Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong asked the Minister for Home Affairs whether foreign spouses of Singapore citizens who are mothers of children who are Singapore citizens or pregnant with children who will be Singapore citizens should be issued a special dependant pass so that the mothers will not need to be interviewed by ICA officers at the checkpoints.
Mr K Shanmugam: Our priority is to ensure the security of Singapore’s borders. All travellers, including Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, are required to undergo security checks and screening at the checkpoints. Where necessary, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) may conduct further interviews and checks.
There is no reason or justification from a security perspective to state that an entire category will be exempted from interviews – including foreign spouses of Singapore citizens. There is no blanket exemption even for Singaporeans – where necessary, ICA interviews Singaporeans.
To pre-exempt any person or group from such checks and interviews will create a security gap. Once you announce to the world that a certain group will not be interviewed or checked, then you effectively announce to the terrorists which route can be exploited.
We can be compassionate, but should not engage in practices which are innocent of the ways of terror.
ICA facilitates the clearance of travellers with special needs, such as pregnant women or elderly persons, where necessary and practicable. This, however, has to be done without compromising security.