Feb 29, 2008

The Great Escape

By now you've heard the news. Mas Selamat is on the loose.

The terrorist had previously hatched plots to attack Changi Airport, the US Embassy, the American Club and the Singapore American School. He had been held under detention, at the Whitley Detention Centre.

On Wednesday afternoon, he escaped when the guard(s) permitted him to use the toilet.

This man walks with a limp in his left leg.
Call the police immediately if you see him.

I urge all bloggers out there to immediately post Mas Selamat's face on their blogs. So that as many people in Singapore as possible will know, and be reminded of what Mas Selamat's face looks like.

It is a very disappointing day for me, to realise how inept and useless the Singapore government has become. To think that we pay the world's highest ministerial salaries to our political leaders. Wong Kan Seng is paid two million dollars per year and he cannot even keep an arrested man under proper lock and key. A terrorist has escaped, for goodness sakes.

I think Wong Kan Seng should resign. Terrorism knows no borders, and Wong Kan Seng's mistake potentially endangers the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people - not just in Singapore, but in other countries as well. All over the world, elected politicians have been pressed to resign, for much less serious matters.

Okay, that was just some wishful thinking on my part. We know how Singapore works, don't we? It's just another "honest mistake" by our beloved ministers. Lee Kuan Yew will twist and pull Wong Kan Seng's ears in private, I'm sure. But publicly, at least, Wong Kan Seng will ultimately walk away scot-free.

Don't forget - the PAP's good image is at stake. So how could it possibly turn out otherwise? Wong Kan Seng is Deputy Prime Minister, after all. Soon the national spin machine will kick into overdrive to generate a convincing story for the public ....

... as to why our ministers are really still world-class, and deserve their world-class salaries, and the Mas Selamat matter was all just a very honest mistake, and the important thing is that we learn from our mistakes, and not repeat them, (at least not until the next time we make a new honest mistake), and till then, the people of Singapore must be socially cohesive, and be strong, and support their government, as one nation.

You know, the usual crap.

Mas Selamat has managed to run away. But in the end, it will be Wong Kan Seng who makes the really Great Escape.


Blogter said...

Have our Ministers become inebriated by their high salaries? LOL.

Ser Ming said...

Hmm this might be my failure in memory or what.

But was this terrorist ever put on stand for a trial or something?

Or he confessed anything before?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

ISA - detained without trial.

Anonymous said...

The announcement of the completely off the mark budget forecast used as a reason for the GST hike and the timing of the JI leader's escape really reminds me of this little old movie called "WAG THE DOG". The timing is so coincidental and so fortuitous from one of Singapore's most secured facilities astounds me. What other reason could there be that a prison garbed (i assume) inmate with a limp could escape from an ISD toilet other than someone simply let him? We hold ENEMIES OF STATE over at ISD Whitley. Do you really believe he just waltzed out of there?

This sabre rattling is meant to distract the Singaporean public from real structural issues. And days later, after his "re-capture" while the nation "celebrates" with The Party, government incompetence goes forgotten. Suddenly hue and cry over massive surpluses and the insignificant redistribution of wealth to its citizens are forgotten.

Matilah Singapura!

Anonymous said...

Did we ever learn from our mistakes? This has happened before with a criminal walking out of detention unnoticed and a suspected murderer walking across the causeway, and yet we have a two million dollars minister telling us it was just a lapse of security. How simple and convenient. That the minister will walk away scot-free after this episode is as sure as the sun rising from the East.

Anonymous said...

Another example how the incompetant the ministers are.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat puzzled by this escape. How could this terrorist escape through at least 3 layers of protection - at the toilet - at the building and at the exit of the detention camp.

I think sniffer dogs should have been used to track him down. There must be some leftover scents from his clothings at the camp that the dogs can use but I dont see any sniffer dogs being used. Another case of mismanagement?

bluerr said...

I'm not buying their explanation that he escaped by the toilet. Thats like one of the lamest way to tell me that the ISD totally lacks any form of security.

So the ISD can, and has successfully detained 'political criminals' for years, but fails to keep this wanted terrorist locked up?
Something is seriously wrong here.

Ser Ming said...

Oh...so there is no presumption of innocense under ISA?

Anonymous said...

How about our even more useless president who cost more than $4 millions per year. Is he now stepping down too ? Is he having a cup of tea with the terrorist that might already been caught ?

LKY, LHL, President, Wong,
aren't all these people cahoot to run Singapore ? Where are their statement of apology ?

Nicholas Lazarus said...

What we have learnt and should always remember are that the JI operatives are extremely dedicated and deadly disciples of Osama Bin Ladin. This particular JI operative was forged from the fires of Afghanistan and perhaps the most intelligent and cunning amongst the organisation. How else could he be their leader! That he has escaped is an indication of how dangerous JI operatives truly are. In my view, it is not the fault of our security forces. It is easy with the benefit of hindsight to criticise but bear in mind that even the CIA and the FBI could not prevent 9-11. Even the British M15 could not prevent the London bombings. We should rally behind and support our security forces and not undermine them.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, I have always been an avid reader of your blog and admired you for your local political commentaries. These days however, I feel as though your cynicism has, in manner of speaking, gone through the roof. I obviously feel angry when I hear news regarding ministers' salaries, and how the government stinges and saves on our huge surpluses while increaseing GST rates and closing a blind eye to the underclass. Yet it seems that you so angrily condemn the government for every single problem that occurs in this country, as though they are fully responsible and aware of the repercussions of every policy decision, and they are purposely making our lives a living hell. Yes, given, the government is always accountable for the problems of a country but in several instances, I think you go overboard in vilifying our ministers.

For example in this case, you call for Wong Kan Seng to resign because of Mas Selamat's escape. Sure, as the head, he is answerable for this grave mistake. But around the world, leaders are failed by their bureaucracy and law enforcers. Does this necessarily make them bad leaders? I would think not. I don't wish to remove any blame on the government's part. It is shameless that such a man escaped, and the government has to take responsibility for the disgusting lapse of vigilance and security negligence. But to point your finger at one man, and say that for this, he has to resign, is really taking it too far.

This government is far from being perfect. I certainly would not hesitate to criticise their actions, but it feels as though, the constant frustrations you have faced in dealing with them have lead you to become over cynical and emotional in your judgements. I have seen this happen to a good many people, and even this, is a result of the manner in which our government operates. I just feel as though your commentaries have lost the constructive criticism, analysis and spark that they once had.


Anonymous said...

Terrible Shame! It was the Indonesians who caught Mas for Singapore! This appalling incident cannot go unpunished.


I have a fear that if this escape is planned, I would not be surprised he has great plans for Singapore! How else to make a statement to escape from Singapore prison then to inflict damage and afterwards proclaim to the world that the JI has won Singapore? I hope I am wrong.
Thus I feel this is a grave incompetence that cannot go unpunished!
WKS please resign, cutting your salary is not enough!

