Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Defence

Singapore strengthens cyber defence with new organisation
It will also bolster round-the-clock protection of networks, build force of cyber defenders
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

Singapore is setting up a new Defence Cyber Organisation (DCO) to bolster its defences against the growing threat of online attacks, as it moves to boost the round-the-clock protection of its military networks.

It will also build a force of cyber defenders - tapping national servicemen, both full-time and operationally ready men - who will lead the charge in this new battlefront.

These moves are vital in the light of the Defence Ministry's (MINDEF) disclosure earlier this week that the personal details of 850 NSmen and staff were stolen, a theft uncovered last month.

"We can expect more of such cyber attacks in the future," Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday when announcing the DCO in Parliament during the debate on MINDEF's budget.

Dealing with such security threats, including fake news, is increasingly important for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), which as a fighting force is relying more often on computer technology.

Cyber warfare is a growing phenomenon. Dr Ng cited Ukraine's power grid being hit by cyber attacks and, in the US presidential election, the computers of the Democratic National Committee were hacked by unknown sources to discredit its candidate Hillary Clinton.

Fake news inflamed ethnic and political tensions in Indonesia, prompting it to form an agency to counter cyber crime and fake news.

"Modern militaries can no longer choose to ignore these external threats through the digital front,'' said Dr Ng.

Explaining the make-up of the DCO, he said it is "at the highest level of our organisational hierarchy".

It will have four formations, each with different roles, including overseeing the cyber security of all defence agencies and building up cyber defence capabilities.

The DCO will be led by a deputy secretary and the formations by a colonel or a flag officer, who is either a general or an admiral.

It fortifies the military's past efforts at securing its cyber defence. These include the 2013 Cyber Defence Operations Hub, which gathers its cyber-security experts under one command.

The round-the-clock monitoring of the military networks will be carried out by two units of the Cyber Defence Group (CDG) formation.

They are the Security Monitoring Unit and Incident Response and Audit Unit, whose teams will identify and neutralise cyber threats.

Under the units' watch, the security of SAF's networks will also be audited for resilience.

The CDG also has the Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre, which has been operational since 2015 but was unveiled yesterday.

The ministry plans to have about 2,600 cyber defenders in 10 years - a big jump from the current numbers that "reflects the importance of this new battlefront", said Dr Ng.

SAF will also partner Singapore Technologies Electronics (Info-Security) and Nanyang Polytechnic to provide, among others, industrial attachments and joint development of cyber defence curriculum.

Two new defence technology labs are to be set up, to develop robotics, and exploit artificial intelligence and data analytics.

In addition, a new $900 million training ground covering 88ha will be built to give SAF soldiers a realistic combat experience.

Dr Ng said: "Even as we set up a new cyber command and technology labs... we must never neglect to train the SAF as a conventional force against traditional threats... and terrorism."

$900m urban training area in the west to hone soldiers' skills
SAFTI City, a state-of-the-art training facility as big as Bishan, will take some 10 years to build
By Chong Zi Liang, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

A new training area the size of Bishan town will be built in western Singapore to let soldiers hone their urban and coastal defence fighting skills in realistic settings.

One sector of the 88ha area - dubbed SAFTI City - will be packed with shophouse clusters, high-rise interconnected buildings, low-rise residences, basement carparks, a bus interchange and even an MRT station with multiple exits.

To train island defence capabilities, another sector located near the Poyan Reservoir will house a petrochemical complex, warehouses, container parks and industrial buildings. New grounds for infantry and armoured vehicle drills will be developed in the three existing training areas of Pasir Laba, Ama Keng and the Murai Urban Training Facility.

A variety of training scenarios - called Instrumented Battle Circuits - can be simulated in these areas.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced the SAFTI City in Parliament yesterday, adding that it would cost about $900 million and take about a decade to build.

He said that while Singapore is building new training facilities overseas due to finite land at home, it also sees the need to build world- class training facilities here.

