Key buildings to be made more secure with Infrastructure Protection Act
The Infrastructure Protection Act passed in Parliament yesterday is a move that seeks to establish a "clear regulatory framework" to protect key places here, said Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo.
Speaking in Parliament at the start of the debate on the new law, Mrs Teo said that terrorists now typically target crowded places or iconic buildings, with the aim to kill as many people as possible to make a statement with their acts.
These incidents point to the importance of protecting infrastructure here, she added.
The new law will allow the Government to designate new buildings as "special developments" and existing buildings as "special infrastructures".
Both of these have to have "security-by-design", meaning they will have to incorporate security plans into their designs before undergoing construction or renovation.
A Commissioner for Infrastructure Protection will also be appointed to approve security plans for these buildings, which include those that provide essential services, have high footfall, or have iconic or symbolic significance.
This Commissioner can also order building owners to put in place security measures that address the risk of an attack but these will be a "last resort", according to Mrs Teo.
Additionally, this new law will give security personnel at sensitive installations powers to deal with threats there. These powers include the ability to question suspicious people, inspect their belongings and require them to leave the area.
It will also be made illegal to take photos or videos of these installations without authorisation. Security personnel will be able to stop people from doing so and can examine footage and have it deleted.
The Act, which was first tabled in Parliament last month, was passed on Monday after eight MPs spoke in support of it.