Anonymous said...

Overpaid and useless. Someone must be punished!

I just fear that if this escape is planned, he may have in store a devious scheme for Singapore. What a statement it would make if he could pull some sinister plot after his escape and proclaim victory against us?

WKS please RESIGN.

Anonymous said...

Only recently the many ministers talked about how lucky Singaporeans are to have good leaders. The msm always talked about how country A can learn from Sgp about this and how country B can learn from Sgp about that. These countries have the last laugh.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they just want to kill this guy but found no legal means to do so..

so let him out and shoot him lor

oh i'm talking about a movie

Anonymous said...

Hi Danielle,

I strongly agree with you. We cannot blame the escape of a terrorist convict to the government. It is unfair to them. After-all we are the people who elected this "highly paid geniuses". We only have ourselves to blame.

Anonymous said...

Dear Danielle, the said minister had no issues with increasing his paycheck, no?

with great pay comes great responsibilities, no?

the powers that be had always liken the management of the nation as that of the private sectors - high pay to get the best talent

extrapolate this incident to a private sector firm - if a bank's security system is flawed, resulting in the bank being robbed, do you think the bank's chief of security's job will be in peril? Why is this case different?

We HAVE to be cynical, because this is a group of people, who insinuated that if given a lower than competitive salary scale, they would forsake the country and go to the private sector, or turn corrupt.

Anonymous said...

"This government is far from being perfect". Unquote. FAR FROM BEING PERFECT; point taken, far from perfect means lousy to many.

Present leaderships anywhere, including Sg, now have their works made and make much easy by the numerous free expertise, suggestion, feedback and proposal given freely and free of charge for them to pick and choose.

Yet, despite the advantage, the local leadership is adamant that it and only them(leaders) are the best, the knows-all. I do admit that it(Leadership) is super good in exploiting its' citizens and treats the latter like they owe them(leaders) their livings.

As for security of the Country, please observe how the Changi Airport Security Personnels check the vehicles, especially delivery trucks, going into the underground driveways at T1, T2 and T3. It is almost like going through the motion; ask the security staff, mostly FTs, how much overtime they are doing. You will be unnerved. And why so much overtime? Reason; shortage of manpower.

How much faith do you have for the safety and security of the citizens and the State?

Anonymous said...

He is a terrorist?

Says who?

The court? The Judge? The Jury?

Or is it just Mr. Wang and MR. Wong Kan Seng?

Why would you put the face of an innocent man on your blog and call him a fugitive? Do DPP and ex-DPP pay lip service only to the concept of innocent-till-proven-guilty? What is the point of studying law if you do not even believe in the basic concepts of jurisprudence? Oh, right, law degree can lead to big bucks! He seems to know more about justice than you do.

Anonymous said...


Do you think that a mere apology from WKS would absolve him of all responsibilities and accountability ?

Then why are we told by our great leaders who has taken great pains to explain that we have to pay top dollar for such world class leaders. If there are no accountability to assume, how can we ensure that our world class ministers will not repeat such mistakes in their responsibilities.

We might as well pay peanuts for any Tom, Dick and Harry to do the job.

Anonymous said...

Dear Danielle,

Mr Wang is as human as you and me. He has feelings, we can feel pain. Being angry and disappointed is part and parcel of life and it is normal.

I do not know about the million dollars men.

"This government is far from being perfect"

This is not true. Our government is perfect. We are constantly reminded that we have the best government in the world. Once, our esteemed MM said that we may need a bad dose of government to wake us up. This implied that we have already a very good dose of government.

Are we getting a dose of bad government now?

Anonymous said...

I have in my post agreed that the government does does deserve to take responsibility. I disagree simply that it is jumping the gun to call for WKS to resign, as though he authorised the man's release when it was a failure on his subordinates. I will leave it at that.

I must say though, that given the anger and frustration that everyone throws around, it is the people to blame. If you are so disatisfied with the government, you have the power to change things, yet time and time again you do not. People around the world, suffer and toil to free their countries from authoritative regimes. Freedom comes with a price yet most Singaporeans are only content with sitting behind a computer and venting their deep discontent and complaints online instead of doing anything about it. If you feel so much about whats going on around you and find liberty something so important to your being, stand up and do something about it. Talk is cheap.


Anonymous said...

What infuriates me most is that the state controlled media have high handed orders from way up to "interview" people on the street who gave full confidence to the government's security forces blah blah blah! These journalists are just brainless puppeteers for power hungry & status conscious government. Even a 6 year old kid can tell you, "how come our security so lousy?!"

Anonymous said...


Gosh, were you born yesterday? Ministers around the world resigns every time when a major embarassment takes place. Japan, USA, France, Germany even 3rd World Countries do that! Except yes you have guessed it Singapore. Grow up man & be more mature in your thinking!

Anonymous said...

i was thinking there are some JI members outside planning all these years, digging a secret tunnel from the forest nearby all the way to the toilet, the family visit is just a hint to tell him that the tunnel is completed, once he crawled out, he might be given cahs, fake passport and maybe a free ferry ticket to batam.

Anonymous said...

Looks like 'great pay comes great responsibilities' does not apply to unique Singapore, so let us not point our fingers at one man, and say that for this, he has to resign. Resignations will never happen here and I think we have gone overboard by asking for the impossible. This government is far from perfect, and I certainly hope that they realise this when it is time to increase their own salary. For the moment, I just wonder who should be responsible, probably a low-ranking guard, so let's move on.

Anonymous said...

Ah Wang

Indeed the bugger Wong will escape with a slap on the wrist.

But i totally agree that all bloggers should post selamat's picture in their blog. Awareness is key now.

Plenty of time to whack government after :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a good idea to start pre-judging WKS on this issue until we know more facts for certain. For example, was the lapse that led to this escape due to the fault of one of the complex guards (human error), or a more fundamental flaw in the ISD's security procedures (systemic error)?

It's easy to point fingers at the person who's overall in charge (in this case the Home Affairs Minister), but why should we only hang the figurehead when his subordinates down the chain-of-command may be far more culpable? People aren't perfect. Whether you pay them million-dollar salaries or not, you can't expect them to be able to prevent every single human error committed by their subordinates.

Having said that, I do agree that while we shouldn't be so quick to pull the trigger yet, the MHA has a great deal of accounting to do at this point in time.

Anonymous said...

In the Westminster model, although the Permanent Secretary is in charge of the functioning of the ministry (the bureaucracy), the Minister is ultimately responsible. It is harsh. Thats why a Minister's job is not easy. You need eyes on both sides of your head - in the front so you can move forward and do the things you were elected to do, on the back so your followers don't do anything such as stab you in the back.

