ST Feb 19, 2008I wonder how many people in Singapore still remember ex-SIA pilot Ryan Goh. Back in 2003, SIA pilots were very unhappy about their salaries and they had some disputes with their union over how the issue was being handled. Ryan was apparently one of the SIA pilots who played an active role in the whole episode.
'I have too much power,' says Aussie minister
SYDNEY - AUSTRALIA'S new immigration minister surprised a senate committee by saying he had too much power and was uncomfortable 'playing God' with people's lives.
Mr Chris Evans' statement on Tuesday came after a series of scandals over the treatment of migrants by the conservative government of former prime minister John Howard, ousted by the centre-left Labor Party in November elections.
Mr Evans said there had been a big increase in ministerial intervention in individual migration cases during the Howard government and in some cases people had no right to appeal.
'I have formed the view that I have too much power,' he told the senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee.
'The (migration) act is unlike any other act I've seen in terms of the power given to the minister to make decisions about individual cases.
'I am uncomfortable with that, not just because of concern about playing God, but also because of the lack of transparency and accountability for those decisions.'
Mr Evans' predecessor last year controversially used his powers to revoke the visa of Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef and force him to leave the country even after a terrorism charge against him was dropped.
Mr Evans said he was considering an ombudsman's report that called for reforms to ministerial powers, including his ability to revoke the visas of long-term permanent residents.
Up till then, Ryan had lived in Singapore for 26 years. He was married and had four children. He was a permanent resident.
Lee Kuan Yew promptly kicked him out of Singapore, more or less overnight. The Singapore authorities suddenly declared Ryan Goh an “undesirable resident”, and his PR status was revoked.
Well, I guess that’s one good thing about being a Singapore citizen. They can’t boot you out of the country just like that.
(Of course, they can always still lock you away on Sentosa. Maybe for the next 32 years or so).