MOSCOW, October 7 (RIA Novosti) - Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the country's Interior Minister, said Tuesday that the Islamic State (IS) poses a threat to the country, Business Standard reported.
"We have no information currently of any specific threat to us resulting directly from the anti-IS strikes. However, our assessment remains that the expansion of the IS beyond Syria and Iraq has raised the threat to Singapore," Business Standard reported the deputy prime minister as saying during a parliamentary session.
Earlier media reports stated that some Singaporeans fought for the IS and formed a militant group called Katibah Nusantara Lid Daulah Islamiyyah, or Malay Archipelago Unit, for the IS in Iraq and Syria.
"If this group expands in Southeast Asia, it will pose a regional terrorism threat like the JI [Jemaah Islamiya ] terrorist network, which had also aimed to set up a Southeast Asian Islamic Archipelago that encompassed Singapore, through the use of violence and terrorism," Teo stressed.
The deputy prime minister also warned the population against supporting militant groups like the IS.
"Any Singaporean who assists, supports, promotes or joins violent organisations like IS would have demonstrated a dangerous tendency to support the use of violence. Such a person poses a real threat to Singapore's national security, and will be dealt with in accordance with our laws," Channel News Asia quoted Teo as saying.
Teo also assured that Singaporean security services are closely monitoring the situation and are poised to thwart any threat to Singapore by foreign terrorists.
Foreign Affairs Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, also present at the parliament meeting, said the situation required international solidarity and that military force alone would not reduce the number of foreigners joining terrorists abroad since the problem is rooted in the spread of extremist ideology.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.