Every day, more than 500,000 people pass through Singapore's various checkpoints.
With the surge set to keep growing, the Ministry of Home Affairs will use technology and reinforced infrastructure to the fullest to fortify the country's borders.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean laid out the measures to secure the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints in the light of recent breaches.
Steps already taken include the installation of 119 CCTV cameras and new mobile crash barriers that will stop vehicles from dashing through.
An integrated command-and- control structure is also in place to improve coordination among officers from the various agencies, such as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), police and Customs.
In the pipeline is the installation of even more advanced barriers, such as crash-resistant walls and fences that are difficult to climb. These will be phased in over the next three years.
These are among the key measures recommended by a 2014 review committee, set up following unrelated breaches on land and at sea.
Early last year, two Malaysians drove past the Woodlands checkpoint and entered Singapore illegally. One was a delivery driver, and the other, a teacher, who was later declared to be of unsound mind.
Last August, three foreigners sneaked into Singapore by boat via Raffles Marina, after finding out that it was guarded only from 9am to 5pm.
DPM Teo also disclosed that by June 2017, the two checkpoints will have another 1,000 CCTV cameras to further improve coverage and monitoring.
The cameras will be connected to a video analytics system to enhance the identification of vehicles and security threats such as intrusions and unattended baggage, he added.
Technology will also be used to speed up clearance and reduce congestion.
All 164 motorcycle counters at the two land checkpoints will be automated by the end of next year, compared to 43 now, said Mr Teo.
And next month, ICA will begin a trial to capture fingerprints of all people arriving at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
This will verify a traveller's identity before he is allowed into Singapore, and facilitate automated clearance at departure.
If successful, the system will be progressively implemented at other checkpoints, Mr Teo said.
At sea, the ministry will equip the Police Coast Guard (PCG) with better surveillance and interception capabilities to deal with intrusions and disable vessels committing illegal acts.
It will also integrate the marine command bases of the PCG, ICA and Singapore Civil Defence Force for better response to security threats, he added.
These are on top of an earlier- announced move to set up land- and sea-based barriers around Singapore's coastline.
Responding to Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC), Mr Teo said the report of the checkpoints review committee will not be made public.
"The report is an internal report because it covers many security-related issues which are not appropriate to put out in public," he said.
This article was first published on Mar 7, 2015.
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