a) Is it safe in Singapore? Is our current global terrorism score/ranking realistic?
According to the Embassy assessment, the rate of crime in Singapore is low. The low rate of crime does not mean that there is no crime in Singapore. Singapore still experiences terrorism just like other countries but not as much as countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq. With various threats of terrorism hanging in Singapores air, security is essential for the Singapores citizens. One question that Singaporeans have certainly held in their minds is how safe is their country and whether the global ranking of global terrorism is realistic or not realistic. Currently, Singapore is ranked second as the safest country in the world. For instance, in the fiscal year 2015, the budget of the defense force of Singapore was increased by 5.7% to $9.5 billion based on the nominal terms (Rosxalynd, 2013). The quotation is large because Singapore is among the largest importers of weapons in the world.
Based on various strategies used by the Singapore army to combat terrorism, Singapore has been declared the safest country to live. Many Singaporeans are safe from incidences of terrorism that are affecting not only Middle East countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, but also African countries such as South Sudan and Somalia. Therefore, the current ranking of Singapore as the safest country is realistic because Singapores Police Forces are safely playing their roles to ensure that the country is safe from any terrorism threat that may endanger the life of Singaporeans (Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies & Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism).
b) How the recent global terrorism affect Singapore? Are we operationally ready to manage these threats?
Singapore, located in the Southeast Asia, is recognized for its busiest trading ports and capitalist economy in the world. However, the recent terrorism has affected Singapores economic and political activities. Singapore has observed its reasonable share of terrorism since its 1965 independence. From the 1965 bombing of the MacDonald House to the hijacking of the Singaporean plane to the recent planned attacks in 2002, Singapore is not new to the terrorism threat (Tan, 2004). However, in the recent global attack, the novel aspect of terrorism called an Islamist Terrorism has affected not only Singapore but also the whole world. The Islamist Terrorist Organizations use Islam religion to justify their evil actions so as to serve political and social objectives, especially to destroy the country and its allies.
The recent terrorist attack in Singapore had the effect on the economy of Singapore. However, the effect of recent terrorism had little effect on the robust economy of Singapore, being among the fastest nations in the world to recover from the recent attacks in 2009 (Berube et al. 2010). The economic capability and success to neutralize terrorism threat are observed by some of the Singaporeans as resentment at worst and envy at best since Singapore depends on the value-added exports and imports that mostly come from Indonesia and Malaysia. For example, raw water from Malaysia and the resale of the treated water to Johor put Singapore at risk of terrorism threats (Singh, 2011). Terrorists believe that when successfully attack Singapore, the trade of the sentiments will cease since the products are the success factors for the Singapores economy.
The political prominence of the Singapore on the global stage, geographical location, and support from the United States has led Singapore to become a symbol for which terrorists observe as prized. The fact that Singapore is heavily prepared for any terrorism threat, it will remain that the country will face terrorism threats since the Islamist are targeting to collapse Singapores economy. However, Singapore government is ready to manage the terrorism threats so that the country can remain safe for the Singaporeans. There are various steps that have been adopted by the Singaporeans government to manage the threats. The strategies are discussed in the next question.
c) What are the measures/operations orders in place today? Are they sufficient or should Singapore Police Force or Home Team Departments do more?
Singapore is adopting fair strategies in its endeavors to counterattack terrorism, and reduce the possibilities of becoming a victim of terrorism. Globally, Singapore has developed security agreements with various countries including the United States, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the United Nations countries. Singapore is pushing for the multilateral and bilateral collaborations in security in the named regions. The multilateral and bilateral collaborations in security issues are being pushed especially in the Declaration on the Joint Action on the Counter-Terrorism and the ASEAN Regional Forum. Also, Singapore is sharing its ideas, intelligence, and expertise with individual states of ASEAN, particularly Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. For example, sharing of ideas, intelligence, and expertise led to the arrest and recapture of Mas Selamat in Malaysia and Indonesia (Rosxalynd, 2013).