"We must guard against over-dependence on overseas training grounds. It is not possible for all our NSmen to train only overseas as the bulk of our training is still conducted locally, especially for our army," said Dr Ng.

The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said later in a statement that SAFTI City is part of a revamp of existing training areas in western Singapore to make better use of the land available for military purposes.

With more than 200 buildings of varying heights and types, and extensive road networks, SAFTI City will allow troops to train in different types of operations, from homeland security and counter-terrorism to disaster relief, MINDEF added.

SAFTI City, which takes it name from the nearby SAFTI Military Institute, will also be outfitted with instruments and video cameras that will instantly track the actions of units and individual soldiers.

This data can then be analysed and used to help troops learn from past exercises.

In his speech, Dr Ng said the key feature of SAFTI City will be the state-of-the-art training simulation built into its facilities to replicate different environments that soldiers operate in.

For instance, interactive targets and battlefield effects such as artillery attacks will allow soldiers to train more realistically, he said.

"SAFTI City will take our NS training to a much higher level of realism and effectiveness," he added.

Robots could fight alongside soldiers in next-generation SAF
By Adrian Lim, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

Singapore's soldiers could see robots fighting alongside them in the future, in the form of unmanned ground vehicles armed with machine guns.

In the skies, micro unmanned aerial drones may provide troops with greater situational awareness.

These are the scenarios for the next generation of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) which were revealed by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) yesterday during the debate on its budget.

To design, build and test these robots, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced that a robotics laboratory will be set up next month in the DSO National Laboratories.

Dr Ng said that currently, soldiers with the 6th Singapore Infantry Regiment are experimenting with unmanned aerial and ground vehicles to perform missions.

The next-generation SAF will also tap data analytics to enhance counter-terrorism operations, said MINDEF. To build capabilities in these areas, the Defence Science and Technology Agency will set up an analytics and artificial intelligence laboratory.

Dr Ng noted how the Singapore Maritime Crisis Centre, which monitors over 1,500 commercial shipping vessels daily, used artificial intelligence to detect a possible supporter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria who was on board a tanker in 2015.

"That person was barred from disembarking into Singapore. Finding this needle in a big haystack is possible only through modern means," said Dr Ng, who also announced an inaugural Singapore Defence Technology Summit to be held early next year, likely on a biennial basis.

For funding, both technology labs will be given a total grant of $45 million annually for a start, he said.

Dr Ng said MINDEF has projected that the defence budget can be maintained on the current trajectory of 3 per cent to 4 per cent annually, even with new demands to renew its assets. These include the replacement of two submarines and the upgrading of F-16 aircraft with new weapons and radars.

Where possible, costs will be cut, Dr Ng said. The army, for example, has a new "Smart" magazine, which can simulate the firing of blank rounds, and will save the force $1.4 million a year, he said.

"But MINDEF will not hesitate to push for higher spending if there are increasing new demands or if the security environment deteriorates," he added.

WSQ accreditation for skills learnt during national service
The 23 accredited SAF courses, including Basic Military Training, will give NSmen a boost in their future careers
By Chong Zi Liang, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

A total of 23 courses conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are now accredited under the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) scheme, a move aimed at giving national servicemen a leg-up in their future careers.

These courses include the Basic Military Training (BMT) for most recruits except for commando or naval diver trainees, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said yesterday.

In all, more than 96 per cent of full-time national servicemen (NSFs) who enlist from this January will receive the WSQ annually.

The move to accredit SAF courses under the WSQ is to recognise that servicemen attain leadership, technical and specialist skills that meet professional standards accepted by industries, Second Defence Minister Ong Ye Kung said yesterday in Parliament.

"In fact, the teamwork we learn in NS is very much better than most commercial courses on teamwork," he added.

The WSQ is a national training framework that trains and certifies individuals in skills that are valued by employers. Under the framework, workers gain qualifications ranging from certificates to advanced diplomas. Those who do not get a full qualification will get a statement of attainment (SOA) for each module they complete.

