Transcript of remarks by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Exercise Northstar XI Media Doorstop on 22 March 2023.
It is something which we have been doing for many years. The last time I saw it was before COVID-19. I’m glad we are able to mount a major exercise again like this because we take the terrorist threat very seriously.
There are activities in the region around us. If we look further afield in the Middle East or other parts of the world, the groups remain there, and we are on their radar. And sometimes, we also have homegrown self-radicalised individuals who are misguided. We try very hard and we are lucky that we catch them before they can do any harm. But one day, we may not be lucky, and therefore we have to take these exercises very seriously, to be able to deal with a range of different kinds of terrorist threats. It could be an individual attack, it could be an attack on a facility, it could be an attack on oil refinery or petrochemical complex like this. And the consequences can be quite disastrous if we don't know how to react. So we have to deal with the terrorism part of it but we also have to deal with the civil emergency part of it. And that’s where the SCDF comes in.
And today’s exercise tests out a lot of the equipment we have, the apparatus, the appliances, the drills, the coordination and working with the first responders and different companies which are operating here, making sure that everything works. And if you press a button, we are there. I'm glad that the exercise has gone well.
I think if you ask what an individual can do to deal with terrorism, first of all, you have to be alert and watch what's happening around you and know the drill how to respond if you happened to be caught in the terrorist attack or see one. You have to work with one another in Singapore so that we can mobilise our resources to deal with the problem. And we also have to be completely united as one people because the threat of terrorism isn't just the person who is hurt or the storage tank or pipeline which is blown up. But the fracture in our society, which takes a very, very long time to heal. And we must never let that fracture happen to us. I'm glad this exercise has gone well. I look forward to seeing another Exercise Northstar XII in a couple of years’ time.
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