Saturday, March 01, 2008

The World Class Joke!

Yes, this is about the World Class Joke by a self proclaimed World Class Government in Singapore. And it is indeed a VERY SERIOUS and DANGEROUS WORLD CLASS JOKE ever made in Singapore's history.

It is indeed still fresh from our mind that the ministers had just have their pay raised by more than 14% overall but yet it seems that there are more and more "honest mistakes" made along the way. But never before has such a BIG HONEST MISTAKE has been made in Singapore's short history.

The Home Affairs Ministry has a annual budget of more than 2.4Billions last year (revised, see Budget Link), about $400million more than the Ministry of Health and yet, there are such security lapses for a wanted man for murder just walking across the causeway to Malayisa and the most important LIMPING terrorist detainee making a "World Class Prison Break"!

The terrorist detainee was detained WITHOUT TRIAL for the simple reason that he IS a DANGEROUS man that has planned terrorist attacks on Singapore. How could the minister for Home Affairs says that alarm was not sounded initially because they think this DANGEROUS man poses no "immediate harm" to people living nearby? And the fact that the alarm has only been put up FOUR WHOLE HOURS AFTER he escaped! Didn't they listen to MM Lee that you would only need 20 minutes to travel to anywhere in Singapore?

The ironic thing is that if this man is truly posing NO DANGER to anyone, why would the authorities mobilize a whole battalion of military guardsman to help in the search thereafter? Does the minister of Home Affairs really understand the seriousness of the escape of Mas Selamat Kastari? It is not merely about Singapore's security anymore but the safety of all our neighboring countries! Or rather, the WHOLE World's security and safety is at stake! This is precisely why the Interpol has raise the alert a notch higher after Singapore announced his escape!

I seriously doubt the self proclaim World Class PAP government really understands World Class politics at all. They have already made the grave mistake of letting the man escapes and the most serious mistake is to hold on to this piece of important information for FOUR SOLID HOURS which most probably allows the man to flee the country by the time such information are made available.

We may not fault the minister of Home Affairs directly for the prison break although some bloggers do, but for the crisis management thereafter, the minister of Home Affairs MUST be responsible! Pushing such decision to the "security analyst" or judgment of others, is truly lame indeed! The decision on whether to announce the prison break earlier lies on the minister himself and I think for such bad decision made in view of the seriousness of the issue at hand, I think any minister in the world that is in charge of internal security should and would resign.

For a small island state like Singapore, there are no room for mistakes like this one. This is not China nor USA where escapees would need days before they could reach international borders. You could travel to any coastal area within half an hour. You could even swim across to Malaysia if you want to. It only take less than an hour boat trip to any of the Indonesian islands. For the minister of Home Affairs to take FOUR SOLID HOURS to make that "difficult" decision to make public of such important information, is truly a WORLD CLASS JOKE and this joke is not funny at all!

The most ridiculous thing that is happening right now in Singapore is that the PAP government controlled mass media tries to "soften" the impact of this WORLD CLASS escape. In any normal democracy around the world, many tough questions would be raised against the authorities as well as the minister in question. But instead, they run stories like how this terrorist has attempted many escapes or prison breaks before, thus, subtly "normalized" such escape by Mas Selamat Kastari and implying that if he escapes, its not about the incompetency of our "Home Team" (i.e. police force) but because he is good at it. Such utter rubbish is totally unacceptable because the detention centre that caged Mas Selamat Kastari is no ordinary detention centre but the "Famous" Internal Security Department (ISD) detention centre which has underground dungeons and heavily guarded by Gurkha! We are not "Third World" countries but "First World" country with "World Class " government, for goodness sake! Such apologist stand made in the local media will further dent our international reputation as an island of competency and efficiency! Why? They are comparing and making us look like a third world country!

Some heads must roll from those who are in charge of the ISD detention centre and the Home Affairs minister must go too! We cannot allow a man that cannot make sound and critical decision at the such a high crisis level to stay on as minister of Home Affairs. We cannot allow a man that will only know how to push responsibility to others for such bad decision made to someone else instead of assuming ALL the responsibility, in his capacity as the highest command, for whatever happens in his very own ministry.

Instead of questioning how such escape could be made successful, why the FOUR HOUR delay in the public announcement and questioning the ability of the minister and his ministry's to handle such big crisis, the local mass media goes on to paint the "bright" side of the whole issue. e.g. how Singaporeans responded with good unity...etc.

