‘Flag family members going astray’

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PETALING JAYA: It is the responsibility of families and friends of potentially radicalised people to alert authorities when their loved ones are “going astray”, Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said.

Speaking in the wake of terror attacks in London and Manchester, he said this will be helping the person, society and country.

“When you keep quiet and an attack like this happens – and you know security forces cannot be everywhere – then you are doing a serious injustice to the system,” Channel NewsAsia quoted him as saying.

Asked about the Manchester attack, where people had repeatedly flagged the bomber’s extremist views to authorities, Shanmugam said he would be “slow to blame intelligence agencies”.

“I find it odd that intelligence agencies get blamed when in a way, it’s society and the legal framework that has failed them.

“Britain has long allowed extremist preachers who have poisoned many Muslims, and Britain did so under the framework of freedom of speech.”

He said Britain’s legal tools for agencies to intervene are “relatively limited” as people there were concerned about the extension of state powers.

“You can’t turn the entire city into a garrison.

“You’ve got to make sure the conditions that create such ideas are nipped in the bud.”

The minister said Singapore had active state intervention.

“We prevent extremist preaching. We have laws that allow us to intervene much earlier than agencies in other societies can.”

Seven people were reported killed and more than 40 injured in London after three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and launched a knife attack on people enjoying a Saturday night out in pubs and restaurants around nearby Borough Market.

All three attackers, who were wearing fake bomb vests, were shot dead.

On May 22, 22 people were killed and dozens injured in a suicide bombing at the end of a concert by pop star Ariana Grande at an arena in Manchester.

The pop star is going ahead with a charity concert in Manchester later today in aid of the injured and families. She will be joined by others like Justin Biebr, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Take That and Miley Cyrus.

Prime Minister Najib Razak and his deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, joined other world leaders in condemning the latest fatal terror attack in the United Kingdom.