Bangladeshis arrested under ISA a serious threat: PM Lee

SINGAPORE - Ministers and religious leaders in Singapore have responded to the news that 27 radicalised Bangladeshi workers had been arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on Facebook that even though the group were plotting nefarious activities in Bangladesh and not in Singapore, they were still a serious threat.

"We are tightening up our security, and acting to protect our racial and religious harmony. Radicalisation and terrorism must never take root in Singapore," he stressed.

"The government will do its part, but everyone has to be on guard for suspicious activities that could harm our way of life," Mr Lee added.

You have probably read about the 27 Bangladeshi workers arrested under the Internal Security Act. They had become...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Home Minister K Shanmugam commended the work of Singapore's security agencies for successfully arresting the group before they managed to carry out any attacks.

"While they were planning attacks outside Singapore, they could have easily changed their minds and attacked Singapore," he wrote in a Facebook post.

He added that the arrests were a reminder that the threat of terrorism was real in Singapore.

Yesterday I made a speech about terrorism in the region. Today, MHA announced 27 Bangladeshis who have become...

Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Communications and Information Minister Mr Yaacob Ibrahim expressed his "deep concern" and said that terrorism remained a continuing threat.

"I appeal that we be more vigilant, whether against radical teachings and ideologies, or of any suspicious activities around us," he wrote on Facebook.

But Mr Yaacob, who is also Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, called on Singaporeans not to discriminate against foreign workers here. "The actions of a few cannot determine how we treat others who have worked so hard to build our homes, schools and hospitals," he stressed.

I am deeply concerned about the arrests of a group of self-radicalised Bangladeshi workers in Singapore. Terrorism is a...

Posted by Yaacob Ibrahim on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, who is also Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) expressed similar sentiments, reiterating that the majority of foreign workers here contribute positively to Singapore's growth and development.

"As such, we must strengthen our efforts to integrate foreign workers and guard against ostracising them," he said.

Mr Chan also noted that it was critical not to allow the incident to affect ties with Singapore's Muslim community, as "religious harmony is the cornerstone to our unique heritage in Singapore".

I was extremely concerned to hear about the discovery of a radical cell comprising foreign workers in Singapore....

Posted by Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said that it denounced any acts of plans by extremist groups that threatened the security, peace and harmony of Singapore and the world.

Mufti of Singapore Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram said that these groups "contradict the fundamental Islamic teaching of protecting the sanctity of human life and preserving peace and harmony at all times".

He added that Muis will continue to step up efforts to prevent any form of radical teachings from taking root in the Singaporean Muslim community.

On Wednesday (Jan 20), the Home Affairs Ministry revealed that the 27 Bangladeshi nationals, who had been working in the local construction industry, were arrested after they were found to be supporting the armed jihadi ideology of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.