Fifty years ago, the place now known as Jurong Island was merely a small collection of secluded islands. Today, it is a bustling industrial hub and the cornerstone of Singapore's petrochemical industry. In the light of today's unstable security climate, such a key component of our economy needs to be safeguarded. Thus, our Army expanded its spectrum of operations a few years ago to include the protection of Key Installations (KINs) like the refineries on Jurong Island. On 8 October, a group of senior civil servants viewed our defence capabilities on Jurong Island as part of a six-week Senior Management Programme.
The guests were briefed on the role of the Island Defence Headquarters (IDHQ), They also learnt about the multiple layers of deterrence in place at Jurong Island, which include the Army and Coast Guard, and the private security engaged by individual companies. At Jurong Island's Emergency Control Centre, the guests viewed a demonstration of some of the specialised weapons and equipment used in the protection of KINs.
One such equipment is a portable scanner, used to detect the presence of explosives. A special variant of the scanner is also used to check the undercarriage of vehicles entering Jurong Island. Other displays included the Taser, which can render a hostile person unconscious, and a computer program which can calculate the blast radius of a bomb and thus aid commanders in evacuating civilians to a safe position.
Mr G Kannan, a deputy director at the Ministry of Manpower said, "We're usually so busy with day to day work that it's difficult to find out the full details of what the SAF is doing at the KINs. Thus, this visit has helped us to learn about our island's security measures. If the capabilities showcased at Jurong Island are representative of the other KINs, Singapore is definitely in safe hands." Mr Kannan also emphasised the simple but important role employers can play in supporting National Service, "It's a question of priorities. We know the important role played by our NSmen, so we reallocate resources to allow NSmen to go for their In-Camp Training."
Mr Sng Chern Wei, impressed with the way our Army has adapted to new security challenges said, "The capabilities we saw show that the SAF has been keeping updated with technological changes. Some of the weapons and equipment like the SAR 21 rifle have been locally developed, allowing us to fully customise them to our specific needs." As a school principal, Mr Sng plays an important role in promoting National Education to his students. He said, “National Education is crucial to help youths learn about Singapore's vulnerabilities and unique geopolitical situation. They will then understand the need to keep the SAF one step ahead to maintain its edge."