For instance, an NSF with a Physical Employment Status of A or B will get two SOAs under the Employability Skills WSQ framework after completing BMT.

Commanders will receive additional accreditation for their leadership skills. So, a naval officer will get a level three advanced certificate - level six is the highest WSQ qualification - under the Leadership and People Management WSQ framework after completing the Officer Cadet School course.

MINDEF and SAF have been working with SkillsFuture Singapore to expand accreditation across the armed forces, said Mr Ong, who is also Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills). Skills accreditation is one of several ways to improve the national service experience and deploy servicemen more effectively, he said, as Singapore marks the 50th anniversary of NS this year.

He also listed how the military would make its soldiers fitter and provide safer training, as he described servicemen as "our most precious resource in the SAF".

He announced a new Centre for Excellence for Soldier Performance that will be up by the end of the year.

It will focus on developing fitness regimes, soldier nutrition studies, injury prevention programmes, and rehabilitation regimes to help injured national servicemen recover. It will also look into enhancing the mental strength of soldiers.

The SAF is also looking at how to better deploy its manpower as technology advances, said Mr Ong.

He noted that combat engineers in the past had to lift and hold heavy loads to assemble a bridge, but their counterparts today can do so with the push of a few buttons, thanks to new hardware that makes use of a hydraulic arm.

Thus, the SAF has been reviewing vocation requirements in terms of fitness and abilities, said Mr Ong, without elaborating.

He also updated the House on a review of the SAF's safety system by an external panel of safety experts that began in October 2013.

The panel completed its work recently and reported that the SAF's health and safety system is internationally one of the best, he said.

But there are also a few areas for improvement, such as the need to strengthen safety culture in SAF units and further promote open reporting of near-miss incidents.

The SAF has accepted the panel's findings and will improve on these areas, Mr Ong said.

Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Home Affairs

Security for events, buildings to be tightened
New laws this year will require businesses to adopt measures to guard against threats
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

Security for major events and new, large-scale commercial buildings will be improved as part of an ongoing drive to harden Singapore against the terror threat.

The Government will enact new laws this year to require businesses to adopt "certain measures" to guard against security threats, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said yesterday.

The Public Order Act will be amended to require security measures at events with large crowds and those deemed to be at high risk of terrorist attacks.

A new Infrastructure Protection Act will also be introduced, to ensure selected key buildings have enough protection. It will require new, large-scale commercial buildings to go through a review during the design stage to determine what security measures are needed.

These proposed legal changes were among various initiatives announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) to counter the terror threat that Singapore faces, which remains high.

Mr Lee said his ministry will take a "practical approach" to keep costs reasonable for businesses.

During the debate on MHA's budget, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam told Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) that the threat from terror groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) remains high.

Responding to Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), the minister outlined how the Home Team is strengthening capabilities.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has started collecting iris scans to better verify travellers' identities, he said.

And frontline police officers will soon have their revolvers replaced with pistols which carry thrice the amount of ammunition.

Last year, the police rolled out emergency response teams - crack troops to respond to terror attacks. More cameras are also being installed in public areas to boost surveillance.

The Home Team will also ramp up its use of technology, including using drones to support operations.

Singapore's tough security laws, like the Internal Security Act, also play a critical role in combating the threat, Mr Shanmugam said, adding: "We will deal with anyone who engages in conduct that is potentially a trigger for terrorism. If necessary, we will detain the person."

He highlighted two examples in Europe where the authorities had to let terror suspects go because of a lack of evidence - these men eventually went on to conduct attacks.

"We should not reach this stage in Singapore. The trade-off for us is between taking a greater risk or intervening earlier. My view is that we must be able to intervene early and decisively," he said.

Meanwhile, Senior Minister of State for Defence Maliki Osman highlighted the threat posed by fake news, citing the newspaper reports which distorted facts and led to the Maria Hertogh riots in 1950 as an example of how information attacks could divide society.

This threat is far more dangerous now with the Internet and websites that post false claims, he added.

