SINGAPORE: While security agencies like the Defence Ministry (MINDEF), the Singapore Armed Forces and the Home Team are equipped to deal with terrorist threats, all Singaporeans can do their part on the day before and after any attack, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing on Saturday (13 Aug).
“The terrorists might try to detonate a bomb in Singapore,” he said at a National Day dinner in Tanjong Pagar. “But the bomb cannot destroy our unity and must not rob us of our normalcy. The terrorists are not aiming to kill some Singaporeans. They are aiming to destroy Singapore, they are trying to destroy our unity and our social fabric. This is why the day before and the day after are the most important in our fight against terrorism.”
Speaking to more than 1,400 Tanjong Pagar residents and grassroot leaders, Mr Chan gave a frank assessment of the security concerns Singapore face, in light of recent news that Indonesian authorities arrested six terror suspects who planned to fire a rocket from Batam towards Singapore’s Marina Bay.
“This kind of challenge is not something new,” he said. “We have been aware of such threats to our country for many years. It is a deadly serious threat. We cannot take such things lightly.”
Mr Chan added that terrorism today can come from any source – be it from self-radicalized Singaporeans, or people beyond the country’s borders “trying to harm us by firing rockets or projectiles” or those “trying to harm Singaporeans overseas.”
And while there are solutions to such threat and challenges, Mr Chan said that “no solution is fool-proof, no solution can guarantee us hundred percent that it will be effective.”
Still, Singaporeans can do their part, he said.
“We must make sure that we never allow anybody to sow the seeds of discord or cast doubts among our different races or religion,” Mr Chan said. “If we ever allow them to succeed in dividing us, then even without a bomb going off, we are finished.”
“To overcome this, we must make sure we return to normalcy in the shortest time possible, he added. “To show the terrorists that even if you may break our bones and shed our blood, you will never break our spirit or unity. That is the greatest antidote to this scourge of terrorism.”
Ultimately, Mr Chan said the key to dealing with such threats and challenges is for Singaporeans to remain united, echoing a theme of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent National Day Message.
"The Singapore spirit is not defined by how we fight for our respective communities,” Mr Chan said. “The spirit of Singapore is defined by how we accommodate each other from different races, languages and religion in order to create the maximum common space for all of us.”
"In today's world we face many new challenges,” he added. “We face many new influences coming from all over the world. Our challenge is how do we hold together as one people amid all these new ideologies, new fault lines and new challenges. Can we hold together?”