Rightfully, the Minister should be held to account and he is, and in some jurisdictions he'll be called to resign. Mr Wang is right to say that he won't in Singapore. He is cynical, but it is cynicism grounded in past experience. No PAP minister has been shown the door, publicly at least, for incompetence, and certainly not one who is a heavyweight.

The reality is someone will take the rap, and usually a civil servant, which is unfortunate enough, or worse, the poor Gurkhas who happened to be on guard. It is not unique to Singapore - the state attorneys scandal in the US saw Alberto Gonzales take the fall for Bush. But that was relatively minor. If someone escaped from Guantanamo, the President or the Defense Secretary might be impeached by Congress.

I honestly do not think it is a 'security lapse'. Whitley is a very secretive and high priority establishment. The very fact that a lapse can happen in such a place, and be exploited by a limping man, suggests a failure of systems and processes, and the oversight of such systems ultimately rests in the hands of the Permanent Secretary, who reports to the Minister, who the people must call to account.

Anonymous said...

>>The timing is so coincidental and so fortuitous from one of Singapore's most secured facilities astounds me.

Perhaps that explained for his grinning?

Anonymous said...

When he spoke in parliament on Thursday to give an update on escape and to apologise, he appeared to be "smiling". I noticed that when the word "sorry" was said, he wasn't looking up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Danielle,
I think if the cabinet ministers, we would have a more moderate expectations of the abilities, but with an insane pay, the expectations on them to deliever also becomes insane. It comes with the tuft. We cannot expect them to ride on a high pay and not suffer the consequences of their mismanagement. Who is to blame for all the man hours spent hunting for the man? The people in the army, police force etc etc. Danielle , You find this acceptable?

Anonymous said...

Pay peanuts, get monkeys. Pay bigger peanuts, get same monkeys who now sleep on the job!

Hello, it's just a sign that we are not paying the ministers enough.

Is this a sample of "bad dose of government"?

Will Singaporean mothers, sisters, wives and daughters end up as maids in other country soon?

Let's get ready for another pay hike for our hardworking, honourable and dedicated ministers!

Anyone drinking Newater lately? Be careful, Mas Selamat may be part of Newater's ingredients by now.

How else, could he escape from the toilet?

This shameless wayang which is better than "Wag the Dog", deserves an Oscar!

Let's watch out for the next spinning wayang. "Limping Terrorist vs Lame Minister" sounds good.

Jevon Louis said...

I recall reading a Channel News Asia report that the Whitley Detention Centre employed Gurkhas to guard the detainees due to the sensitive nature of their alleged crimes - I use alleged since they were never charged in a court of law and are being detained under the ISA.

Anyway, the point is this speaks volumes for our esteemed foreign talent policy...of all things why are we entrusting our security, the security of OUR country to foreigners as well? Alright, so they guard the homes of ministers, but really, are our best security personnel so inept or so untrustworthy that they cannot handle guarding these alleged terrorists? Is the Ministry of Home Affairs still justified in using taxpayers' money to employ these mercenaries when our local boys could very well do the job as well, and maybe even better?

Wonder if there's any MP willing to raise this to Wong Kan Seng.

Unknown said...

We all can take a page from WKS' book in the way he made an "apology".

He said: "This should never have happened. I am sorry that it has. An independent investigation is underway and we should not speculate now as to what and how it happened. Security at the centre has been stepped up."

It is just you just had an accident and lost someone dear and your friend tells you "I am sorry that you lost your ........... , take care." at the funeral.

Basically, not my fault!

Anonymous said...

I think Mr Wang has over-reacted. This escapee poses no danger to Singapore secruity at all, as compare to CSJ.

Look at Hong Lim and other related events, you will see many plain clothes and truck load of Police Task force members and police camera men. In one instance, the policewomen even formed a chain around CSJ's dangerous sis.

Compare this to the security treatment of this escapee. I believe that he is less of a threat

Anonymous said...

these minsters increase their own paychecks and ask people to go for cheaper alternative, break the people's leg and give them a crutch, announce budget that give $200+ for people really in desperate need and next moment with the same mouth talk about being gracious society; boast that they're the only talent that best of the jobs,...

so now if person with the above traits who fail to discharge his duty, ie security and financial planning (who was the finance minister then?), too much to ask him to resign? So what the type of "answer" Danielle is expecting?

By the way, remember how graciously was James Gomes treated for his mistake about the FORM?
Hmmm, wonder what will happen if he is the person in-charge and the opposition party? most likely even if he's cat with nine lives won't be enough to save him.....

Anonymous said...


If they want world class pay and peg their salaries to private sector pay, then they jolly well be prepared to take any risks those high earners in the private sector are taking as well. Haven't we just witnessed CEOs of at least 3 major banks being asked to leave after non-performance and landing the bank in bad states? Why should the garhman therefore be spared of this. So, you mean it's right for them to take high salary, and take no/low risk? No free lunches hor... at least that's what garhman taught me.

Anonymous said...

Where is the CCTV? There was one when a certain Mr Gomez made an honest mistake. I'm sure there is one here.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Singapore very lucky he didn't plan his escape a week earlier?

With that YOG 2010 and the badly organised Singapore Airshow last weekend, where would we mobilise all the manpower, had we need to hunt for Mas Selamat?

Recall half of all the Singaporean men for reservist, and leave the good foreign talents to support to economy?

We are lucky the IOC selected us as the YOG host last week. Had they known we would carelessly allowed Mas Selamat to escape...

-ben said...

Call me cynical (but not a conspiracy theorist) but the "escape" of one Selamat Kastari seems too convenient given the concurrent timing with the SG$7.15 billion mis-forecast.

It reminds me of the smokescreen of repealing Section 377A distracting the public from the CPF annuity scheme.

At the end of the day though, we all make the beds we sleep in. We made the bed (as our forefathers did), so now lie in it.

Anonymous said...

LOL! Mr. Wang, I really love your last sentence;

"Mas Selamat has managed to run away. But in the end, it will be Wong Kan Seng who makes the really Great Escape."

In the end, it was Wong Kan Seng who did the "Great Escape". LOL! Really love the way you put it. So very true!

Anonymous said...

After watching Zeitgeist, I had this shuddering thought.

It was said that the FBI was responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing. The purpose: To institute tighter rules and laws to further control the freedom of the citizens.

What if, as I was thinking out loud, that Mas was actually given a clear road to walk out, to let the government and media scare the people of the BIG danger of terrorism, so that they can demand and institute tighter rules and more draconian laws to restrict the people's freedom? <-- Possible conspiracy theory

What I worry is that, after more than 24 hours of thousands of security personnel searching the vicinity, they still haven't managed to find him, gives me a scary thought that he has already left the country.

Someone shared with me that it is highly possible that Mas may have already left the country. Think about it: The police sarg looking after Mas discovers he is missing, panicked and wasted 30 minutes to find him. Cannot find him, tell the superior. Superior panicked, take another 30 minutes to one hour to look around the detention facility. Still cannot find, escalate to police chief, realising the gravity of the situation. Police chief informs SAF chief, coordination made, another 30 minutes. By the time the minister is informed, hours have passed. These few hours could have allowed Mas to make a quick getaway.

