Saturday, 14 November 2015

PM Lee on Paris attacks

Be mentally prepared to deal with terror attack if it happens: PM Lee
PM Lee, in warning to S'poreans, says Republic sits in region where ISIS is active

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday warned Singaporeans that the violence wrought on Paris last Friday could happen in Singapore and they have to be psychologically prepared for it.

"We are in the middle of a region (where) ISIS is active," he said, referring to terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Some 700 South-east Asians have gone to the Middle East to join ISIS, including some Singaporeans.


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'An attack on our shared humanity'

Following a series of attacks in Paris which has killed at least 60 people, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said "an attack like this is an attack on our shared humanity".

In a Facebook post on Saturday (Nov 14), PM Lee expressed his shock at the incidents
"It is not the first time innocent civilians have been massacred like this in this troubled world. But each time it happens we again feel appalled and outraged beyond words," he wrote.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and to the people and government of Paris and France," PM Lee said.

related: #ParisAttacks

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Nations cannot keep silent on threat of terrorism: PM Lee

Terrorism is a transnational problem, and countries cannot keep silent and hope attacks will pass them by, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mr Lee, speaking at a Group of 20 (G20) working dinner on the global challenges of terrorism and the refugee crisis on Sunday night, said Singapore has taken the threat seriously with preventative detention, inter-community dialogues and tightened border security. But efforts within Singapore alone will not fully deal with the terrorism threat.

“Terrorists cross borders freely, and therefore, no country can defeat this international threat alone,” said Mr Lee. “Each country must do its part domestically, but countries also have to work together internationally. The fight belongs to all of us and we have to be willing to step up and stand up in solidarity with each other against the terrorists. We cannot avoid this problem, much less solve it by hiding or by keeping silent, hoping that the scourge will pass us by, on the other side.”

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Tackle terror on multiple fronts: PM Lee
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaking to Singapore journalists at the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Antalya on Nov 16.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The scourge of terrorism, as seen in the coordinated attacks in Paris on Friday, is a long-time problem that calls for a multi-pronged approach, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said.

It also requires countries to be resolute in dealing with extremists at home while cooperating closely with other nations so that terrorists are left "in no doubt that they are up against a formidable coalition of countries that are determined to stop them".

Mr Lee set out his thoughts on ways to combat this global challenge at the annual Group of 20 Summit of world leaders in Turkey . He said focusing efforts only on the extremists who are going to physically commit attacks is not enough."You have to deal with the ideology and the social fabric from which they could spring," he added.

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Terrorism threat in Southeast Asia a 'serious, difficult' issue: PM Lee

The terrorism threat in Southeast Asia is a serious and difficult problem, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in an interview published on Monday (Nov 16).

In the interview with The Australian newspaper that was held before the multiple terror attacks in Paris, Mr Lee said that it is not just "random individuals" who are being radicalised and going to Syria to join ISIS.

Mr Lee pointed to Malaysia as an example, noting that there were repeated incidents of people from the army going to Syria. He said Malaysia had just arrested two commandos on top of nearly a dozen military personnel earlier.

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Terrorism threat has crystallised, said PM Lee before attack

The terrorism threat facing Singapore and the region is now more acute than ever because radicalised individuals are no longer operating under an amorphous idea, but have somewhere they can physically visit — Syria — to aid extremists’ cause, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in an interview he gave to The Australian newspaper last Friday (Nov 13), before the Paris attacks.

This is a “very serious” problem because the hundreds of people from South-east Asia, including Singapore and its neighbours, who try to go to Syria comprise not only random individuals, said Mr Lee, but also military personnel, in some cases.

“It is the latest incarnation of the (terrorism) problem. It has been there with us since before 9/11, but in this form, it has crystallised, it has got territory, it has got a place you can actually physically go to.

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Solidarity among nations, communities key to tackling terrorism threat: PM Lee at G20 meet
Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong joins world leaders in observing a minute of silence for victims of terror attacks in Paris at the G20 summit

A terrorist attack does not just inflict physical harm, but also tears at the social fabric. Which is why Singapore - a country built upon multiracial foundations - works with each racial and religious community to strengthen the mutual trust and raise the security bar against the terrorist threat, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"Singapore takes the threat of terrorism extremely seriously. We are a multiracial society. If we ever suffer a terrorist attack, the harm will is not just the physical damage and loss of life but the fear, the suspicion, the breakdown of racial and religious harmony of our society and our social fabric would be rent apart," said Mr Lee, speaking at a Group-of-20 (G20) working dinner on the global challenges of terrorism and the refugee crisis on Sunday night (Nov 15).

"To deal with this problem, you cannot only deal with the extremists who are going to physically commit the terrorist act. You have to deal with the ideology, and the social fabric from which they could spring.

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Governments must deal with ideology behind terrorism too: PM Lee
To tackle terrorism, countries must go beyond targeting those who are going to carry out a terrorist act, and deal with the ideology behind terrorism as well, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday night in Antalya, at the G20 Summit. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

TO tackle terrorism, countries must go beyond targeting those who are going to carry out a terrorist act, and deal with the ideology behind terrorism as well, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday night in Antalya, at the G20 Summit.

"To deal with this problem, you cannot only deal with the extremists who are going to physically commit the terrorist act. You have to deal with the ideology, and the social fabric from which they could spring," said Mr Lee at a working dinner on terrorism and the refugee crisis.

He added that in Singapore, the government regularly holds closed-door dialogues with community leaders of all races and religions.