When a country shows too much leniency to those in power that make such grave mistakes one after another, we will only breed complacency and incompetency. We are MADE to pay WORLD's HIGHEST SALARY to politicians, in the hope that they will make good judgment and decisions, not merely on daily routine management, but also for their ability to handle crisis. It seems that despite of the multi-million annual salary that Singaporeans are paying, we are getting people that could not really understand the bigger picture and handle such crisis well! If we cannot demand or pressure this minister of Home Affairs to resign over such gross display of incompetency, then we could only hope and depend on our citizens making the right choice in voting him out.

For the mean time, I hope that all Singaporeans would raise their awareness and look out for the limping terrorist that has made a joke out of our country. Hope we could catch him before he could do anything harmful to all mankind.

Goh Meng Seng


Anonymous said...

Meng Seng,

I totally agree that many heads must roll for this world class honest mistake! I feel embarrassed that we are making the news once again for all the wrong reasons.

But i dont really understand why you keep harping about the 4 hour delay. Dont think is feasible to inform public much faster than that. maybe 1hr faster. but we still wont be happy right :)

Delay no problem, but they better coordinate properly and leave no stone unturned!

The Void Deck said...

Heads will roll and it is bound to happen. Whose head exactly will be interesting to watch and this list would only be known when the inquiry commission concludes its findings. In all likelihood, the commission would want to be seen as fair and firm as that is the only way for damage control. In this damage control, the government will cut its losses and let MHA bear the brunt of the damage and try to save the rest of the government and political structure as a result. The PAP government cut off one of its limbs for survival, it is enlightening to see.

The manner in the heads rolling would depend on what extent of negligence is laid on whom. Most likely those on duty would feel the heat most, as it is fair as they were at the scene and might have prevented the escape. At the other end of the spectrum, whether the Minister should get the axe for the failure of civil servants to discharge their duties and the adverse consequences on public security because of that failure, while a nice sepuku gesture warmly appreciated by the mob, objectively might be stretching it as the link between the guy at the top and the guy on the ground is fairly distant.

This opens a new question. Under what circumstances then will a minister step down? Using Teh Cheang Wan as the yardstick, only when he personally is embroiled in the particular scandal?

Goh Meng Seng said...

Hi Bro Voideck & Anonymous,

The reason why I brought up the FOUR hour delay as one of the most important factor of failure in this crisis management is that this is an obvious blunder in the whole saga.

There are many other side factors like: why they did not call for helicopters to scan the area within the first half an hour?

What happens was that the ISD people are overly confident that fugitive did not breach the fencing and walk out of the detention centre. This is a big gamble to bet on.

By the basic calculations, if they could not find the fugitive by the 2nd hour, then most probably he would have reached any beach or coastline ready to take the boat trip to Indonesia. Especially so when last light is just around the corner at 7pm.

Thus, it is important to sound the alarm within the first 2 hour if possible, so that the public could be made known of the breach of prison. This will help to heighten public awareness of any suspicious individual, especially those around the coastline.

The failure to do so BEFORE last light would become the TOTAL FAILURE of the crisis management. by 8pm, most probably the fugitive would be on his boat trip to Indonesia.

Now why do I make such judgment? This terrorist is no simple people. Prior to this, we know that they have made recce on various possible terrorist attack spots. It means that for any actions they take, they would plan ahead. Most likely they have even planned their escape from ISD even BEFORE they are being arrested!

In short, those scholars and the minister of Home Affairs have really underestimated these terrorists, even claiming that he acts alone. This is utter rubbish. They don't execute any plans without calculated chances of success. Period.

Goh Meng Seng

The Void Deck said...

Hi bro Meng Seng

I can only presume that government took 4 hours as they ran their own SOP on cordon and chase simultaneously and a public announcment too early could hamper deployment on the ground and gathering of information. This sounds plausible if we think of it in SAF mobilisation doctrines when there is a gradual build up before it becomes "open".

Nevertheless, your point about nightfall as the cutoff time is a good one among others but I think that from a political view, any time frame would be unsatisfactory. Even if the announcment was made 2 hours or 1 hour or half an hour, there will still be criticisms of the time delay, that being the unspoken rules of the game played :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Meng Seng

I think the 4 hours delay is due to the many levels of escalation and also searching within the premises.

Possibly to the prison wardens, Mas Kastari is just another prisoner and since there has never been a prison break before in Singapore, the general assumption is that all prisoners are docile like sheep, just do what they are told. The prison wardens may also be quite inexperienced to prison breaks.

Well, this "prison break" has certainly open up possibilities to other prisoners in Singapore.

Jack Neo or Raintree Productions should make a movie out of this... real life prison break.


Anonymous said...

GMS talked as if he's the CDF/police commissioner but alas jus a PC repairman giving lousy suggestions here lol.