The "silence" regarding how the getaway was successful is very disturbing, given the fact that Singapore has been known to be very efficient in identifying and solving problems and who pride in taking terrorism very seriously. I really hope there had be a good explanation for what had happened from MHA.

Lastly, is it me or what, but when DPM said that Mas is an extremely dangerous man, that he is roaming around, and that it is necessary to deploy a SAF soldier deployed every 3 m around the school fence for protection, and YET says that don't worry, don't be alarmed, I don't quite understand the gravity of the situation. So if I face him face to face, is he dangerous or not? :P

Anonymous said...

Dear yamizi, to my knowledge, ISD detainees do not stand trial. "The Internal Security Act (ISA) of Singapore[1] confers on the government the right to arrest and detain individuals without trial in certain defined circumstances". this is quoted from wikipedia, but i remember the brochure in ISA mentioned something similar as well..

dear nicholas, it's not that we would like to undermine our security forces,and comparison of such an incident to the London Bombings and 9-11 would be quite unjust as well. the participants of these two terrorist attacks were not under strict confined survelliance, or at least not for the London bombing. watching nat geo or discovery would give u enlightenment on how even the advanced facial recognition system in the fully-camera survellianced london could not spot the london bombers.

Anonymous said...

it would be unfair to ask the president to step down.. for it is known that in singapore, the President is,largely, a ceremonial figure or more of a diplomatic figure. The Prime Minister is the one who heads the government. WKS is quite another thing altogether. yes, i'll give it to you that it is unfair to put all the blame on one man, it would be unfair to ask the president to step down.. for it is known that in singapore, the President is,largely, a ceremonial figure or more of a diplomatic figure. The Prime Minister is the one who heads the government. WKS is quite another thing altogether. yes, i'll give it to you that it is unfair to put all the blame on one man, for there are probably thousands who are at fault. but it is because that one man is at the top of the chain for such a situation, let me cite an example. Im not serving NS, but the general public would be able to speculate that when something like Dave Teo incident happens, many people get implicated, from top to bottom.

Anonymous said...

I think the person guarding him should be junior officer(s), right?
If so, you can see how their failure of duty can have such a tremendous impact all the way up and across the country or even the world for this case.
So sometimes when senior officers or ministers are paid very well, it doesn't mean that the system will do well because they cannot control the weakest link at the ground level like this case which is not only a huge embarassment but also a big security issue.
So is their pay justified and should they take responsibility for such failures by resigning? Or is it because they cannot find a better person so he cannot resign?
If so, then this is terrible because despite the big mistake they continue to be on the job and drawing the high pay as if nothing happen.

Leslie said...

dear mr.wang,

so in your view, mr. wong kan seng should resign for this sorry episode. (hell, the whole government should leave in a hurry).

mas, as you stated yourself, was detained under the internal security act. isn't it poetic justice that he escaped, having not been tried in the court of law?

or are you such a pap-bashing opportunist that this unproven crime of his for which he is being detained is of no concern to you? (chia thye poh, anyone?) where do you stand, mr. wang?


Ser Ming said...

Jevon Louis:

For what I had heard from others and my little experience with Gurkhas, they are really a better choice mah.

They are so disciplined and their pressence itself instill fear, that's for me lah.

Gurkhas came from a long history, even though they are now mercenaries, they uphold their pride and name too.

You should see the kind of jog from Mount Vernon along Serangoon road, to Ang Mo Kio to Pierce Reservior and back to Mount Vernon. And their running speed is not slow lor.

Gurkhas...I also salute!

Anonymous said...

Was he ever tried in court? This sounds like the Marxist Conspiracy issue to me again. As long as the newspapers keep quiet about the budget surplus of 2007 for now, I guess the government has managed its KPI :0 )

Anonymous said...

As to denielle point about it being our fault and voting out PAP - I agree. We should start dismantling the GRC model and make it change - only 3 seats in 1 GRC and limited to the number of percentage of minority races. Not a 10 member GRC that allows for tailcoat hanger ons that sweep into parliament and hip hop during Chingays. Stupid.

Anonymous said...

Leslie wrote:
"or are you such a pap-bashing opportunist that this unproven crime of his for which he is being detained is of no concern to you? (chia thye poh, anyone?) where do you stand, mr. wang?"

Ah do I see the signs of character assassination employed by PAP trained bloggers to tarnish Mr Wang's site now? GE coming soon, Leslie? Care to share more on the tentative dates for GE?

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...


I think your question is simply misconceived.

Whatever your personal view or my personal view of the ISA may be, it is clearly not acceptable for someone like Mas Selamat to have escaped from incarceration.

Consider ANY of the following scenarios:

(1) Mas Selamat has been convicted in open court and was being held in prison for his involvement in terrorist activities; OR

(2) Mas Selamat has been suspected of being involved in terrorist activities and is being held by the authorities pending his actual trial next month in open court; OR

(3) The Minister believes that Mas Selamat is a terrorist and the Minister has exercised his powers under the ISA to detain him without trial.

In ANY of the above three scenarios, it is clearly NOT a good thing that Mas Selamat manages to escape!

To put it another way, WHATEVER the merits or demerits of your particular laws or regulations, it is NOT an acceptable situation for your suspects, prisoners, convicts OR detainees to be able to stage an escape!

Anonymous said...

Wong Kan Seng and his elite civil servants are clearly underpaid.

Please increase their salaries to ensure they work harder to ensure no such thing happen again.

Anonymous said...

Whether this escape had been by design or someone's incompetency, it has achieved its goal of diffusing some attention on the terrible financial budget planning by our dear previous finance minister (who was that???).

covering up for LSL incompetency is the top priority... wondering why WKS smiling during his speech, was he promised something that he can stop beaming with 'joy'....

Anonymous said...

How does Minister Wong's resignation serve the cause? None is perfect. For that I mean no one. Wong Kan Seng is one of the sharpest ministers around lest you are unaware.

If we went round demanding our ministers, one after another to resign, over some ground events, then who is going to govern this resourceless, tiny red dot? Show us where on this planet a tiny 700 sq km nation state is a first world country and the government deposits ang pows annually into the coffers of all its citizens.

Now is the time for all Singaporeans to get their act together to show the world how united were are. We have to squeeze him and smoke him out so that he won't have another chance at starting on another adventure against Singapore. For a start, Mas Selamat's latest photo should be widely circulated in the mass media (TV, newspapers), amongst bloggers, educational institutions, public transport network (cabs, trains, buses), shopping malls, markets and hawker centers. And it would be good if our Malay-Muslim Singaporeans could be seen spearheading the "campaign" like handing out flyers around Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Now, Mr Wang. You were the restaurant's boss. Your waitress had just written "steam fish" and passed the order to the cook or chef. Out came the cooked fish. The customer shouted, "I asked for steamed not fried fish!"

