According to a new law passed by the single party government, Minister Josephine Teo said that lethal weapons like machine guns would be used if Singaporeans protest and refuse to listen to police orders:
“The use of lethal weapon may occur when it is reasonably necessary to prevent persons, vehicles or vessels from entering the cordoned area, or to remove them from the cordoned area; as well as to disperse processions and assemblies in the target area.”
The new law called the Public Order and Safety (Special Power) Act (POSSPA), contain pre-colonial laws enacted in 1958 that would allow the government to legally fire at civilians. The Act would be controlled by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.
Minister Josephine Teo threatened that Singapore laws have to go to such extremes because the island is a “prized target”:
“In Singapore, it is difficult to imagine the circumstances under which the powers in this Bill would be required. We see news reports of gunmen attacks, hostage incidents. But they are happening elsewhere, not in Singapore. Not yet, fortunately. We may not be so fortunate every time. Because a terror attack hasn’t happened in Singapore yet, it is difficult to appreciate the severity of the threat, and to imagine the grave consequences. The reality is that Singapore faces a clear and continuing threat. Foreign terrorists see Singapore as a prized target … We should therefore not be lulled into a false sense of security. We have to prepare.”
Refusing to accept any objection, Minister Josephine Teo said the dictatorship “studied” terrorist attacks around the world and concluded that giving the government lethal power would be safest for Singaporeans:
The POSSPA was put forth only after studying terrorist attacks across the world, and the limitations and problems countries faced in dealing with them. Even as we debate the extent of the special powers, let us remember that we will never really know whether our preparations go far enough, until they are put to the test in an actual incident. The bottom line is this: It is up to us to safeguard Singaporeans and Singapore if and when we come under a terror attack. In this, we must not fail.”