Hougang station closure over security scare 'right thing to do': Shanmugam

Hougang station closure over security scare 'right thing to do': Shanmugam

Hougang MRT station was shut for more than an hour last Sunday (Apr 2) after an unattended suitcase was found.

(nc) Hougang MRT closed Vanessa Lim 2

SINGAPORE: The temporary shutdown of Hougang MRT station on Sunday (Apr 2) in response to a security scare was the "right thing to do", Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Tuesday.

The station was shut for more than an hour, with trains skipping the stop, after an unattended suitcase was found.

A 39-year-old man was subsequently arrested for causing public nuisance after preliminary investigations show he intentionally left the bag inside the station while running an errand.

Channel NewsAsia understands he was released on bail on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a homeland security exhibition on Tuesday, Mr Shanmugam said: "There have been some questions as to whether we overreacted. But you know, if it had a bomb, people would say, why didn't you close it. So closing it was the right thing to do."

Mr Shanmugam also stressed that the public has a key role in keeping the country safe.

In this respect, efforts such as SGSecure - a national movement launched last year to sensitise, train and mobilise the community to prevent and deal with a terror attack - are helping to raise awareness, the minister said.

"As long as we don't get attacked, of course, many Singaporeans believe there will not be an attack and long may it remain that way - but it is our duty to go and send the message across."

Outreach efforts have reached about 60,000 households since the SGSecure movement was launched, Mr Shanmugam said. The Government aims to cover every household in Singapore within the next three years.

By then, he said, "everyone would have heard about SGSecure. Everyone would have been told what is it that they can do to come in and be part of this system".

Source: CNA/mz

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