WELCOME REMARKS BY MR TONY CHEW, CHAIRMAN OF SBF AT THE 2011 NATIONAL SECURITY DIALOGUE TUESDAY, 16 AUGUST 2011
Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs
Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs
Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of State for Finance and Transport
Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister of State for Defence and Education
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning and a very warm welcome to all of you.
Singapore has displayed great resilience throughout the financial crisis which brought forth one of the worst global economic recessions. We recorded a stellar performance of 14.5% GDP growth last year, making Singapore one of the fastest - growing economies in the world in 2010.
However, given the turmoil that spread across financial markets in early August, the global economy is once again looking less assured and steady. Singapore has lowered its growth forecast for 2011 to 5 - 6% from 5 - 7%. The new forecast comes on the heels of a 4.9% growth in the first half of this year and negative quarter-on-quarter growth. There is great uncertainty over how the challenges facing Europe and the United States will pan out over the coming months.
Businesses Need to be Resilient in the Face of Global Uncertainties
As one of the world's most open economies, Singapore remains highly vulnerable to threats and uncertainties. Enterprises are constantly exposed to not only domestic, but also external threats. The on-going global economic turmoil is the latest addition to the growing list of threats and uncertainties.
Recent global crises and disruptions - such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11, political upheaval in the Middle East, episodes of cyber-attacks on giant corporations like Sony and Google, continuing piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters - are just some of the incidents that threaten our stability. I should also add that the recent riots in UK have shocked British society, disrupted lives and businesses forcing the UK government to take firm action. Big stakes are involved here not just the reputation and ability of London to host the 2012 Olympics but that society cannot function if citizens do not feel safe on the streets and businesses are vulnerable to attacks. These events highlight the need for governments and enterprises to be prepared and agile in responding to crisis situations, especially when our markets, trade and financial flows have become so inter-dependent.
An organisation is only as strong as its weakest link, and the impact of a single incident may have a crippling effect. Business enterprises that aim to instill confidence and increase resilience must have business continuity plans in place, to ensure quick remedial action in the event of an unforeseen crisis. More than ever, this ability to bounce back is imperative for enterprises to thrive in today's global environment. It is a trademark of a business's strength.
Today, we will launch a unifying BCM logo introduced by SBF and supported by Spring Singapore, which serves as a national identity for recognising the BCM-certified companies. With the adoption of this logo alongside existing BCM certification, stakeholders will be assured of our business community's resilience in turbulent times.
Business Continuity Management as a Holistic Response to Threats
BCM is a holistic management process that identifies, assesses and manages potential risk continuously. It provides a framework for any organisation to build contingency plans and prompt responses, heightening their capabilities to deal with crises. Since 2008, SBF has been appointed the focal point for the National Business Continuity Management (BCM) Programme. This national initiative aims to enhance the resilience of businesses in Singapore so as to protect and minimise any impact or losses in a crisis.
In line with our efforts to promote crisis preparedness, SBF is also part of a tripartite effort to promote the Community Engagement Programme (CEP) in the businesses and unions cluster. CEP encourages employers to build harmonious and resilient workplaces by strengthening the ties between employees of different races and religions, and equipping them with the relevant skills to cope with emergencies. In times of crises, a united and supple workforce can play a critical role in helping organisations stand on firmer footing, facilitating a faster recovery from business disruptions.
Singapore Business Federation as The National BCM Focal Point
As the appointed National BCM focal point for businesses, SBF has been working closely with SPRING Singapore as well as industry partners since December 2008 to cascade BCM awareness to the business community, leading to BCM readiness and certification.
To-date, SBF's BCM outreach activities have engaged some 7,000 enterprises on the importance of BCM preparedness and certification. Currently, close to 100 companies from different sectors are in various stages of BCM implementation. Local enterprises such as Mun Siong Engineering and ST Kinetics have implemented BCM jointly with their suppliers and business partners to strengthen their value chain. SMEs from various industries have also come forward to embrace BCM. These include EQ Insurance Company, Pin Si Kitchen, iLogistics and IPS Securex. You will hear more from the companiesí representatives on their innovative BCM efforts during the panel discussion later.
