Opening Address at SGSecure@Workplaces Seminar 2019
Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad, Suntec Convention Centre
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good morning! Thank you for joining us at our SGSecure@Workplaces Seminar 2019.
No letting down of guard
2. Terrorism is an on-going threat. In March this year, a terror attack in New Zealand claimed about 50 lives. Shortly after, in April, a series of attacks in Sri Lanka took more than 250 lives. Terrorism is real and present danger. Singapore continues to be a target of terrorist groups. It is not if, but when. Hence we need to press on with efforts through the SGSecure@Workplaces programme.
3. Many companies have come on-board. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is one such company.
4. Earlier this month, it was the first hotel in Singapore to participate in Exercise Heartbeat, a counter-terrorism exercise. Crowne Plaza’s efforts were spearheaded by Mr Charlie Wong. Mr Wong is the Security and Risk Manager of the hotel and one of our SGSecure representatives. Mr Wong has been working closely with MOM to prepare his workplace under the SGSecure@Workplaces programme since its inception. Using materials from the programme, the terror threat was incorporated into the hotel’s previously established risk management framework. To familiarise all its staff with the emergency response procedures, Mr Wong helps to ensure that all employees, including the senior management, attend a refresher course every six months. Mr Wong’s readiness in preparing himself and his workplace is something we can all learn from. We should never let our guard down and continue to raise our workplace preparedness.
Steady progress achieved
5. Crowne Plaza is an example of how the SGSecure@Workplaces programme has made good and steady progress since its launch in September 2017.
6. We set ourselves a three-year target of registering 57,000 SGSecure representatives. We have achieved this target within the first year of the programme. We now have over 60,000 registered SGSecure representatives. This includes many of you here today.
7. The role of SGSecure representatives is an important one as they will take the lead to:
a. Firstly, prepare and sensitise fellow employees to the terror threat by sharing educational information from MOM during peace time,
b. Secondly, protect their workplaces by adopting tips on protective measures from MOM; and
c. Thirdly, partner the community by serving as the point of contact to disseminate information quickly in times of crisis and foster a united response.
8. Beyond appointing SGSecure representatives, many companies have also taken the next important step of putting in place risk management plans that address the terror threat. Since the launch of the programme, over 11,000 companies have attained bizSAFE level 3.
9. In fact, I was told that the venue we are at today - Suntec Convention Centre – is very active and has also been proactive in conducting briefing sessions to new employees on its emergency procedures. I was also happy to learn that as a bizSAFE Level Star organisation, Suntec Convention Centre is committed to ensuring the safety and security of everyone in the centre. Its sister organisation, the Suntec Office and Mall have also achieved bizSAFE level 3 certification in 2017.
Strong support from stakeholders vital
10. The good and steady progress would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of all our stakeholders. Some of you have been proactive in helping to encourage our companies be more prepared. One example is Mr Ho Nai Chuen and his team.
11. Mr Ho Nai Chuen is the Managing Director of On Cheong Jewellery and one of our Workplace Community Leaders. He has been dedicating efforts to raise the workplace preparedness of On Cheong Jewellery and its employees. In addition, he has also been actively encouraging fellow business owners within the Singapore Jewellers Association to take active steps to do the same. He is even planning to share with them learning points he gleaned from various SGSecure@Workplaces engagements with fellow industry players. Such efforts will help create greater awareness of the importance of SGSecure. It has also laid a strong foundation for us to move to the next phase of our efforts.
Next phase of SGSecure@Workplaces efforts
12. Our response matters in a crisis. Otherwise, businesses will find it difficult to recover and resume operations. Our social fabric may also be affected.
13. The theme of today’s seminar “Doing our part to raise organisational resilience against terrorism” emphasises the focus for the next phase of SGSecure@Workplaces efforts. We want to strengthen the implementation of core mitigating measures, which include familiarising our workforce with emergency response procedures, strengthening workplace security measures and fostering a strong and united workforce. We have adopted a three-pronged approach to achieve this:
a. First, our resource materials will be made more accessible to all SGSecure representatives. We have revamped our Ministry of Manpower SGSecure@Workplaces website and also expanded the range of materials available. Now, you can download posters to print and display at the workplace to sensitise fellow employees to the terror threat. Other resources such as case studies to help SGSecure representatives gain insights on raising workplace preparedness, and anti-terrorism measure tips for businesses are also now available. We also have lesson plans for SGSecure representatives to support them in their training efforts for their companies. We will continue to obtain feedback from you as we improve the website continuously.
b. Second, we will customise existing resource materials to make it more relevant for the different priority sectors. We are developing a new guide, starting with two sectors, the Food and Beverages and the Retail sectors. The guide is based on research, consultations with partner agencies, domain experts and industry players. This guide will be available in the later part of the year.
c. Third, for workplaces where there are no SGSecure representatives, we will step up our outreach to them. Many of these workplaces are in the retail malls. Therefore, we will focus on working with mall operators to directly engage their tenants. A small scale pilot was launched last year with Frasers Centrepoint and Asiamall to engage their tenants. We have been able to reach out to a total of 1,600 tenants across 11 malls. This approach has proven to be effective in significantly raising the basic awareness of tenants.
14. We will scale up our effort this year. One mall operator that has newly come on-board this year is CapitaLand. We will start to reach out to the tenants in 15 CapitaLand malls in the next few months. We encourage more operators to come on board and help sustain the momentum to make our workplaces safer.
15. All of us have a role to play to build prepared workplaces and cultivate a strong and resilient business community.
16. This will not be an easy journey as we will need to change the mindset many may have, of taking Singapore’s safety and security for granted.
17. With your support, we are confident of gradually preparing our workforce, protecting our workplaces and partnering our community against the terror threat.
18. Thank you and have a fruitful seminar.