Would you sack the waitress?

Anonymous said...

George says:


As a foreigner I don't believe you can emphatise with the sort of anger, frustration and mood of Singaporans.

By the law of average, do you believe it is possible for the overwhelming negative responses to the incident to be anything but a fair reflection and indicator of the governance record of our govt outside of economic development? The govt is apparently good at this, but unfortunatly precious little else. Most lacking is the face of the milk of human kindness -look at its policies towards the poor and aged, the down and out, the sick.

Come to Singapore, live here for a good period and you will perhaps soon appreciate what a discerning foreign talent's has observed about the rampant sugar-coating of policies when announced which on closer examination tells you how sly, calculating and hard-hearted the govt really is. It's impossible to come away without the feeling that it is and has always been about the survival and dominance of the ruling party at all cost.

Please understand our cynicism, it goes with the territory and environment we are immersed in.

Anonymous said...

A 1- or 2-hour news blackout after the escape would have been acceptable. The decision to wait for 4 hours must be a political one (as was the timing of the 2% GST hike). The delay has been costly and obviously so to the public.

I think WKS has to take the rap for this, even if it was sanctioned by the PM or his entire cabinet. He should resign. For him to pay a political price for a political mistake in judgement sounds very fair to me.

Heartland Joe

Anonymous said...

well did our govt always said that the minister salaries are raised to matched those of the private sector?

WKS won't need to worry about getting a new job even if he decides to resign. The private sector will just pay him as much. And guess who those private sectors are linked to?

Anonymous said...

At least he is learning to say: " I AM SORRY" but he must say "THANK, PAY CORRECT SIR". We should be saying: "DONT FEED THE MONKEYS"

Anonymous said...

Remember the Malaysian pilot who was fired and had his PR revoked by our Gahmen for fighting for the rights of the pilot union.

Was the pilot's mistake (if indeed it was ever a mistake) more serious as compared to that of letting a terrorist escaped ? Why was our LKY so enraged that he had to do such a ruthless and spiteful thing to him ?

And now that WKS is related to LKY and our PM by marriage, does it mean that no action will ever be taken against WKS even though the mistake make under by WKS's charges could lead to disastrous results ?

So in the eyes of the Gahmen, would this imply double standards if no action is ever taken against WKS ?

Anonymous said...

Every damn blog post these days inevitably points back to how f-ed up singapore is and that our minister's high pay is to blame.

Are there not original thoughts left? Are objective criticisms a thing of the past.

If our ministers were paid only $4,000 a mth, would that make this security lapse any more acceptable?

Mr Wang, calling WKS to resign without even knowing the full story yet is a tad bit premature and juvenile don't you think?

If he resigns today and another PAPy takes his place, will you feel better? I wouldn't. I wouldn't be satisfied with that as it solves nothing and that would be the great escape indeed... not that he gets away, but he gets to shirk his responsibilities by resigning, getting his pension early, and migrating to enjoy the good life in canada.

No sir, let him keep his job and answer for every minute detail overlooked, every mistake made, every contingency left unplanned...etc

Being responsible is staying and taking the heat ... not running out of the kitchen!


Anonymous said...

People, unless you're as wealthy as those living in District 10 or our million-dollar ministers, there's no need to worry.

Life goes on even if 10 Mas Selamat Kastari escape.

You should worry about the bread-and-butter issues, like how come a tin of Enlene milk has shot from $10 to $18.

Ordinary people like you and I don't really have much to lose.

geriatric_eunuch said...

Question: How do you lure the flies out of your kitchen?
Answer: Place a large bucket of sh1t in your living room.

And a cynic would only have to compare headlines and blog posts a day apart to notice that it works like a charm too. In the blink of an eye, the REAL problem which will affect most people's lives infinitely more painfully - the government's now badly tarnished competence - has magically fallen off the radar to be replaced by a fear-mongering event.

Ah yes. This supremely dangerous master terrorist (according to guess whom?), somehow acquires a Harry Potter invisibility cloak and manages to slip from the sphincter of a feared detention facility through multiple layers of security (guarded by Gurkhas/Dementors too, by golly) in the middle of a tightly buttoned-down police state. He's reportedly even been seen running up slope to Malcolm Park. Whilst being physically disabled. An outstanding display of fitness and a tribute to the quality of care lovingly tendered by the ISD, wouldn't you agree?

Then a curious information blackout for hours, no panic, no public warnings not to approach this deadly creature, no island-wide lockdown. Cue obligatory show of force with armed police surrounding the area a metre apart, which, it has to be admitted, they're pretty good at with all the practice they've had at surrounding things in Hong Lim Park.

Act 1, scene 3: Pan to DPM Wong Kan Seng wreathed in customary smirk and apologising most sincerely for an 'honest mistake', all the while managing to look not in the slightest bit sorry for himself because he knows perfectly well that his elite position is impregnable. Kastari, the coolly terrifying terrorist chief accused of plotting truck bombs and crashing planes into Changi Airport is "no imminent danger to the public" according to the wise DPM. Simple minds might be forgiven for wondering why then bang the man up under the Draconian ISA?

Meantime, most have forgotten for now the swingeing fare rises, the obscene wages, the gigantic budget surplus error, the GST increase outrage, the ever-rising inflation rate, the sardine living conditions, ... Job done, good script, it's a wrap, man.

Do you not feel the odd twinge of disquiet that Kastari has been demonised without the chance to defend himself in a free and fair trial - as with so many other dissident "criminals" in the ISA's rogues gallery before him? Not even a thought that "there but for the grace of God go I"? No nagging suspicion of being manipulated, of being led around by the nose, of being distracted from more pressing issues?

Well done, well done indeed! You are a true and faithful child of this courageous land and you truly deserve to continue to rest in peace.

* Pat, pat. Hurries away holding nose against the stench *

Anonymous said...

Hi you cannot blame me mah...

i was at home crapping after a good meal paid by peanuts residents of singapore

i was not sharing the toilet with MAS. i promise if i were there.i would scream loudly like a pussy and alert the sleeping guards playing with their own prick

7-8 said...

Wong can't sing, can't do shit either.

Yes it was good to entrust the security to the Gurkas when they were the best but on current evidence are they still the best?

It is less important that he escapes - what is one terrorist when there is a whole sea of them throughout Indonesia / South Philippines / Malaysia? What matters is that the ISD has a huge egg on their face and less power to put us bloggers down from now on, and we should milk this incident for what it's worth.

7-8 said...

