‘Do SG ministers really always have security with them?’ — Ministers’ security sparks online interest

‘Do SG ministers really always have security with them?’ — Ministers’ security sparks online interest

SINGAPORE: A Reddit user asked whether ministers in Singapore always have security personnel with them, adding that he had seen many instances where even former Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “was interacting with ordinary people and there was no security personnel to be seen.”

In a July 7 post on r/askSingapore, a Redditor added that even with security personnel present, it seemed like Lee was “way too close to regular people.”

They then asked whether this is unique to Singapore, as they had never seen Russian President Vladimir Putin or US President Joseph Biden “just hanging out with ordinary people at a random small event”.

Instead, they are often seen in public with “more than 30 guards, a few snipers on a nearby rooftop and a dozen bulletproof cars with hidden turrets and machine guns or something waiting by the side of the road.”

Commentators on the report rushed to assure him that while ministers in Singapore do have security details, they are in plain clothes.

“Security is in the interest of the country, not the politicians,” added one.

The author of the post said that during major events they have seen security personnel in plain clothes around the former prime minister, but at smaller events such as HDB community events there must be fewer security personnel who appear “not even to come near LHL”.

“If you compare this to other world leaders, it is obvious that there are a dozen undercover guards surrounding the leader,” they added.

Another noted that before becoming prime minister, Lawrence Wong always had at least one security guard with him. The same goes for Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong.

“I find it hard to imagine LHL doesn’t always have at least two bodyguards around him, even at community events. Maybe you’re not looking hard enough or they’re damn good at blending in,” the commentator added, saying the security detail isn’t that hard to spot as they’re mostly middle-aged men with earbuds and faces that look “like you owe them money, very stoic and serious.”

Others pointed out that the fact that the author of the post could barely see the security details of the civilian clothes shows that they are doing a good job.

One commentator noted that the leaders of some European countries are rarely seen with security personnel and are even photographed cycling to work.

Another said that too many security personnel at neighborhood events would intimidate residents, and that politicians don’t want that.

A Reddit user who had experience with events attended by Mr Lee said that people allowed near him were pre-screened and that there were parts of the event grounds that were off-limits to others.

“Normally, the regular ministers have only one agent following them day in and day out. The minister drives his own car, etc. and the agent follows them only to ensure basic protection.

The critical roles that can attract a larger threat (e.g. President, Prime Minister, SM, Minister of Defense, Interior, Finance) will have a team deployed with 1-2 SecCom vehicles following them, etc,” one commentator explained. /TISG

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