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    Jan 19, 2016

    More CCTVs for public spaces?

    THE Singapore Police Force will explore whether to install more surveillance cameras in HDB estates and other public areas to boost its ability to deter and detect criminal and terrorist threats, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said.

    The ongoing installation of such police cameras at all 10,000 HDB blocks and multi-storey carparks is also on track to being completed this year.

    Measures like these, which make better use of technology, as well as strengthening people's preparedness and ability to respond to a crisis or terror attack, are at the core of the plans outlined by three ministries and the Government agency overseeing national security matters yesterday in addenda to the President's address.

    These moves to step up Singapore's security come at a time when terror is a growing threat to the region.

    In his ministry's addendum, Mr Shanmugam identified terrorism as well as transnational and cybercrime as key challenges for his ministry, with traveller and cargo volumes rising even as the country's population continues to age.

    "While our work will grow in load and complexity, there is a limit to how much we can grow the size of the Home Team, given Singapore's manpower constraints," he said.

    "We will have to develop new operating models and concepts, and make better use of technology."

    Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said his ministry will also invest more in areas such as unmanned systems and robotics, while ensuring that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) develops capabilities against a wider range of threats to national security, such as attacks on Singapore's online space.

    Beyond its investments in hardware and capabilities, the Government will also look at ways to strengthen society's resilience, a "key ingredient" to national security, said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.

    He added that the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) will, among other things, look at ways that social media can be better used in an emergency to quickly manage a situation and restore confidence and order, at a time when it can also be where rumours and disinformation are spread that may complicate matters.

    The NSCS will also work with agencies to develop practical solutions to cyber security challenges facing Singapore.

    Both the SAF and Home Team will also look at ways to improve the national service experience to strengthen a cornerstone of the nation's defence and security.

    On the diplomatic front, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore will continue to work actively to enhance Asean integration, strengthen relationships with immediate neighbours such as Malaysia and Indonesia, and expand Singapore's international space through constructive participation in forums like the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also expand Singapore's political relations and economic space in new emerging markets in Africa, Central Asia and Latin American, while also expanding its consular outreach as more Singaporeans travel and live abroad.