Singapore MRT and buses: more should be done to beef up security?

In the wake of the bomb blast outside a church in Alexandria, Egypt, an MFA spokesman said, ‘The incident is another sombre reminder that terrorism continues to remain a serious threat and all countries have to remain vigilant and take tough counter-terrorist action in the fight against this scourge.’

Indeed, we’ve been warned that Singapore is on the radar of terrorist groups. 

I’m worried that the authorities are not doing enough to prevent a terrorist strike. As the tragic attacks in Spain and England have shown, transport networks are soft targets.

I dont think our MRT and bus system are  adequately protected. I’m not trying to be alarmist but compared to other countries we seem to be complacent.

In Bangkok subway, I had to pass through a metal detector and had to open my backpack for inspection. 

In Japan, police officers are stationed at subway stations. I noticed they patrolled in pairs or alone. They looked alert and focused. In Kyoto I was questioned because I obviously looked like a foreigner to them or they are trained to spot one.

In Egypt i saw metal detectors everywhere – hotels, tourist sites, banks, railway stations and government offices. The subway is heavily guarded from the entrance to the underpass all the way to the turnstiles. 

In contrast, it took a prankster, Oliver Fricker, who broke into an SMRT depot to make the authorities sit up. Now I notice there are police patrols on the MRT but why they do it in such a big group I don’t understand. 

We should have police officers stationed in the turnstile area as in Japan to scrutinize those who enter the MRT. 

MORE  should be done to beef up security on our transport system. Though checking every bag is not feasible at least some inspection should be done. At present anyone carrying a large backpack can easily enter the MRT. 

It’s far far better to deter and prevent a terrorist strike than try to repair the damage later.

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