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Security and Intelligence Division


Security and Intelligence Division

Security and Intelligence Division
Divisyen Keselamatan dan Perisikan
பாதுகாப்பு மற்றும் புலனாய்வு பிரிவு
Agency overview
Formed February 1966
Jurisdiction Government of Singapore
Employees ~500[1]

The Security and Intelligence Division (abbreviation: SID) is the external intelligence agency of Singapore responsible for gathering and analysing intelligence related to the country's external security.[2] Although it is located within the Ministry of Defence, it has a certain independence in that it is not under the control of either of the Permanent Secretaries of Defence.[3] It is also highly secretive as most of its personnel are known only to Singapore's top officials. The SID is led by a Director, who holds the rank of Permanent Secretary and reports directly to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).[4] Back in the 1970s, the Director reported directly to the Defence Minister. According to a 1975 article in The Straits Times, the SID had the post of Deputy Director, which was held by Lim Chye Heng at the time.[5] It is not known whether this post still exists.


  • History and activities 1
  • Directors 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

History and activities

The SID shared a similar background to its domestic counterpart, the S. R. Nathan, who was then the SID Director, led a negotiation team to help resolve the Laju hostage crisis.[6]

As the SID is a highly secretive organisation, information about its activities is only released occasionally to the media. In 2001, Yap Chuin Wei, a reporter from The Straits Times, interviewed a former SID officer on the agency's work. The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the SID works in three main ways: collection of information, analysis of information, and informal diplomacy.[7] The SID was also mentioned in Lee Kuan Yew's book From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000, in which it is said to have played a role in providing weapons to anti-communist forces in Cambodia in the 1970s.[8] The SID also played a role in rebuilding Singapore's relations with Indonesia after the Konfrontasi ended in 1966.[7] Tim Huxley wrote a short history of the SID in his book Defending the Lion City: The Armed Forces of Singapore, which was published in 2000.[9]

The former SID officer interviewed by Yap said that SID officers rarely receive public awards due to security and political concerns. They are awarded a set of medals equivalent to the National Day medals instead but their names are not publicised.[7]

In 2004, the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) was set up under the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to deal with security threats and terrorism. This meant that the SID and the ISD, which previously worked independent of each other, had to share information for the first time.[10]

In August 2013, it was alleged that the SID cooperated with the Australian Signals Directorate to tap the undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, Europe and the Middle East.[11]


The following is a list of known Directors of the SID.

Name In office Notes References
Tay Seow Huah ? [12]
Tan Boon Seng ?–1971 [13]
S. R. Nathan 1971–1979 [6][13]
Eddie Teo 1979–? Teo was concurrently the head of the ISD from 1982 to 1986.[14] [15]
Choi Shing Kwok 1995–2005 [7][16][17][18][19]
Chee Wee Kiong 2005 – 1 September 2010 [20][21][22]
Ng Chee Khern 1 September 2010 – 1 May 2014 [23]

See also


  1. ^ "SINGAPORE'S MOST SECRETIVE SPY AGENCY - THE SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE DIVISION - See more at:". All Singapore Stuff. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Reflections on Thirty-Five Years of Public Service: From Espionage to Babies" (PDF). Ethos. January 2006. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Present At The Creation" (PDF). Defence Science Organisation. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Video: Building Security Partnerships in Asia (Chee Wee Kiong)". Blip. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Chye Heng named ISD acting director". The Straits Times. 4 January 1975. p. 8. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "S. R. Nathan". National Library Board Singapore. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d Yap, Chuin Wei (19 May 2001). "Examining the world's second-oldest profession". The Straits Times. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Lee, Kuan Yew (2000). From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000. HarperCollins. pp. 378–379.  
  9. ^ Huxley, Tim (2000). Defending the Lion City: The Armed Forces of Singapore. Australia: Allen & Unwin. pp. 89–90.  
  10. ^ Tor, Ching Li (21 July 2004). "United front against terror". Today. p. 6. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Dorling, Phillip (29 August 2013). "Spy agency taps undersea cables". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Tay Seow Huah Book Prize". S Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Civil service reshuffle". The Straits Times. 6 August 1971. p. 10. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Mr Eddie Teo has extensive experience in public admin". AsiaOne News. 26 July 2008. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Backman, Michael (31 May 2006). "Downsides devalue Singapore Inc". Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Press Release: Changes In Permanent Secretary Appointments" (PDF). Public Service Division, Prime Minister's Office. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Defence chief heads list of 653 officers to be promoted". The Straits Times. 28 June 1996. 
  18. ^ "MAS to get new managing director". The Straits Times. 22 February 2005. 
  19. ^ "Achievers in many fields". The Straits Times. 9 August 2000. 
  20. ^ "New appointments for other permanent secretaries". The Straits Times. 13 August 2010. 
  21. ^ "Press Release: Appointment Of Head Of Civil Service And Permanent Secretaries" (PDF). Public Service Division, Prime Minister's Office. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  22. ^ Goh, Chin Lian (2 May 2013). "MFA Permanent Secretary Bilahari Kausikan retires". SingaPolitics. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Chua, Tony (14 June 2012). "Capitamall Trust appoints Ng Chee Khern as Director". Singapore Business Review. Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
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