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Masagos ‘saddened’ by those who defend massacre
People, many of whom are French, hold up their lit phones as they take part in a vigil in solidarity with France after the deadly attacks in Paris, in Trafalgar Square, London, Nov 14, 2015. Photo: AP

Responding to comments in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks that inferred the French had it coming, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli criticised that such a view is “just short of justifying the cruel and cowardly acts of the terrorists”.

Writing on his Facebook page today (Nov 15), the minister, who held foreign affairs portfolios from 2011 to last year, noted that even while the French are mourning the attacks, which have killed at least 129, some have “rationalised that (the terror attacks are) a consequence of the misdeeds of the West”.

Such a response on the “massacre of innocents” in Paris saddens him, said Mr Masagos, who wrote: “Just listen carefully to their statements — how they will make us dull to the inhuman act of mass murder of innocents. They only seek to incite anger and justify revenge.”

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Lee Hsien Loong Face Book

Shocked to wake up to the news of the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris. At least 40 people have been killed, and about 100 hostages taken. We do not know who perpetrated these ghastly murders yet.

It is not the first time innocent civilians have been massacred like this in this troubled world. But each time it happens we again feel appalled and outraged beyond words, for an attack like this is in fact an attack on our shared humanity.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and to the people and government of Paris and France.

I am just about to leave for Antalya in Turkey for the G20 meeting, where one agenda item is terrorism. This latest incident renders our discussions more relevant and urgent than ever.

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Singapore comments on the multiple attacks in Paris
Police forces, firefighters and rescue workers secure the area near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, on Nov 14, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Singapore strongly condemns the multiple terrorist attacks in Paris and hopes for a speedy resolution to the crisis.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims on their tragic loss," said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement on Saturday, adding: "We stand in solidarity with France in this difficult time and will assist to bring those responsible to justice.

"These brutal acts of terror are another reminder of the need to remain vigilant and work closely to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism."

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Singapore alert level raised after Paris attacks

Singapore has raised its alert level in response to the Paris terrorist attacks. In a statement this morning, Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam said security measures, border checks and vigilance have been stepped up.

“These attacks (in Paris) show that no country is immune, even when there is a state of heightened security”, he said.

Mr Shanmugam asked all Singaporeans to play a part in keeping Singapore safe and secure. He encouraged everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities or persons to the authorities.

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Paris attacks: Singapore condemns strikes, PM Lee says it is 'attack on our shared humanity'
Police officers manning a cordon at the scene of an attack near the Stade de France in Paris on Nov 13, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Singapore has strongly condemned the multiple terror attacks in Paris, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calling it "an attack on our shared humanity".

"It is not the first time innocent civilians have been massacred like this in this troubled world. But each time it happens we again feel appalled and outraged beyond words, for an attack like this is in fact an attack on our shared humanit," PM Lee wrote in a Facebook post.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and to the people and government of Paris and France.

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Paris attacks: 3 Singaporean students recount panic, screaming and shouting
People warming up under protective thermal blankets as they gather on a street near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, on Nov 14, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

Singapore students Diana Poh, Eugene Peter and Ong Zihui ran for their lives as multiple terrorist attacks on entertainment sites took place in France's capital city on Friday (Nov 13) night, leaving at least 120 dead and five assailants killed.

Speaking to The Straits Times at 8.30am Saturday morning, the three students from Singapore Management University, who are in Paris on an exchange programme, reported that they were safe in their apartment near the Republic Metro station.

They say it is about a 10-minute walk away from the Bataclan concert area where hostages were taken. Media reported that dozens at Bataclan were killed when French forces launched a rescue operation.

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Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also sent condolences in a Facebook post

He wrote: "Condolences to our French friends over the loss of so many lives. We wish them courage and steadfastness as they deal with the situation.

"Even with the best efforts by security agencies, such attacks can still occur.It's important that our social and psychological defence remains strong, and that we are all ready to withstand and recover from any attack which may occur, and remain united and strong."

Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Singapore "strongly condemns" the attacks and  hopes for a speedy resolution to the crisis.

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Full Coverage:
Paris attacks: French press react with horror, saying, 'This time it's war'
Be mentally prepared to deal with terror attack if it happens: PM Lee
Tackle terror on multiple fronts: PM Lee
Nations cannot keep silent on threat of terrorism: PM Lee
Solidarity among nations, communities key to tackling terrorism threat: PM Lee
Terrorism threat in Southeast Asia a 'serious, difficult' issue: PM Lee
G-20: No easy solutions to fight terrorism, world leaders must stand in
Terrorism threat has crystallised, said PM Lee before attack

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Paris unites in defiant solidarity, then scatters in panic
Masagos 'saddened' by those who defend massacre
Governments must deal with ideology behind terrorism too: PM Lee
Paris attacks: France responds with airstrikes against Isis in Syria
France bombs IS stronghold as Paris attacker escapes
Paris suicide vests mark change of tactics and new threat
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G-20: No easy solutions to fight terrorism, world leaders must stand in
Governments must deal with ideology behind terrorism too: PM Lee
Terrorism threat in Southeast Asia a 'serious, difficult' issue: PM Lee
Terrorism threat has crystallised, said PM Lee before attack
Singapore leaders send condolences to france
G20 Summit opens in Turkey with minute's silence for Paris victims
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Singapore alert level raised after Paris attacks
Solidarity among nations, communities key to tackling terrorism threat: PM Lee
Terrorism threat in Southeast Asia a 'serious, difficult' issue: PM Lee
G-20: No easy solutions to fight terrorism, world leaders must stand in
Terrorism threat has crystallised, said PM Lee before attack
Governments must deal with ideology behind terrorism too: PM Lee
Singapore leaders send condolences to france
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