Alan said...


I was just reading another excellent article by Alex Au ( and i was reminded of your post.

Interestingly, Alex is criticising the patchy / contradictory information provided by the press (limp then no limp, next day then say he is how tall and heavy, still in singapore but checking vessels).

So i thought about your blog because you said that the public should have been informed earlier than 4 hrs. But I think that it is because of their hasty actions (maybe 4 hrs is hasty to them) that we receive such patchy info.

Plus i dont think they were sitting on their hands during the first 4 hrs. I assume, and i hope im right, that the people at the centre alerted all the immigration
and border patrols about the escape immediately. Only the public received the news 4 hrs later. But yeah it probably would have been better if we knew early in case
he doesnt take the conventional routes.

I hope the inquiry will reveal what actions were taken during these 4 hrs.

Goh Meng Seng said...

Dear Alan,

I think this is utter rubbish from MHA which has made another bigger blunder in giving inaccurate information.

When a person goes into prison, all bio-data is recorded, your height, blood group, physical significant features etc. To say that they need 4 hours to come up with information about the fugitive is utter rubbish.

And the fact is that even with 4 hours lapse, they could not even compile a simple, accurate description on the fugitive is just a demonstration of gross incompetence!

Normally one would just pull out the file on fugitive and any normal clerk will not take more than 15 minutes to come up with a good compilation of facts on him, ready for a press release!

And it sadden me that even on such simple administrative work, the MHA could get it so wrong. It means that the whole MHA under the minister has made a big blunder over operational as well as administrative aspects! So what do you think? Should the minister of MHA resign over such blunder after blunder in terms of crisis management?

Goh Meng Seng

Alan said...


Actually you have a point la. All the biodata should have been released at the same time the public was warned. Because they only mentioned the limp, everyone zeroed in on it. That was lame public comms if you ask me.

Now we are on the hunt for baju and slippers. Hiaz. If they say earlier than we can spot earlier and inform them. That way at least they can confirm the area he was in. Or maybe the dogs can sniff and follow a scent.

Anonymous said...

Wonder wht rank does GMS held in army maybe jus a LCP but he dared to compare with some of the strategist of sll times (eg sunzi, zhuge liang) and giv suggestions to nab mas selamat. If he indeed is so gd he would hv prevented his escape nw kaopeh kaobu here like ma hou pao hahahhah

Anonymous said...

To sum up, I think this government is inefficient in Defence and Home Affairs.A lot of money is spent in this field but what are the results we get? Total Defence? We can't even guard a cripple man properly not to mention fighting in Afghanistan.Please pull back our 50 men in Afghan.It is very shameful, we are not a strong country,we are weak in defence,how can our soldiers go Afghan??

Disgusted with MHA said...

anonymous said...
Wonder wht rank does GMS held in army maybe jus a LCP but he dared to compare with some of the strategist of sll times (eg sunzi, zhuge liang) and giv suggestions to nab mas selamat. If he indeed is so gd he would hv prevented his escape nw kaopeh kaobu here like ma hou pao hahahhah

Why think yourself so low? This guy has low self esteem. Why cant a LCP be smart? Fighting a war is about ranks? Can our scholars win a war? Have they even tasted victory from one? Talkin paper toothless tiger. I think GMS is right on the points, MHA is just disgusting. All the ISD ppl should have a pay cut and no bonus this year. I always believe in retribution...what u do to others will ultimately catch up with u. More mishandling can be seen in the coming months...sit back and see the gahment show.

Anonymous said...

To the anon who looked down on LCP or private in the army, shame on you.

I also served the Lee army until military release and pledged to defend this country, regardless of who is governing. When there is war, all the scholars will just run away and leaving us, the chow hokkien beng to fight. Just because I don't have the "paper" to become officers or scholars doesn't mean I cannot think and feel that the government failed terribly in this botched-up event.

It's more than a week since the toilet break and our world class leaders still cannot find a solution. Is our country so big that they cannot even find a terrorist. Why are they still paid 2 million dollars and getting their pay rises?

Vincent said...

I agree with GMS that the 4-hour delay in raising alarm is highly irregular and should be accounted for. How can it be deemed that a known terrorist detained for planning terrorist attacks be of "no immediate danger" to the public? All police officers should know that one of the immediate options open to a fugitive is to take hostages (alongside other options such as dig-in-and-lay-low or make a dash across border.)

The 4-hour delay in alerting the public placed the public in danger of being taken hostage, and also allowed ample time for dashing across border.

Anonymous said...

There r many loyal dogs here who r out to defend their masters, the moment their masters r attacked they waste no time in baring their fangs.