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Strong defence critical for a safe and secure Singapore: Govt

A strong defence that is capable of dealing with threats – both external and at home – is fundamental to ensuring Singapore’s safety, the Government said on Thursday (May 22).

SINGAPORE: A strong defence that is capable of dealing with threats – both external and at home – is fundamental to ensuring Singapore’s safety, the Government said on Thursday (May 22).

In an addenda statement to President Tony Tan Keng Yam's address in Parliament last Friday, the Government said that the nation must “continue to invest and build capabilities for a strong and capable Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), an effective Home Team, and a top-notch Foreign Service”. 

To strengthen the SAF’s capabilities, the Ministry of Defence said it will continue to make “steady and prudent” investments in advanced technologies. In the pipeline are upgrades to Singapore’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, and the acquisition of A330 Multi-role Tanker Transport aircraft, two Type-218SG submarines, and another two Sikorsky S-70B Naval Helicopters over the next five years.

Improvements will be made to the National Service (NS) system, starting with a slew of recommendations from the Committee to Strengthen NS. These include more incentives for passing the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT), longer windows for remedial training (RT) and additional Medisave grants at NS milestones (Full story here: http://cna.asia/1o8iRqx) 

To safeguard and advance the nation’s interests abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will continue contributing to ASEAN’s regional integration efforts. Equally important is maintaining good relations and increasing bilateral cooperation with Singapore’s immediate neighbours, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, the ministry said. 

The ministry will also focus on expanding links with Singapore’s key partners such as the United States, China, Japan, Australia, India and the European Union, while identifying emerging opportunities in new markets. 

On the home front, the Ministry of Home Affairs plans to increase community policing to prevent and deter crime. A new Police Divisional Headquarters and two Neighbourhood Police Centres will be established, and Neighbourhood Police Posts will be revamped to provide round-the-clock electronic services to the public. 

More technologies will be employed to keep neighbourhoods safe, according to the ministry. Close-circuit cameras will be installed in all Housing and Development Board blocks by 2016, and the police will also pilot the use of body-worn cameras. 

To clear heavy flows of people and vehicles at land checkpoints more efficiently, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore will introduce a new generation of biometric passports, and expand the use of biometrics and automation, the ministry said.

Beyond the improvement of processes and infrastructure, the Government said the key to security was unity among Singaporeans.

“A more diverse society and more strident advocacy on divisive issues that impact on religion, race and social values may create tensions and affect social harmony. To meet these challenges and stay safe and secure, we must stay united as one people.”

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