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New funding to get SME staff better prepared for terror incident

Industry groups will receive between S$25,000 and S$55,000, for getting businesses to take part

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"In this new security climate, businesses can no longer avoid making preparations for a possible attack. The key will be to ensure that the risks are adequately managed and a proper recovery plan is in place should an incident occur." - Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs Josephine Teo.

Singapore

BUSINESSES are being urged to have in place a plan in case of a terror attack, with Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs Josephine Teo saying that "the threat of terrorism is real and closer than we think".

"In this new security climate, businesses can no longer avoid making preparations for a possible attack," she said at the annual bizSafe convention at Singapore Expo on Wednesday.

"The key will be to ensure that the risks are adequately managed and a proper recovery plan is in place should an incident occur."

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To help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in five higher-risk sectors - food and beverage, retail, entertainment, hotels and transport - the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is in talks with their industry associations to fund the efforts.

The associations will receive between S$25,000 and S$55,000, depending on their success in encouraging businesses to take part.

They can use the money to get SMEs to appoint MOM-registered representatives for SGSecure - the national push to involve Singaporeans in the fight against terror - and to train employees in basic first-aid skills, as well as to raise awareness about terrorism threats at the workplace.

The talks are expected to conclude by the end of June.

The associations include the Singapore Nightlife Business Association, Singapore Hotel Association, Singapore Transport Association and Singapore School and Private Hire Bus Owners' Association.

The funding initiative comes after bizSafe - a five-step programme to improve safety at the workplace - was enhanced in September to incorporate elements of SGSecure.

Under the enhanced programme, workers will also learn how to respond to terror threats and incidents at their workplaces. They will learn about security considerations in risk management plans and workplace safety and health policies.

Almost 30,000 companies have joined the bizSafe programme, up from 1,900 when it started in 2007.

About 2,100 firms came on board after last September, said Mrs Teo.

"We expect at least another 3,000 companies in these sectors to come on board the enhanced bizSafe programme and become SGSecure-ready in the next three years," she added.

On Wednesday, LSK Engineering was one of the three firms which received the bizSafe Enterprise Exemplary Award (Gold). The award, given out for the first time this year, honours firms that won the bizSafe Enterprise Exemplary Award three years in a row. The award is given to companies with good workplace safety and health records.

LSK Engineering's managing director, Roger Heng, 56, said the company hired a private security and safety consultant to compile its own in-house SGSecure manual.

It guides employees on what to do if they should notice an unattended box or spot people behaving suspiciously, or see suspicious vehicles in and around the worksite."We put it up at all our worksites.

Employees are also given brief reminders at daily morning meetings, and more in-depth details at monthly mass meetings," said Mr Heng.

"Everyone from the top, down to the administrative staff and contractors, is informed about it."

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