Singapore is building a ‘smart’ nation. But as industry and infrastructure are increasingly interlinked, it needs to take a step further to ensure regional resilience.

SINGAPORE (Mar 4): Southeast Asia is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world, with researchers counting more than 1,000 incidents — including flooding, earthquakes, volcanic activity, drought and wildfire — between 1990 and 2016. These have resulted in the loss of millions of lives as well as billions of dollars in damage to property and industry. More recently, quite apart from natural disasters, people in the region are also suffering from the fallout of cybersecurity issues — namely breaches of databases holding sensitive information.

Yet, leaders in the region are seemingly unprepared against such incidents even as they look set to get worse and have wide-ranging implications on life and commerce. And while Singapore is relatively insulated from natural disasters, its position in the region demands that it play a role in helping its neighbours manage the disasters and their consequences, and build up a regional resilience to such disruptions. After all, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Southeast Asia has overtaken the US as the largest market for Singapore’s goods and services. And, the nature of the global supply chain today means Singapore cannot isolate itself from disasters that occur in other countries.

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