Bill requiring selected buildings to strengthen security measures tabled in Parliament

Bill requiring selected buildings to strengthen security measures tabled in Parliament

The Infrastructure Protection Bill will require some new and existing buildings to implement counter-terrorism measures such as vehicle barriers to deter attacks or minimise casualties. 

SINGAPORE: A new Bill requiring some new buildings to incorporate security measures into their design before being built was introduced in Parliament on Monday (Sep 11). The Infrastructure Protection Bill was tabled by Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mrs Josephine Teo.

The Bill was first announced during the Ministry’s Committee of Supply debates earlier this year, as part of its counter-terrorism efforts.

“Buildings which house essential services, are iconic, or with high human traffic, could be targeted by terrorists, with the intent of disrupting such services or inflicting mass casualties,” MHA said in a media release shortly after the Bill was introduced.

“Therefore, it is important to ensure that there are adequate building security measures in place. Such measures…will help deter and deny attackers, as well as minimise casualties and damage in an attack.”

The Bill will allow MHA to designate selected new buildings as ‘Special Developments’, while some existing buildings will be known as ‘Special Infrastructures’.

These buildings will need to address security risks and implement measures into their buildings design before construction or when they are about to be renovated.

These measures could include video surveillance, security personnel, vehicle barriers and strengthening the building against the effects of an explosion, MHA said.

“Where possible, security measures should be incorporated at the building design stage as it is the more cost-efficient and effective way to secure a building,” it said.

The Bill would also provide security personnel of “sensitive installations” with powers to deal with threats to the installation, MHA said.

MHA said developers would need to seek the Ministry’s approval of security plans for these buildings before construction or renovation can commence. It said these requirements may apply to developments providing essential services, as well as iconic or large commercial developments.

It said the Bill will also allow MHA to issue emergency orders to protect a building if a terrorist attack is assessed to be imminent. This means the Ministry can order building owners to close part of a building or deploy additional security measures.

However, the Ministry said it would continue to engage facility owners to persuade them to develop and implement “practical security measures”.

The Bill would also enhance the security of sensitive installations that come under the existing Protected Areas (PAs) and Protected Places Act (PAPPA). These include military camps and immigration checkpoints.

The Bill would give security personnel at these installations the powers to deal with threats in their surrounding areas.

“This will include powers to question suspicious persons and inspect their belongings, and to require them to leave the area,” MHA said.

Taking unauthorized pictures and videos at these installations would be an offence, to prevent surveillance by terrorists, MHA said.

It said security staff will be able to stop people from taking such photographs and videos and take action against them. This could include examining the photographs and videos and requiring people to delete them .

The Protected Places Act (PAPPA) will be repealed once the Bill is passed, with provisions under the Act incorporated into the Infrastructure Protection Bill. 

Source: CNA/mo