BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei needs to work with other countries in combating the growing threat of transnational crimes, specifically cybercrime, terrorism and illicit drugs, said the permanent secretary of security and enforcement at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Pg Hj Muhamad Sazali Pg Hj Yakob Monday said transnational crimes have escalated on a global scale and are becoming more complex.

The permanent secretary was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Brunei Darussalam-Singapore Joint Training Annual Exchange Programme, which involves 20 senior officers from both countries.

He said Brunei and Singapore share mutual security concerns and the need to combat crimes that go beyond national borders.

He added that cybercrime, terrorism and drugs dominated headlines and were also referenced by leaders during the 35th ASEAN Summit in Thailand last year and at the 2019 World Economic Forum.

An alarming probability that was highlighted in WEF’s Global Risks Report 2019 involves the growing threat of cyber-related attacks in the near future, said Lt Col Pg Hj Muhd Sazali.

The WEF interviewed over 1,000 decision makers from the public and private sector and civil society to assess the risks facing the world.

“More than 80 percent of them expect a greater risk of cyber-related attacks happening in their respective countries in the foreseeable future.

T Raja Kumar, Singapore’s deputy secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

“Another key test for our security agencies over the years to come is the return of foreign terrorist fighters,” the permanent secretary said.

He added the return of foreign terrorist fighters to this region represents a growing threat, especially after the defeat of Daesh in the Middle East and self-radicalisation through online propaganda spread by organisations related to Daesh.

The United Nations Security Council defines foreign terrorist fighters as “individuals who travel to a state other than their states of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training”.

Launched in 2015, the 12-day joint training programme between Brunei and Singapore provides a platform for senior officers to exchange views and expertise on safety and security, while strengthening cooperation among agencies in both countries, said PMO in a statement.

The first phase of the programme, held in Brunei from January 6-10, includes visits to several agencies under the PMO and Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as a two-day team-building retreat in Temburong.

The second phase of the programme will be held in Singapore.