Budget Speech


    Safe and Secure Home for All

  1. A safe and secure Singapore gives us the confidence to chart an independent course.
  2. But we cannot take our peace, prosperity, and stability for granted.
    1. Singapore is vulnerable to the fluctuations in our region and the world.
    2. Against an increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment, our commitment to defence and security cannot waver. Diplomacy and deterrence are the twin pillars of our approach.
      1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works continuously to build good relations with our neighbours and the major powers, and to promote a rules-based international order with international laws and norms.
      2. A strong Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) lends weight to our diplomatic efforts and ensures that negotiations with Singapore are taken seriously. Should diplomacy fail, we must stand ready to safeguard our interests, and defend ourselves.
      3. The Home Team also works round-the-clock alongside other security agencies, to ensure a safe environment for all.
      4. We also now have the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore leading our efforts to protect our Critical Information Infrastructure from cyber threats, and to create a secure cyberspace for businesses and communities.
    3. These are fundamental to our sovereignty, our success, and to safeguarding our vital interests.
  3. Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world. Our crime rates are consistently low, but we must not be complacent.
  4. Security threats are evolving and becoming more complex.
    1. A strong SAF remains a bulwark against threats to our way of life.
    2. Terrorism threats to Singapore remain high.
      1. We continue to detect individuals in Singapore, who have been radicalised by terrorist propaganda.
      2. Globally, we see a rise in attacks perpetrated by radicalised individuals and cells.
      3. Such attacks are hard to prevent. We must stay vigilant.
    3. Beyond physical threats, malicious cyber activities are growing.
      1. The networked nature of our society has enhanced connectivity.
      2. But this can be exploited to disrupt and divide society, through cyber-attacks, the spread of falsehoods, or other means.
    4. In particular, foreign actors will try to influence our domestic affairs and politics.
      1. This is not new, but new technologies have made it easier for others to mount attacks with greater ease and intensity, and with more sophisticated tactics.
  5. To stay ahead of these threats, we must continue to innovate and build new capabilities to meet our security needs. Both the public and private sectors have a major role to play.
    1. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will set up a Home Team Science & Technology Agency by the end of this year, to develop science and technology capabilities to support the Home Team’s operational needs. These capabilities will strengthen the Home Team’s ability to carry out its mission of safeguarding Singapore. The Minister for Home Affairs will speak more about this at the Committee of Supply (COS).
    2. The private security industry has been stepping up efforts. A good example is Certis, which has redesigned its business processes, infusing technologies such as Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to deal with security threats.
    3. MHA will help to transform the private security industry through innovation and technology to meet growing needs, and be an effective partner to the Home Team.
  6. Our Total Defence approach will continue to keep Singapore safe and secure, with every Singaporean playing a part.
    1. At the national level, we plan long-term and take measures, such as stockpiling critical supplies, diversifying our sources of water supply, and strengthening our food security.
    2. As a people, we must have the psychological and emotional resilience to face crises stoically. As threats get more sophisticated, Singaporeans must stay vigilant, and guard against non-conventional forces that threaten to divide us.
    3. National Service (NS) has forged a deep understanding in our people that each and every one of us has the duty to defend our nation. When our young people serve NS, families and employers support them in every way possible
  7. With our Smart Nation drive, digital technology has become an integral part of our lives.
    1. To harness the digital advantage, we must be prepared to also deal with the threats that arise inevitably from its more pervasive use.
  8. Digital Defence has now been incorporated as the sixth pillar of Total Defence.
    1. Like the other pillars of Total Defence, Digital Defence involves everyone – individuals, community groups, businesses, and the Government.
    2. We must all play our part to be secure, alert and responsible online, be it through practising good cyber hygiene, being vigilant against fake news, and helping one another use technology safely.
    3. Last year, MINDEF launched the Cyber National Servicemen scheme, training national servicemen with the Singapore Institute of Technology, to raise our cyber defence capability.
  9. The Government is also engaging our tech community with programmes such as the Government Bug Bounty Programme, to achieve a higher level of collective cybersecurity.
  10. Given its strategic significance, the Government will continue to invest a significant share of our resources – about 30% of our total expenditure this year – to support our defence, security, and diplomacy efforts.
    1. This spending is significant, but indispensable.
    2. We will invest more, if the need arises, to protect the sovereignty of Singapore and the well-being of Singaporeans.
  11. Everyone has a role to play to keep Singapore safe and secure. Let us continue to stay united in defending our home and our way of life.