The "Wag the Dog" theory is a little suspect. Incidents of terrorism may result in greater support for the incumbent government in the sense that people see that they should "rally around our nation", as it did in 911, or the public fury that a government allowed one such attack to happen could lead to the downfall in Spain. And the escape of 1 suspect could not be a distraction, or if it is, given that it shows the government in such a bad light, it seems like a pretty high price to pay.

Furthermore the specific incidents that were mentioned in "Wag the Dog" have later on been shown to be valid. Clinton should be commended for telling his people: bomb Belgrade, attack Iraq, fire missiles at Al Qaeda, even though all 3 acts can be conceived as wag the dog. Eventually these 3 actions were found to be much more than just distractions.

Anonymous said...

The high salary have inhibit their ability to work maybe its time to reduce the salary for lack of motivation and increased it only when there is real result.Actually, given our Efficient government? I expected him to be caught by yesterday.So much for better governance or is this the taste bad governance the old mens talk ABOUT?

Anonymous said...

hmmm, WKS one of the sharpest around? yah, so sharp that this team were off the mark by by 7 billion , exluding the land sales of 10 billion.....

Here goes the same scripts again.... "let's work toether as a team to solve this" when someone has to be responsible....

When increasing their own pay, it's not longer the team's effort but their individual 'talent'....

Is that a PAP blogger???

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with Danielle here. Critical analysis is what's sorely lacking in our print media, which is why many go online for balanced views. But local commentary websites are increasingly saturated with cynicism - a critical attitude yes, but tempered with a huge dose of bitter fatalism. I have a friend who's very critical of the gov, but voted for PAP during the last election. His 'reason' was 1)he's working for a gov-linked organisation, "they will know" and 2)PAP will win anyway. Cynicism will only reinforce this sense of frustrated 'helplessness', where you dismiss yourself as an agency of change, and squander opportunities to do so, no matter how small (hey he had a chance to vote when most of us didn't) I do feel angry about the stubborn opacity of the gov, but lets not drown ourselves in bitterness and lose the will to be constructive.

Anonymous said...

Wong Kan Seng was rated by Dr. Goh Keng Swee as maximum potential of deputy permanent secretary, when he was working in the Ministery of Defence. Out of frustration he left the Administtrative Service to pursue his Master degree on his own expense. He came back, worked as Personnel Manager at HP. Goh Chok Tong pulled him into politics and pushed him all the way up. Now he is DPM. He has way exceeded his level of competence. Hence it is not surprising that this sorts of things happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Lee Hsien Loong has remained so quiet over this affair (or more correctly we shouldn't be surprised let WKS take the heat Lee is probably thinking).

Anyway, has anyone considered the possiblity that Mat Selamat for whatever reasons has died in detention and that this escape was 'staged' to cover his death?

Wouldn't be surprised if in a few days, they proudly proclaim they found the decaying body of Selamat somewhere in our nature reserve. Then our government-licking media would go to town with how great the Home Team was.

Anonymous said...

The vaunted PAP government has cracks in its armor! Unfortunately, it's not been able to keep this boo boo under wraps.

I would not be surprised if many of our neighbours and 'friends' are not chuckling away at the government's discomfit and great loss of face.

And all it took was one 47 year old with a bad leg. Shows what can be done if one dares.

But Singaporeans have been drinking too much Newater and become used to taking crumbs from the MPs table that they are too lazy to stand up for their own rights.

Anonymous said...

You peasants are getting too bold complaining about all the efforts of our esteem Ministers. Without us you would be facing bombs, strikes, protests daily! Let's see if you don't shit your pants when I release this evil terrorist. That microchip from Bush works perfectly we'll get him back once all the peasants learn that they cant survive without us.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang, you were once an insightful, perceptive blogger who seemed to truly care about Singapore and about improving our country. But lately it seems every single one of your posts is laced with so much cynicism and sarcasm that I almost need an oxygen mask in order to breathe. I have no idea what your purpose truly is. Are you not Singaporean? Do you not care about our country? If so, do you think what you write helps Singapore? Does it help to be so cynical? Would it not be better to stay positive and offer solutions to the problem, rather than continue to add fuel to the fire? Or is your idea of a solution to fire each and every single minister/civil servant whenever a major mistake is committed? Yes, WKS is obviously responsible - I would say that a punishment is in order. Perhaps his pay should be deducted or he should be demoted (and of course I agree that this would never happen. At least not publicly). But to fire him would be an over-reaction when it is obvious (surely even to you, Mr Wang, who seem to see through cynicism- and sarcasm-tinted glasses) that in our resource-scarce nation, a person of WKS's pedigree and experience is hard to replace.

And to all those commenters on this blog who consistently and constantly refer to Singapore as a police-state, I just want to ask you: do you even know what a police-state is like? Seriously, take a moment to think, and think hard. Do you REALLY think Singapore is a police state? Do you REALLY know what a police state is like?

I just wish people would be more sensible. That's it, so simple. Just be more sensible. Every single little thing that goes wrong, you have Mr Wang and his band of cronies slamming the government left right centre. It's as though Mr Wang and his "buddies" are perfect people who have not so much as even stepped on an ant in their lives. Only god knows, eh. Stupidity seems to be endemic and I know that despite the best efforts of anyone, there will always be people who are too quick to jump on the bandwagon of blaming the government for everything that goes wrong. Well, what can I say. That is probably what separates the wheat from the chaff.

I say, if you really think things are so bad, then go out there and do something about it. Do you really love Singapore and want to make it better, or are you all just selfish people who just want to sit around and slam the government and expect the government to be perfect? That is the crux: how many of you truly love this nation and truly want to do something for it? How many of you are just here complaining and slamming because you are too lazy to change things?

And of course, I must clarify that I am not a PAP-supporter or a PAP blogger or whatever (some idiots here always think that just because somebody isn't speaking against the government, therefore that person is automatically pro-PAP. How amateurish). I am just your average Singaporean male who has been reading Mr Wang's blog since it was "commentarysingapore.blogspot.com", and found that the quality of posts is decreasing and the cynicism increasing. I am so sick and tired of the cynicism of some of the posts (of course I must clarify that this is Mr Wang's blog and he is free to write whatever he wishes) and so sick of the negativity that some of the commenters here display and just wish that people would be more sensible and really take a moment to think before passing judgement on something.

That includes you, Mr Wang.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

It occurs to me that some readers clearly do not understand the seriousness of the events this week.

I have carefully reread my post, and I think that every point I had made is a valid point.

Some readers think that I exaggerate. One reader even writes:

"Or is your idea of a solution to fire each and every single minister/civil servant whenever a major mistake is committed?" ....

.... as if I have a frivolous habit of making such proposals. In fact, prior to this week, I do not think that I have ever said that ANY minister should resign. Please feel free to go through my last three years of blog entries and prove me wrong.

What has happened this week is potentially very, very serious - far more serious than a $7,100,000,000 budget mistake; or the removal of one Ryan Goh; or the 32-year incarceration of Chia Thye Poh; or the continued infringement of the human rights of gays in Singapore; or any other matter I have recently blogged about.

