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Changi International Airport in Singapore. Changi Airport serves more than 100 airlines operating 6,100 weekly flights connecting Singapore to over 220 cities (Photo by Joyfull from Shutterstock.com).

Infrastructure Protection Act (IPA) to take effect from 18 Dec, no unauthorised photography and videography of Protected Areas (PAs) or Protected Places (PPs)

The Infrastructure Protection Act (IPA), which is touted to be part of counter-terrorism strategy to protect Singapore’s critical infrastructure, and buildings that are iconic or have high public footfall, will take effect from 18 Dec 2018.

The Act was passed in Parliament on 2 October 2017.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated in a press release that new buildings that house essential services, are iconic or have high public footfall will be designated by the ministry as ‘Special Developments’, and existing ones will be designated as ‘Special Infrastructures’.

It said that owners of Special Developments will be required to assess their security risks and incorporate suitable measures into their design before they are built, and for Special Infrastructures, when they are to be renovated.

"Such measures include the deployment of security technology (such as CCTVs), security personnel, vehicle barriers, and strengthening the building against blast effects. These measures are necessary to deter and deny attacks, and minimise the impact should an attack occur," the ministry noted.

MHA added that it will also be able to direct owners of selected buildings to put in place additional security measures to guard against terrorist attacks. If a terrorist attack is assessed to be imminent, emergency orders can be issued to protect a building.

Under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act (PAPPA), sensitive installations (such as military camps and immigration checkpoints) are declared as Protected Areas (PAs) or Protected Places (PPs).

The security of PAs and PPs will be enhanced through the following powers found in the IPA to better protect sensitive locations and prevent terrorists from conducting pre-attack surveillance and planning, which including security personnel to have powers to deal with threats in the surrounding area, unauthorised photography and videography of PAs and PPs to be an offence under the IPA, the PAPPA will be repealed and the relevant provisions have been incorporated into the IPA.

The Centre for Protective Security (CPS) will also be established to enhance protective security in Singapore. The CPS will be a centre-of-excellence for protective security, covering regulations, training and outreach. It will implement the IPA, and ensure compliance with building security requirements under the Act.

The CPS is led by its Director, Mr Andy Tan Woei Luen. From 18 Dec 2018, Mr Andy Tan will also assume the role of the Commissioner of Infrastructure Protection, and exercise the statutory powers and obligations under the IPA.

The Parliament had also amended Public Order Act (POA) earlier in 2017 to require organisers of events with large crowds and those that are of higher risk to put in place security measures.