A part from pushing for collaboration regarding security issues on the regional and global front, Singapore has escalated its security endeavors internally. Cooperation and coordination are being escalated between various intelligence agencies involving the Intelligence Division of Ministry of Defense and Internal Security Department of Home Affairs. Besides, Singapore is undertaking various steps to study not only biochemical but also chemical warfare that terrorists use as weapons so that they can understand ways of minimizing the effects of the weapons. Moreover, Singapore is creating mass awareness of terrorism and educates Singaporeans about terrorism. The step in educating Singaporeans about terrorism is essential since citizens can raise an alarm on any suspicious action that relates to terrorism. The Singaporeans are holding inter-communal harmony, social cohesion, and multiracialism within the community to combat issues related to terrorism (Berube et al. 2010).
Moreover, Singapore has been aggressive in denying terrorists the funds required to carry out terrorism activities. Many terrorist organizations located in the Southeast Asia are being motivated by the local agendas. The terrorist organizations have benefited from the financial and logistic support from the international terrorist groups. Singapore signed the United Nation Convention on the Suppression of the funding of the terrorism. Also, Singapore is controlling its boarders by the use of sophisticated surveillance technology and police forces, thus aiming at combating the issues related to terrorism.
There are various operations that show that Singapore is trying its level best to eliminate the issue of terrorisms. For example, in December 2001, the ISD from Singapore arrested 15 people. The 13 of the arrested people were from JI. Members of the terrorism group had a plan to bomb attacks in Singapore that could have led to catastrophic effects. JI had planned to attack the shuttle-but that was to convey the United States military people and their families, the British and Australian Commissions, United States vessels in Singapore, the Israel and US Embassies, and US commercial buildings located in Singapore (Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies & Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism).
However, the current measures in combating terrorism are not enough. The Singapore Home Department or the Team Singapore Police Force is required to formulate additional measures that can help in securing the country from any terrorism threat. The named departments need to coordinate with the Information Technology expertise and intelligence groups so that they can understand the potential areas that are being targeted by the terrorism groups.
d) What & How can Police Technology Department (SPF IT Department) play a part in this?
Singapore Police Force has been playing an essential role in combating issues related to terrorism. With the creation of the SPF IT Department, the issues related to security have drastically reduced. The SPF IT Department shares the information related to terrorism with intelligence, thus raising an alarm in the suspected areas that are being targeted by the terrorism groups. Also, the department tracks the plans of the terrorism groups and communicates with other police force so that an immediate action can be taken to counterattack any activity that is being planned by the terrorists. Therefore, SPF IT is an essential department that collects information concerning the terrorism activities and shares the information so as to warn Singaporeans on any targeted areas.
In conclusion, Singapore is a country in the Southeast Asia that is playing an essential role in combating terrorist threats. There are various measures that are being established by the Singapore government to eliminate issues related to terrorism. Such measures include guarding its boarders, educating Singaporeans on issues related to terrorism, and the creation of Intelligence Department that is essential for communicating the plans of the terrorism groups. The measures have played an essential role in ensuring that Singaporeans are safe.
Berube, A., Friedhoff, A., Nadeau, C., Rode, P., Paccoud, A., Kandt, J. (2010). Global Metro Monitor: The path to economic recovery.
Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies & Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. (2006). Terror in Southeast Asia: The Threat and Response. The U.S. Department of States. Washington D.C. http://www.rsis.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/NEW_TerrorismSEAConference0513.pdf
Mohamed, (2013). Why they became terrorists: The case study of JI in Singapore. In Religious Rehabilitation Group. http://www.rrg.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66:why-they-became-terrorists-the-case-study-of-ji-in-singapore&catid=4:recent-articles&Itemid=9Rosxalynd, (2013). Singapores Foreign Policy: To What Extend is Terrorism a Threat to Singapore? Nanyang Technological University.
Singh, B. (2011). Why Singapore is an iconic target for terrorists. The Malaysian Insider. http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/why-spore-is-an-iconic-target-for-terrorists-bilveer-singh/Tan, L.Y. (2004). Macdonald House bomb explosion. In Singapore Infopedia. http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_62_2004-12-17.html
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