Five years from now, when Mas Selamat resurfaces from obscurity and successfully crashes a plane into Changi Airport Terminal 3, killing thousands of people -

then perhaps you will understand what I mean.

By then, most of you will have forgotten what WKS's errors have got to do with such an event. Besides, between now and then, he would have collected another SGD 10 to 15 million dollars and can happily retire and fade into obscurity.

Anonymous said...

Since SM Goh and MM Lee has indicated the problems about finding 4th Generation leaders, I support the call for another pay increase for all ministers so that they can focus better and do a better job. If this minister resign, who will take over? Please increase their pay! Our GIC is so rich, and the CPF annuity scheme will help finance this increase.

Anonymous said...

Since WKS need not to resign after admitting it's an 'honest mistake', can I take over his post and draw millions till another MAS escape ? It seems like an easy job, didn't it ? Do we as Singaporeans receive any reward if we were to contribute or suggest constructive ideas ? MY FOOT ! Why should I since PAP ministers are drawing the pay ? Intelligent persons like Catherine Lim has made her views and see wat happened after that ? PAP is never wrong lah... can eat?...EAT lah... People is generally selfish... that's the reason for voting for the PAP despite the frustration... and please, please dun talk non-sense of doing something for your country. We have done 2.5 years of NS and we are the local trash and PAP has eyes for Foreign Talents ! Why not replace WKS with an Indian minister and pay him SGD1000...cheap and just as screw up like him ! Wake up your ideas so call non-PAP supporters but carry PAP balls close to your breast !

Anonymous said...

I say, if you really think things are so bad, then go out there and do something about it. Do you really love Singapore and want to make it better, or are you all just selfish people who just want to sit around and slam the government and expect the government to be perfect? That is the crux: how many of you truly love this nation and truly want to do something for it? How many of you are just here complaining and slamming because you are too lazy to change things?

You struck me as choosing to look at only one side of the moon.

Of course, they were people who risked their lives to try and play a part - the people who joined the various opposition parties to try make a difference.

But they faced numerous obstacles: a press that wasn't supportive of them especially during elections, a government that threatens lawsuits at the slightest of provocation (why not an "honest mistake"?), redrawing electoral boundaries, etc.

Anonymous said...

Consider the following:
-such a 'pedigree' hard to replace even before considering whether he should be or not base on seriousness of the problem
-cynicism of the ministers and slam the government= not loving spore
-someone quality of posts is decreasing when there are 2 negative articles of government?

offensive remarks like "idiots", "be more sensible" ," do u know what u're talking", "That is probably what separates the wheat from the chaff" ....

Hmmm, interesting, see what is someone trying to do here?

Anonymous said...

Hi Wang,

There is no doubt about the seriousness of this escape.

However, to link this "error" with WKS might be stretching it as well. Yes. He is ultimately accoutable for this even if he didn't directly contribute to the error. However, you have portrayed that he is directly involved in the error.

I also agreed with one of your readers saying that WKS pay has nothing to do with this. Be it 4k a month or 2m a year.

To link the pay to this seems to play on sensationalism. This is not the time to link another thorny issue with a disastrous like this.

Anonymous said...

"person of WKS's pedigree and experience is hard to replace."

What on earth are you smoking? Pedigree and experience?
A person who has "experience" as you say will not:
1) Implement the foreign talent 6.5 million people policy in such a way today that it almost seems detrimental to the people and state

2) Enforce draconian laws on WTO protesters while screwing up on something big: the escape of a potential terrorist

Please do not put your minister on a pedestal. He is nothing more than an overpaid, incompetent individual. Incompetent overpaid people should be fired. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

//Five years from now, when Mas Selamat resurfaces from obscurity and successfully crashes a plane into Changi Airport Terminal 3, killing thousands of people -

There is no way to know for sure if something as drastic as the event you have described above will happen. Granted, there is a chance. But no one knows for sure. You speak as though it is a given. Very dangerous line of thinking there, Mr Wang. Do you know something we don't?

I concede your point regarding the severity of the matter, Mr Wang. Mas Selamat should not have been allowed to escape. But my point wasn't about the severity of the matter - it was about your increasingly cynical posts and the negativity of some commenters here.

Anyway, that's life isn't it. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks his opinion is right. Personally, I am surprised that the PAP, being the supposed totalitarian, police-state government that some of you claim it is, has not acted to close down this blog. I mean, some of the comments are seriously just so anti-government and inflammatory and smack so much of a "jumping on the bandwagon to hate the govt" mentality.

Conspiracy theory: maybe Mr Wang is actually a pro-PAP person who is purposely spreading dissent on the Web to see who responds and then collects their IP addresses, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Just kidding lah ;-)

Anonymous said...

having read so many comments *it's tough to read abour 80 comments at one go*, perhaps a clarification should be made.

gurkhas, are not exactly deemed as foreigners. they're more of a representative of a neutral force. perhaps thinking it as similar to UN peace keeping corps will help. and that's why they guard sensitive locations. the usage of gurkhas are not a sign of undermining our local policeman, but more of to show neutrality. which would wag more tongues, a neutral force guarding the Detention Centre which houses political criminals and criminals involved in espionage etc, or Policemen guarding the Centre? however, may i state that there is a line between gurkhas and policemen. if u tell me that gurkhas run after petty criminals in sg, i would say taht thats a big undermining action towards out local law enforcement team.

abt the argument whether Mas ought to be placed on trial.., read up on the ISA. it'll make the arguments in here more intelligent.

well, this Mas matter is as serious as the other bread-and-butter issues in singapore. He poses like a terrorist threat while bread and butter issues causes internal singaporean issues. both should not be undermined in their potential to drive singaporeans into hysteria.

though i do agree taht it's really weird that a limping man can escape tight security. o.O

Anonymous said...

The appointment of the new Finance Minister Tharman S was announced only recently. Suspicious isnt it? They knew the enormous budget surplus is going to be the subject of public outcry. It was PM LHL who made the case for the additional 2% GST. So Tharman is made to face the public with the budget report. PM LHL is safely out of the picture, his image intact. Then Limper Mas escapes. Big news this one, overshadowing the multi-billion dollar surplus. Everybody forgets about how wrong the govt was in their previous budget forecast. Everybody forgets about the monstrous surplus, which is convincing argument that the additional 2% was not necessary in the first place. And everybody must pull together because of this new fear factor among the population - the limping terrorist on the loose. (Or that's what the CNA reports have been trying to play up). Smell a rodent anyone? It's the Year Of The Rat.

Anonymous said...

After writing some 630+ words, the above anon (of March 1, 2008 10:07 PM) just want to say one thing - keep Mr Wong KS around.

