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Singaporean Government identifies Cyber Crime as key challenge in response to Crisis in the Region

As Singapore grows into one of the most advanced and technologically driven nation, it has more often than not led to the pervasive use of technology in our everyday lives.

One such instance is the ongoing installation of police cameras at all 10,000 Housing Board blocks and multi-story car parks, which is on track for completion this year.

“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,” said Minister K. Shanmugam, Singapore’s Home Affairs Minister.

At present, with growing and relentless threats to the region, there have been strategic moves to step up Singapore’s security.

In his ministry’s addendum, Mr Shanmugam identified terrorism and transnational and cyber crime as key challenges for his ministry, with traveler and cargo volumes rising even as Singapore’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.

He thus emphasises the need to develop state-of-the-art operating models and concepts as well as to increase utilization and leveraging on technology.

With the uncertain and constantly evolving dynamics with regards to the operating environment for MINDEF and SAF, technologies which once used to be the domain of professional militaries are becoming inexpensive and can be easily obtained and use by less advanced militaries and non-state actors.

“As our economy and society rely more on technology that allows us to function with ease and efficiently, cyber criminals and attackers have more avenues to disrupt and destabilize Singapore.”

Beyond its investments in hardware and capabilities, the Government will also continue to study alternatives to strengthen society’s resilience which is a “key ingredient” in national security.

Close cooperation between the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) and governmental agencies as well as community groups e.g., Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence Ministry etc., will be maintained, so as to develop a stronger understanding of how Singapore can recover from a crisis should there be one. NSCS is also further examine the methods which social media can be better made use of in times of need in case of emergencies; to swiftly manage a situation and restore confidence and order.

“In the event of a crisis, it is not just the security agencies that will be called to respond. Our society as a whole will also be tested.”

On another front, both the SAF and Home Team will also look into ways to boost a cornerstone of Singapore’s defence and security. The SAF will seek to expand its Volunteer Corps initiative while Home Team intends to increase leadership opportunities for NSmen.

In the diplomatic aspect, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan mentions that Singapore will keep up with its active contributions to enhance Asean integration, bolster relationships with its immediate neighbours like Malaysia and Indonesia and expand Singapore’s international space through increased participation in international platforms.

Lastly on the international scale, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will expand Singapore’s political relations and economic space in new emerging markets, e.g. in central Asia, Latin America etc. while also developing its consular outreach as more Singaporean travel and live abroad.

Image from Minister K Shanmugam Sc Facebook

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