COVID-19 has emphasised need to secure flow of essential economic resources: Teo Chee Hean

COVID-19 has emphasised need to secure flow of essential economic resources: Teo Chee Hean

Containers stacked at the Brani terminal port in Singapore
File photo of containers stacked at a port in Singapore. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: To ensure Singapore's strategic interests are not compromised, the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) will work with other agencies to strengthen the resilience of the flow of essential economic resources.

In the NSCS's addendum to the President's Address, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean noted the work of the secretariat - a unit under the Prime Minister's Office - in identifying emerging, growing or changing security risks as well as coordinate and ensuring the alignment of national security strategy and policy across agencies.

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"NSCS works with economic agencies to deal with threats to the flow of essential economic resources, such as goods, manpower and investments, which enable Singapore to survive and thrive," said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister-in-charge of NSCS.

"The COVID-19 crisis has accentuated our need to secure such flows, as countries close their borders and restrict the export of critical goods," he said.

"Geopolitical tensions in areas like international trade could also affect our ability to secure critical supplies and impact our position as an international transport and trading hub.”

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The NSCS will work with agencies to strengthen the resilience of such "critical flows" to ensure Singapore's strategic interests are not compromised, said Mr Teo.

"For example, NSCS will work with agencies to identify and refresh our strategies and planning parameters to prepare for potential future disruptions," he said.

Mr Teo said the NSCS would also work with others in identifying and dealing with inter-dependencies between different sectors, to guide Singapore's long-term planning in a more coordinated fashion.

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"For example, we will continue to analyse how disruptions to power or Internet connectivity could have a cascading impact across multiple sectors, and how agencies need to work together to address these vulnerabilities."

The secretariat would also continue to conduct and coordinate research on social resilience and share its findings to guide policies and initiatives to strengthen social resilience here, he added.

"NSCS will also step up education and awareness building for public officers through regular internal outreach, courses, seminars, and milestone programmes, and facilitate information sharing within the Public Service on social resilience issues," said Mr Teo.

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The NSCS will also work with other agencies to draw lessons from the current COVID-19 situation to strengthen the country's long-term capabilities to deal with pandemics, he said.

"These will include enhanced health surveillance, increased capacity for crisis response and healthcare, and more resilient design of key facilities and essential services against pandemics," he added.

Singapore can never be sure when or what form the next security threat will take, said Mr Teo.

"NSCS will continue to work across Government to build up our defences against both traditional and emerging national security threats and help Singaporeans better understand how they can continue to play their part in safeguarding Singapore’s future," he said.

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Source: CNA/nh

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