'. Print Edition | Subscribe