Paris attacks: S'pore raises alert level, ministers offer sympathies

Paris attacks: S'pore raises alert level, ministers offer sympathies
PHOTO: Reuters

SINGAPORE - Singapore has raised its security alert level after the series of attacks in Paris on Friday, Nov 13, which killed at least 120 people.

In a statement today, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that Singapore had stepped up its security measures, border checks and vigilance.

Describing the attacks as "dastardly", he added that: "These attacks show that no country is immune, even when there is a state of heightened security."

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, also encouraged Singaporeans to remain vigilant, and report suspicious activities or persons to the authorities.

"Such attacks aim to strike fear in the community. We must therefore continue to build up our social resilience. This will ensure that if an incident were to occur here, we will stand together, recover quickly and emerge stronger and more united," he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called the attacks in Paris "an attack on our shared humanity".

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Mr Lee wrote that he was about to leave for the G20 meeting in Antalya, and said that the incident had made discussions on terrorism, which is one of the items on the agenda, more relevant and urgent than ever.

He also offered his symphathy for the victims, saying: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and to the people and government of Paris and France."

Other ministers also took to social media to express their sympathies and share their thoughts on the attack, which saw French president Francois Hollande declare a state of emergency.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, wrote that it was important to have strong social and psychological defences, so that "we are all ready to withstand and recover from any attack which may occur, and remain united and strong."

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that terrorism needed to be fought "directly in the places where it is grown".

"Everyone is responsible for building this: those who lead religious reformation, political and community leaders who ensure we stay united, and all of us as neighbours, schoolmates and colleagues who must build friendships from young and through life," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen assured that all Singapore Airforce personnel in France were well, but are taking extra precautions by stepping up vigilance at their naval and air bases.

"Our security agencies are monitoring the situation closely. Let's all be vigilant and keep each other safe," he added.

In a statement on Saturday, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that Singapore's embassy in Paris was contacting Singaporeans in Paris to ascertain their safety.

"Singaporeans residing in and travelling to Paris are advised to stay indoors, monitor local news, and heed the instructions of the local authorities," an MFA spokesperson said.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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