Good intelligence key to averting danger: K. Shanmugam

Good intelligence key to averting danger: K. Shanmugam

Good intelligence is vital if incidents such as the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are to be averted, Law and Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said on Sunday.

He said last Saturday's revelations about the missing plane were "quite chilling", as it was a very deliberate and carefully planned operation.

He noted that the person or group that planned the takeover knew the plane's systems very well, and disabled its transponder just as the jet was moving from the Malaysian sector to the Vietnamese sector "so that neither would really pick it up".

"It is a very sharp reminder, really, that we cannot take anything for granted," he said.

However, it is not practical to conduct "100 per cent checks" on every airline passenger as this impacts their travel experience, and "pretty much no airport in the world does that".

He cited how Changi Airport has 50 million passengers passing through in a year, with the vast majority travelling legitimately.

"So, the real answer is extremely good intelligence ahead of time and close cooperation with others," said Mr Shanmugam, adding that the MH370 incident brings home the need for governments to have good intelligence and be able to use it effectively.

"It doesn't mean that it will pick up everything, but with good airport security and intelligence, you should be able to avert most of the danger."

Asked what help Singapore will provide Malaysia in the ongoing search for the MH370 plane, Mr Shanmugam said it will depend on what assistance Malaysia requests.

"We wait to hear from Malaysia, and the defence ministers are in contact with each other," he said.

The Singapore Armed Forces said in a statement last Saturday that it will continue to support search efforts in the Strait of Malacca and stands ready to provide further assistance.

roysim@sph.com.sg


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