Terror groups like ISIS are also releasing propaganda online targeting Muslims in the region, noted Dr Maliki. "Our youths who are active on social media are particularly vulnerable," he said, urging individuals who come across extremist material online to check with the local religious authorities, and then counter these views.

MINDEF will also prepare its troops to counter terror threats - the new $900 million SAFTI City will have facilities for such training operations.

Singapore police seen as world-class crime fighters: Survey
By Seow Bei Yi, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

The Singapore Police Force scored high marks in the latest public perception survey, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam revealed yesterday, in the light of recent discussion about the public service.

"An incredible number of the public holds the police in high regard. Eighty-seven per cent regarded the police as a world-class crime-fighting organisation," Mr Shanmugam said during the Budget debate.

The 2016 survey involved 4,800 Singaporeans and permanent residents. The survey also showed that 90 per cent of respondents believe the police are ready to deal with any major law and order incident, and are well prepared to respond to future security needs, he said. Meanwhile, 88 per cent feel the police provide "a high quality of service".

Separately, 93 per cent of the respondents said they felt safe walking in their neighbourhood at night.

Mr Shanmugam credited the heightened police presence and the quick arrest of criminals as some reasons for the high score. "All of this reflects the extraordinary level of faith and trust Singaporeans have in the police force. I have no doubt that the same goes for other Home Team departments... Many law enforcement agencies around the world envy this," he added.

A key factor is the "immense dedication and commitment of our Home Team officers", said Mr Shanmugam, adding that the overall crime rate last year of 588 cases per 100,000 population was the lowest since 2014. That year, the figure was 589 cases per 100,000 people.

The survey results, made known to him on Thursday, may have been about the police, but they also give perspective to the discussions about the public service that had taken place in Parliament this week, he said. During day two of the Budget debate on Wednesday, several MPs cited anecdotes showing how the public service should think out of the box, and be less zealous about guarding its own turf.

Nominated MP Kuik Shiao-Yin said more could be done for the working poor, while Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) said he was concerned the public service may lack heart in its pursuit of efficiency, and Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) pointed out that public servants can guard their turf too jealously, to Singaporeans' detriment.

These cases arise because of structural reasons or inter-agency issues, but "are the exception and not the rule", said Mr Shanmugam, who is the latest minister to defend the public service, after Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee did so on Thursday. Said Mr Shanmugam: "In a large majority of cases, our public servants are outstanding, dedicated and go well beyond the call of duty and serve with heart," he said, adding that Mr Ng, Ms Lee and Ms Kuik share this view.


4,800 Singaporeans and permanent residents were surveyed by the police last year.

93 per cent felt safe walking in their neighbourhood at night.

92 per cent rated general safety and security in Singapore as "good" or "very good".

90 per cent believed the police are ready to deal with any major law and order incident, and are well prepared to respond to future security needs.

88 per cent felt that the police provide a high quality of service.

87 per cent regarded the police as a world-class crime-fighting organisation.

Almost half said the installation of police cameras at housing estates made them feel safer.

SGSecure reaching out to workplaces
Movement will train public officers, engage businesses and unions, and hold briefings for various industries
By Nur Asyiqin Mohamad Salleh, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

Singapore's big push to get its people ready to respond to a crisis is making its way to workplaces.

Since its launch last year, the SGSecure movement has hit the heartland, where outreach efforts are under way to teach residents how to respond in the event of an attack.

This year, it will extend its reach to workplaces, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday, urging companies to get involved.

He was giving more details on how SGSecure is set to grow this year. Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC), Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) and Ms Rahayu Mahzam (Jurong GRC) had sought updates on the initiative during the debate on the Home Affairs Ministry's budget.

The SGSecure programme will train public officers and work with the Manpower Ministry, the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore Business Federation to engage businesses and unions.

There will be SGSecure briefings and conferences, customised Emergency Preparedness Days and counter-terrorism seminars for industries, such as the security, manufacturing and hospitality sectors.

