SINGAPORE : With the arrest of two more
Jemaah Islamiyah members in October, Singaporeans are learning
the threat of terrorism is far from over.
In August, Dr
Tony Tan was appointed Coordinating Minister for Defence and
His role was to concentrate on
Homeland Defence and safeguard Singapore against terrorist
Homeland security took on a different context
as Singaporeans began seeing tighter security measures all
across the island.
Hard targets and key installations
like Jurong Island, with its many petrochemical companies, can
be potential targets for terrorists.
The island is now
like a fortress after S$30 million was spent beefing up the
level of protection.
After the Jakarta Marriott Hotel
bombing, local hotels took no chances.
It was none more
evident when US President George W Bush visited Singapore in
Checking into the Shangri-la Hotel was
tougher than usual.
The undercarriages of cars entering
the hotel were scanned for explosives.
Even Police cars
were not spared the hassle.
Experts say terrorists do
not hold reservations about attacking easy targets for maximum
"They are indiscriminate in the attacks. They
are in for more lethal means and we're on the verge of the
non-convention era of terrorism. We're already seeing signs of
it. Therefore there is an urgency in consolidating better
international cooperation in confronting this threat," said
terrorism analyst Yoran
"They'll use suicide
terrorism, which is a very cheap tool for them with a high
probability of success," he said.
This was why the
authorities took drastic steps to secure public areas with
After the barricades went up at Holland
Village and Newton Circus food centre, the same happened at
Mohamed Sultan to keep roadside parking to a
Closed-circuit televisions were also installed
at Boat Quay and Little India.
But analysts agree that
as useful as the measures are, countries cannot fight the
A joint maritime exercise between
Singapore and Japan was one example of how countries could
work together to strengthen their security
Closer to land, security at Singapore's
borders was also increased.
Armed guards now patrol
land checkpoints and airport terminals, and soon air marshals
will be on passenger flights.
machines were also employed, not just to check luggage, but
vehicles as well.
Although some may breathe easy with
the arrest of JI's top operative Hambali in Thailand and later
Saddam Hussein near Tikrit, it doesn't mean the fight is
"If you have several queen ants and you take them
out, it affects the organisation in the short term. You have
to understand, fighting terror is not a knock out game. It's a
game won by points and every major operational leader jailed
is very significant in the short term at least," Mr Schweitzer
"It won't prevent terror operations but if you
take all the leading forces you gain time."
that every step forward against terrorism is positive; the
public should go about their daily lives normally, but remain
alert and vigilant. - CNA