To enable enterprises to access BCM easily, SBF introduced the BCM Online Resource Library which includes a BCM self-assessment tool in October 2010. This portal contains rich information about BCM, documented journeys of BCM certified enterprises and information on funding support to help enterprises achieve business resilience.
I hope that this dialogue session will leave you with better foresight and a clearer direction on the importance of BCM in securing your businessís competitive edge against adversities. SBF will continue to engage the Singapore business community to help enterprises leverage and benefit from the BCM initiatives.
On this note, may I now invite Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean to address us. DPM , please.
SPEECH BY DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, COORDINATING MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS MR TEO CHEE HEAN AT THE 2011 NATIONAL SECURITY DIALOGUE WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY ON 16 AUGUST 2011 AT 9.10 AM AT THE ORCHARD HOTEL BALLROOM 3
Ministers of State Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Mrs Josephine Teo and Mr Lawrence Wong
Chairman, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) Mr Tony Chew
Leaders of the business community
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
1. I am pleased to join you today for the 2011 National Security Dialogue, organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and supported by the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS). This annual gathering of 700 business leaders from across different industries demonstrates the close partnership between the government and the business community on national security. It also underlines the intense interest and concern that our businesses have towards economic resilience.
ENHANCING YOUR BUSINESS COMPETITIVENESS WITH SECURITY
2. This year's dialogue focuses on a concern that is close to every business leader's heart: how can your business maintain and enhance competitiveness in an increasingly complex and unpredictable environment.
3. Businesses today have to deal with a multitude of risks. Let me talk about three risks that your business will need to be prepared against.
TERRORISM THREAT REMAIN PERSISTENT
4. Terrorism, for one, will remain a persistent threat. Terrorists are always seeking to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in various aspects of business activity - from targeting where customers gather, to supply chains, and to cyber space - to highlight their causes, strike fear and cause disruption in order to advance their sinister aims.
5. The recent terrorist attacks in Norway, where a 32-year old man - Anders Breivik - planted a car bomb outside key government buildings and then went on a shooting spree at a youth camp, murdering at least 70 young people before surrendering to the police - clearly demonstrates that radicalisation is not exclusively associated with any one sector of the ideological spectrum.
6. This tragedy also demonstrates how a lone individual with a violent ideology and extremist hatred towards others, can use easily available tools and methods propagated by the internet to wreak untold havoc, fear and destruction on the innocent public.
7. Such "lone wolf" terrorists, who act without any formal link to an established terrorist organisation, make it much more difficult for security agencies to detect and monitor such threats.
8. If an act of terrorism befalls your business, can your business recover speedily?
EMERGING CONCERNS ON CYBERSECURITY THREAT
9. Besides terrorism, the incidence of cyber attacks has escalated over the years and the consequences of the attacks are becoming increasingly significant.
10. Two weeks ago, a McAfee report details an investigation of what is being billed as the "biggest-ever series of cyber attacks". Over 70 governments and companies' networks have been compromised through a series of targeted intrusions over a period of five years.
11. The McAfee finding is not an isolated case. In recent months, computers of high-profile organisations such as Sony, Google, Citigroup and Lockheed Martin have also been hacked, and some more than once. Such incidents have resulted in massive loss of confidential business information and damaged customer confidence in the companies concerned.
12. If such global companies and governments could have their networks compromised, how secure is your company's network against cyber attacks?
NATURAL DISASTERS AND PANDEMICS
13. Other than man-made attacks, businesses also face intrinsic risks such as natural disasters and pandemics. These are often unpredictable and can easily cripple vital operations and supply chains when they strike.
14. While Singapore is relatively safe from seismic and volcanic events, we are located in a region where these occur frequently. Many businesses have operations in the region, and many Regional Headquarters are based in Singapore. While their Singapore offices remain safe, they may have to respond to natural disasters that have affected their operations in the region.