Efforts to strengthen community cohesion and resilience are set to continue, Mr Shanmugam said in a speech that sketched out the tense security backdrop in the region, and detailed how the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group has hit closer to home.

"We need to make sure our community comes together as one united people after an attack," he said.

Ms Rahayu also wanted to know how Singapore can better train its community leaders to respond in the wake of an attack.

Mr Shanmugam said a Crisis Response Exercise, which brings community stakeholders together in a simulated attack scenario, is being piloted within the constituencies.

Home Team psychologists will partner with the People's Association, and with psychologists from the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Institute of Mental Health, to support and train grassroots leaders in giving psychological first aid to affected residents.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said the Home Team is also stepping up efforts to strengthen its partnerships with the community.

Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok) has praised the Home Team for its hard work in keeping Singapore safe and secure, in a world grappling with rising threats to peace and security.

"We cannot afford to be complacent. The heavy responsibility of protecting Singapore does not and should not rest on the ministry and the Home Team alone," he said.

"We must recognise that this is a collective responsibility, which requires the combined effort of all of us who call Singapore our home."

Mr Lee agreed, saying: "An active citizenry that is invested in the safety and security of Singapore is essential to the Home Team's work."

He cited the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF's) Save-a-Life initiative, which aims to build a network of trained community responders to help those who suffer a cardiac arrest, as an example.

About 2,000 residents have been trained, and the programme hopes to train more than 24,000 residents in the coming years, he said.

More automated external defibrillators (AEDs) will be installed. By 2019, there will be 5,000 AEDs across Singapore - one for every two HDB blocks in all constituencies - up from close to 460 installed in eight constituencies currently.

Mr Lee encouraged more people to learn AED and cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills, and download the SCDF's myResponder app.

It alerts users to a report of somebody with cardiac arrest nearby, enabling them to respond quickly.

Positive peer 'influencers' to spread anti-drug message
By Seow Bei Yi, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is ramping up its social media presence and looking to positive "influencers" to help spread its anti-drug message.

Amid the growing challenge of keeping Singapore drug-free, the Home Affairs Ministry announced a comprehensive strategy to engage youth yesterday, with prevention as its first line of defence.

Yesterday, Dr Tan Wu Meng (Jurong GRC) asked how young Singaporeans could be steered away from picking up the drug habit at an early age in the face of peer pressure.

Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin responded by revealing a new initiative to establish positive "influencers" in peer circles.

Young people from the Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics and universities have already signed up for this pilot of the Anti-Drug Advocate Programme, he said.

Youth who have signed up will learn about Singapore's drug policies and the harmful effects of substances, he added.

"They will visit halfway houses and drug rehabilitation centres, hearing first-hand accounts from ex-abusers on how hard it is to kick the drug habit," he said. "These youth will see what is really at stake if they try drugs."

Mr Amrin said the aim is to encourage youth to start initiatives that spread the anti-drug message among their friends.

"Prevention is the first line of defence," he added. "A key part of the battle is won if we can keep people away from drugs."

CNB statistics showed that close to two-thirds of new drug abusers arrested last year were below the age of 30.

There were also more cases of students abusing drugs, said Mr Amrin, replying to a question from Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) about the drug situation here.

Yesterday, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam reiterated the need to safeguard Singapore's tough stance against drugs.

"The challenge of keeping Singapore drug-free is increasing," he said.

There are growing threats from the region, with South-east Asia being a major market and producer of illicit drugs. There is also a growing number of new drug abusers.

A survey by the National Council Against Drug Abuse last year found that young people below 30 were more open-minded towards drugs, compared with the figure in 2013, Mr Shanmugam said.

This problem is compounded by the rise of drugs available online, with black market sites allowing users to buy them anonymously.

While many think that only young people from low-income households are vulnerable, Mr Shanmugam said, a 2014 study found that most young cannabis abusers came from middle or high socio-economic backgrounds, and often did well in school.

He also said "there is increasing international pressure to adopt a softer, harm-reduction, approach".

