The business of dealing with terror
DPM Teo announces strategy for companies, workers to be ready for terror threats
Companies and their workers are a vital front in the strategy to cope with terrorist attacks in Singapore, and workplaces here will see more measures implemented to prepare for attacks with an expansion of the SGSecure movement.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean announced this yesterday at the annual National Security Conference organised by the Singapore Business Federation at Marina Mandarin Singapore.
The SGSecure movement was launched last year to sensitise, train and mobilise the community to cope with terrorist attacks, and businesses are now being roped in.
By 2020, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) aims to have 30,000 SGSecure-engaged and 27,000 SGSecure-ready companies.
SGSecure-engaged companies are those with representatives to communicate with official agencies during a terror attack.
They receive regular SGSecure updates from the authorities and pass it on to their colleagues.
SGSecure-ready firms have a point person while their employees are trained with life-saving skills and have a basic understanding of SGSecure.
They also have links to organisations in close proximity to boost vigilance and coordinate a better response to threats and attacks.
"Our security agencies are working hard to detect, prevent and deal with potential attacks. At the same time, strong community support is essential to keep Singapore and Singaporeans safe...
"To complement our efforts to prepare Singaporeans, we need to also prepare our businesses," said Mr Teo, who is the Coordinating Minister for National Security.
To complement our efforts to prepare Singaporeans, we need to also prepare our businesses.Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
He introduced the SGSecure Guide for Workplaces yesterday.
The booklet, developed by MOM, the Ministry of Home Affairs and other partners, is a guide for what companies should do in a terror attack.
It will be given to about 151,000 companies by early next year and is part of the SGSecure for Workplaces programme, which will see MOM partnering employers, organisations and unions to raise awareness about SGSecure.
It will focus on five key sectors - food and beverage (F&B), retail, entertainment, hotel and transport - which have been identified as terror targets because of the high concentration of people.
Mr Teo said the terror threat in Singapore is at its highest level since 2001, when the Jemaah Islamiyah group was dismantled. Since 2015, 11 Singaporeans have been detained and foreigners working here found to be radicalised have been deported.
On Sunday, the authorities revealed that an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighter in a recruitment video was Singaporean Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad. In light of this, Singapore is ramping up efforts to ready the country for terror attacks.
Mr Teo said companies can also get help in becoming better prepared for a terror attack through the bizSafe framework, which was launched in 2007 to help small and medium-sized enterprises raise their capabilities in managing workplace safety and health.
It has now been enhanced to cover identifying and managing security risks posed by terror threats.
Companies applying for or renewing their bizSafe Level 3 status, for example, must include mitigating measures for terror risks in their audited risk management plans.
Today, about 22,000 companies here have bizSafe Level 3 status and above.
Underlining the importance of contingency plans, Mr Teo cited how Morgan Stanley's plan and evacuation drills helped save lives during the Sept 11 attacks, with more than 2,000 employees evacuated from the South Tower after the North Tower was hit.
He called on the business community to help build social cohesion and trust, as these will help Singapore recover from an attack.
"Our racial and religious harmony is a key strength," he added.
Mr Andrew Yau, 38, employs more than 20 people at the Play by Ear music school, which has been around for 14 years and has about 600 students.
He has doubled the number of security cameras at its three outlets since March.
Mr Yau also conducts staff briefings on what to do during a terror attack.
He told The New Paper: "As an employer, it is my responsibility to ensure that my employees and customers are safe. You never know when these things can happen, and if we do not step up, nothing will be done."