DPM Teo: S'pore watching developments with concern

Singapore has stepped up security in the wake of the bomb attacks in Jakarta yesterday and is watching the developments with concern, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said.

Mr Teo, who is Coordinating Minister for National Security, was also among Singapore's top leaders who sent condolences to their Indonesian counterparts, expressing sympathy for the loss of lives and injuries caused.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in their letters to President Joko Widodo, strongly condemned the attacks in and around a Starbucks cafe near the Sarinah shopping mall. Both said they were deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the terror attacks, which the Indonesian authorities said were by a group of men linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The blasts are a "heinous act of terrorism", said Dr Tan as he offered condolences, on behalf of the people of Singapore, to the families of those who died.

PM Lee also expressed deepest condolences, on behalf of Singaporeans and the Government, to the victims and their families.

He added: "Singapore stands in solidarity with the people of Indonesia. I am confident that the Indonesian government will be able to deal with the situation decisively.

"Singapore gives its full support to the Indonesian government's efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice."

DPM Teo said he called his Indonesian counterpart, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan, to convey his condolences to the families of those who died in the blasts.

"As close neighbours and friends, we are saddened by the loss of lives and injuries," he said in a Facebook post. "We also agreed to enhance co-operation for the security of our two countries."

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also conveyed his condolences to his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said Singaporeans are grieving with their Indonesian friends, and added: "May the perpetrators be swiftly brought to justice and be held accountable for their actions, and for all of us to be spared such senseless acts of violence."

The Workers' Party also strongly condemned the attacks. It said it fully supports the Government's assistance to Indonesia.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said the incident was another sombre reminder that such attacks can happen in Singapore.

"Our security and intelligence agencies have enhanced their checks and are in touch with their Indonesian counterparts on their investigations into the attacks.

"But everyone in the community must play their part by being vigilant and to immediately report any suspicious behaviour or persons to the authorities," a ministry spokesman said.

"If an attack happens here, we must respond decisively as one community. Remain united so that any attempt to cause fear and distrust in the community will not succeed. We must be able to recover quickly and emerge stronger as one people," the spokesman added.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing wrote on Facebook that the attacks brought back memories of the spate of bombings in Indonesia in the early 2000s, when he was an army attache at the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta.

The latest attacks are also a grim reminder of the continuing terror threat, he said, adding: "Let us not let the terrorists rob us of our normalcy or split our societies."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said it had contacted the majority of registered Singaporeans in Jakarta and ascertained their safety. It also advised those residing in and travelling to Jakarta to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions for their personal safety.

Singaporeans who are heading to Indonesia can register at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg. They can also contact the embassy on +62 811 863 348 or the MFA 24-hour duty office on 6379-8800/55.


This article was first published on Jan 15, 2016.
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