But suggestions that such pressure will lead Singapore to deviate from its policies - such as the death penalty - are "delusional", he added.

"We do what is right for Singapore. A penalty will be in the books if we believe it to be right. It will be removed if we believe that removal is the right thing to do, and not because of any international pressure."

He added: "We have to remain steadfast in our resolve to keep Singapore drug-free."

Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Law

Framework for in-house counsel to take effect this year
It will act as national standard and cover three competencies - legal, business and conduct
By Ng Huiwen, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

A new competency framework to raise the standards of in-house counsel will be launched this year, and the Ministry of Law will explore if it should be made mandatory in the future, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah.

Speaking during the debate on the ministry's budget yesterday, she said it will monitor the adoption of the framework.

She added that the ministry, together with the Economic Development Board, has been actively encouraging companies to "anchor their decision makers with global or regional mandate in Singapore". This includes in-house legal teams.

Singapore had more in-house legal employees than Hong Kong and Shanghai in 2014, she noted, citing a study of Fortune Global 500 employment in corporate functions by Aon.

Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) said the framework will set out a clearer career pathway for in-house counsel at different seniority levels.

It will act as a national standard for the in-house industry, he added.

Developed by the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (SCCA), it will cover three categories of competencies: legal, business and conduct.

"Singapore should aim to be, and is certainly capable of becoming, the Asian hub for in-house legal capability," said Mr Tay, a corporate member of the SCCA. "This will help attract multinational corporations, whether Western or Asian, to invest or continue to invest here."

SCCA president Wong Taur-Jiun told The Straits Times yesterday that the association has been working on the framework for about a year, with its launch targeted for the second or third quarter of the year .

On top of some 2,000 in-house counsel here, recruiters and employers can benefit by referring to the framework during their hiring and training processes, he added.

To further develop the in-house legal talent pool, Mr Tay urged the Government to make the framework mandatory "at some point".

"Singapore is one of the few countries in which in-house counsel are not required to meet any form of professional standards, or any form of continuing education," he said.

Ms Indranee agreed with the need to upgrade capabilities among legal professionals: "To ensure that our legal industry continues to be vibrant and competitive internationally, key stakeholders must actively embrace disruptive change and grasp the opportunities at hand."

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, in his speech, called for more growth in the use of Singapore law in the region.

Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) asked how the ministry can boost the country's status as a dispute resolution hub.

Mr Shanmugam said there is an increasing use of Singapore law in cross-border transactions in the region. However, "growth in this trend must come from businesses, led by parties and industries".

He added that "they will benefit from the emergence of a default Asian law." He noted that the ministry has supported various centres of excellence, including those specialising in regional law.

Several MPs also asked about enhancing access to justice. Mr Tay sought an update on cases under the Protection from Harassment Act, which came into force in November 2014.

As of Jan 31 this year, there have been 268 applications for protection orders filed by victims of sexual, workplace and online harassment, Ms Indranee said. And 96 protection orders have been granted, with 99 applications withdrawn. There were also 77 expedited protection orders granted.

Attorney-General's Chambers

Not an issue that deputy A-G is former PAP MP: Indranee Rajah
By Danson Cheong, The Straits Times, 4 Mar 2017

There should be no issue with the fact that Deputy Attorney-General (DAG) Hri Kumar Nair was a former People's Action Party (PAP) MP, Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah said yesterday.

She cited a number of countries that had attorneys-general with political affiliations, and pointed out that the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) needed the best legal talent Singapore could offer.

She was responding to Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC), who said appointing a party politician to the post could undermine "public confidence in the AGC's stated mission of fair and independent prosecution".

Ms Lim said this was because the AGC, as an organ of the state, should be independent and ready to rein in the Government if it "acts unlawfully or is abusing its power". Appointing a former MP to the DAG post is "not ideal" in such a context, she added.

Mr Nair, a senior counsel, began his three-year term as DAG this month. He was MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC from 2006 to 2015, and is no longer a PAP member.

In her response, Ms Indrane

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