15. There are a number of recent examples within our region that remind us of the devastation that natural disaster can bring to businesses. The 9.0-Richter earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March this year has already become the costliest natural disaster on record, causing the loss of 15,500 lives and US$265 billion in economic losses in just the first six months following the quake.
16. Japan is still dealing with the radiation fallout and power supply shortages caused by failure of the Fukushima nuclear reactors, and the need to re-inspect other plants. Although the Japanese have much experience in dealing with earthquakes and tsunamis, many of their meticulous plans and safeguards still failed due to the suddenness and unexpected magnitude of the disaster.
17. If an unexpected natural or man-made disaster were to strike suddenly, will your business be able to recover operations relatively quickly?
BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING IS KEY
18. All these questions should be at the top of your mind as business leaders. Now, more than ever, it is critical for businesses to maintain operational effectiveness and flexibility in any scenario. For that, you need to have robust contingency plans.
19. The ability of a company to recover from disaster is directly related to the degree of Business Continuity Planning that has take place before the disaster. Hence, we have launched the Business Continuity Management (BCM) standard certification in 2008 as a useful tool that helps businesses to plan for - and recover from - unexpected crises.
20. Investors, partners and clients can be confident that a BCM-certified company has carefully gone through its options and has developed and tested robust plans to quickly resume operations following a sudden disruption to its activities.
21. I am therefore pleased that SBF has taken the step of creating a national BCM branding, with the support of SPRING Singapore. When fully implemented in January 2012, BCM-certified businesses will be able to feature the new BCM logo alongside existing BCM certification marks as an easily recognisable symbol of their BCM-readiness.
22. The new logo will go further to assure business partners and clients of our businesses' economic resilience when faced with sudden adversity.
LEARNING FROM THE EXPERTS
23. In a while, we will hear the experiences from business leaders who have adopted practical business continuity measures to ensure that their businesses are ready to absorb and recover from unexpected shocks. We will find out first hand, from Mr Shinichi Okabe of Tokio Marine and Nichido Risk Consulting, on how having robust recovery plans helped Japanese companies recover from the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.
24. We will also have Mr Leon Chang, Regional Head of Corporate Security and Business Continuity at Deutsche Bank to talk about initiatives undertaken by Singapore's financial industry players in partnership with Government agencies to protect and recover their business operations in the face of unexpected disruptions.
FINANCIAL DISTRICT SECURITY PROGRAMME (FDSP)
25. The financial sector is a key industry for Singapore. It is well-established and diversified. Our robust infrastructure, transparent legal and judicial framework and well-regulated international financial sector have established us as an important financial gateway of international repute.
26. As an important financial node, serving not only our local economy but also the wider Asia-Pacific region and beyond, it is crucial that our financial companies have well-tested plans in place to overcome sudden disruptions to their operations. This is critical given the interdependencies that exist between the financial industry and almost every form of business activity. Demonstrating our ability to recover quickly following abrupt disruptions will be a key factor in convincing investors to choose Singapore as the choice regional hub for their financial activity.
27. I would therefore like to urge financial institutions operating in Singapore to support the Financial District Security Programme (FDSP), which has been set up as a public-private-partnership between MAS, Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the financial industry in October 2009.
28. The FDSP enhances physical security and improve contingency responses and coordination between the civil authorities and the financial industry during a crisis.
29. I am pleased to note that the FDSP has already put in place a coordinated approach to allow the industry and the authorities to share information, thereby facilitating better situation awareness and decision making during a crisis. I would like to encourage all to take advantage of this initiative to better secure our financial institutions against unforeseen disruptions.
SECURITY IS A STRATEGIC INVESTMENT
30. Let me conclude by stating that we cannot afford to be complacent. Terrorism is still a clear and present danger. Disasters and disruptions to our business operations can also happen unexpectedly. To quote Sun Tzu: "The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand." Let us work together to preserve Singapore as a trusted and secure business hub for many years to come.
31. I look forward to a fruitful panel discussion and dialogue with you. Thank you.