According to his written parliamentary response on Monday (Jan 8), Law Minister K Shanmugam has bent a long-time security law by allowing policemen who are foreigners to man cross-border checkpoints at Causeway and Tuas. The Law Minister also highlighted that more policeman jobs will go to foreigners in the future:
“Taiwanese auxiliary police officers (APOs) will be deployed at land checkpoints alongside Singaporean APOs. there are not enough Singaporean APOs to meet projected demand over the next few years.”
It is unknown whether the Taiwanese APOs will have conversational English standards.
The APOs are hired by Temasek Holdings-owned security firms, Certis Cisco and AETOs. Although the two companies are regulated by the Singapore Police, the security officers remain assets of the private sector and hence any responsibility for serious security incident will be blamed on the company and not the Singapore Police – just as the case of SMRT and the Land Transport Authority. Like public trains, the contracting process’s sole purpose is to divert taxpayers dollars to beef up Temasek Holdings’s profits.
There are currently 7,000 APOs deployed in Singapore according to the Law Minister in April 2016. However, no composition of the nationality was given. Unlike other countries requiring security officers to be at least a permanent resident, the Minister does not see foreigners taking up police officers’ roles as a security threat and potential loophole to international terrorism.