Law enforcement agencies in the region need to collaborate to enhance their capacity in tackling the rapidly evolving threat of transnational crimes, said Singapore’s Deputy Secretary of Home Affairs on Thursday.

T Raja Kumar said transnational crimes — especially in an age of information and globalisation — are becoming more prevalent.

“After all, if we look at it fundamentally, Singapore and Brunei share common threats and concerns, most notably in tackling the threat of transnational crime, terrorism, drugs and cyber crime,” he said at the opening ceremony of fourth Brunei Darussalam-Singapore Joint Training Annual Exchange.

Deputy Secretary at Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs, T Raja Kumar, delivering a speech during the opening ceremony of the 4th Brunei Darussalam and Singapore Joint Training Annual Exchange Programme. Photo: Wardi Wasil/The Scoop

“These threats have rapidly evolved to be far more complex in nature in this increasingly networked and interconnected environment.”

Cyber crime in particula is one area that needs to be tackled efficiently, said Kumar, stating that collaborations and capability building in this area is “crucial”.

He said efforts should be focused on developing new cyber crime capabilities such as cyber forensics, an area that applies investigative and analytical techniques to gather and preserve evidence from a device to be presented in a court of law.

In light of this, the senior official called for countries to work closely with one another, to strengthen their capabilities to better tackle the challenges posed by transnational crimes, urging them to work together both on the international and regional stage.

In July of this year, the health records of 1.5 million Singaporeans were stolen by hackers in what was described as one of the city-state’s biggest data breach.

Kumar also touched on the issue of drugs, which he believes has emerged as “a worldwide threat”, because more countries are looking into liberalising their drugs policy.

“We are seeing more countries that are looking at decriminalisation even legalisation [of drugs], and the cost of the problem is frankly, grossly underestimated.

“What we are seeing, as evidence coming out of some of these countries that have liberalised their drug policies, their society as a whole has paid a phenomenal cost and we shall not let that happen to our two countries and to our region.”