Because of "our resource-scarce nation, a person of WKS's pedigree and experience is hard to replace", people should give some discounts in punishing him for this "security lapse".

After reading numerous comments on blogs (related to Mas Selamat), when the commenters call for the removal of Mr Wong KS from his post, there are consistent responses to halt this line of thought.

I think that shadows are at work to stop the online cry for Mr Wong's resignation from becoming a real world event.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but notice that since we have a new PM, Singapore has more than its usual problems. More and more problems seem to be surfacing nowadays.

Anonymous said...

i was in indonesia on holidays...a javanese holy man or bomoh...he told me there is some kind of magic...which can cause the people to be stunned for around 45 mins....there will be in some kind of like frozen state...they would not be able to recall what happend afterwards...he told me..one's need observe total abstince from sex..(mas selamat was not screwing any chicks inside the cell)...your mind must be firm..and he also said this will work only at certain time of a year..where certain stars closed to one another.....of course...i thought he was bull-shiting...but given under such circumstances,I wonder if it is possible....we need some answers on what happend in ISD??......

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that as the Mas was escaping, WKS was talking about welcoming more foreign talents on TV. For this alone, I support Mr. Wang on his call for WKS to resign. Cannot do his job yet still talking crap!!!
Even Jackson Tai of DBS fame has got to go even though the subprime mess is not his undertaking.

Anonymous said...

I think, Mr Wang, that we all understand the gravity of what has happened with Mas Selamat. However, there is no proof that WKS has directly had a hand in ensuring his escape. Yes, he is the head, but in a long chain of subordinates, things can go wrong at the bottom which may be out of the head's control. We all want somebody to blame somebody and obviously WKS is the most convenient choice. Nobody gets satisfaction from venting anger on the faceless idiots at the ISD who let this happen. Perhaps he had a hand in this, perhaps he had been negligent on his part, resulting in the precarious situation we are all in. But we do not have anything except speculation, so I do not see the point in villifying the man.
On the side, I think we all know that most of our ministers have very poor speech making abilities, so I think trying to analyse his emotions, or what he really meant in his preliminary apology/explanation is useless.

All this comes at a time where sentiments are high. The budget issues have angered many, the ministers' salaries are always at the back of our minds. They have made mistakes. Which government has not? There are many issues that we can raise about our government. I cannot deny it. But somehow, at the end of the day, they seem to have delivered more than failed, enough so for Singaporeans to return them to their hegemonic status. We have put them there and allowed them to become arrogant. We wax lyrical about liberty and freedom, yet nobody is willing to fight for it. We are too comfortable sitting in the product of the government we so vehemently accuse of being quietly corrupt and useless. Is there a point in blaming the government?

The problem with this entire argument is that people tend to allow their judgment to be clouded. For every issue right now, you hear the same ranting "minister salaries, gst increase, fucking government taking all our money". People have the right to be angry about these issues, but it cannot blur one's sense of rationality, which has very clearly happened here. We have developed a fetish for bashing the government. Sometimes they deserve it, sometimes they do not, and only a sensible mind, unclouded by emotion will be able to acknowledge this.

And George, I am a Singaporean, not a foreigner as you assume. I am neither anti nor pro PAP/Government. I am pro-Singapore. Pessimism and cynicism can do nothing for your country. If you truly feel that the system has failed, do something more than grumble. Otherwise, you deserve to be angry and miserable for the rest of your life.


Anonymous said...

Government should spent more money on improving security ganties instead of having so many ERP ganties.

Anonymous said...

Someone said it is so hard to find a talent like WKS. I laughed so much I almost fell off my chair. So people actually believed that there are no talents in Singapore and need to resort to hiring foreigners.
Don't have to look far. Mr. Wang is one such talent. I think he can do a better job than WKS, and I am sure he will not need 2 million a year to do a better job.

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely annoyed! Of cos with the unexplainable and inexcusable escape of the JI detainee. However, after reading the blog and the comments, I'm furious and sad with how irrational, immature and subjective Singaporeans can be!

Singapore's success doesn't happen by chance. Everybody know Singapore has no natural resources but does everyone really know the implications of it? Our success is in fact against theories! Find me a country which manage to achieve a status of Developed Nation within 40yrs without any natural resources! When the Malaysians kicked us out in 1965, they thought we will definitely be crawling back asking for help!

Mr Wang, I still strongly disagree with your views despite your justifications. Go and understand more about Singapore before you make a statement on the amount of money the ministers are making and LINKING it with this incident. The other countries' ministers are probably earning less but get them to disclose their perks! You will be appalled, I assure you!

All I simply ask for is, do not disregard previous efforts due to a single incident. Without those previous efforts, Singapore probably won't have a terminal 2 & 3, let alone having to worry about being bombed!

You will probably think I'm pro govt. I'm not. Its just that I love Singapore hence I appreciate and are thankful to the millionaire ministers for making it such a wonderful country.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Mr Wang that this issue is indeed very serious, and should not be taken lightly.

With that in mind I cannot condone Wong Kan Seng's excuse for notifying Singapore 4 hours after Mas Selamat had escaped from the Whitley Detention Center. WKS said that he was unarmed, and escape posed no imminent danger to the public.

WHAT THE HELL IS HE SAYING??? This terrorist can make bombs out of everyday chemicals and had plans to hijack a plane and crash into Changi Airport; and you're telling me he's not an imminent threat? This is a breach of national security, and I find no humor in all the Prison Break parodies online. This person is potentially dangerous and is a threat to you and your loved ones.

Sing Republic said...

There has been a call for constructive suggestions. How about a financial reward? Money works wonders for Singaporeans. Some expect Ministers to be paid well for doing what they do. Shouldn't informers be paid well too for sticking their neck out, even if it's to help their country?

family man said...

In the midst of this hulaballoo, I saw a full page advertisement on CPF Life annuities. Is this item passed into law already? Was there a debate on the 12 options in the parliament? Is my CPF gone for life? Do we citizens get a 13th choice to opt out of this money making scheme by the government? This is the issue the govt is trying to hide with the Mas escape thing? Think.

Anonymous said...

anon March 2008 1:13pm had stooped too low for making personal attacks on Mr Wang.

Another anon March 2008 1:14AM stated that Gurkhas are neutral. Neutral when taking orders only from their only employer? How neutral? The Commenter was 'just kidding' and injuring at the same time! Dangerous Man this one.

And anon March 2 2008 2:49AM.
Singapore became independence given on a platter with National Defence thrown in by the Giver; the British Colonial Master. The Tiny Island was solidly developed because of its' STRATEGIC GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION.

The Chinese from China and Indian from India were here to look for prosperities long before the Westerners arrived. Do You know why anon March 2 2008 2:49AM ?

Because Singapore then was the Richest compared to all other South East Asian Members.

Taking Independence from the British was liked inheriting a great fortune.

Singaporeans; please understand or read up the earlier Histories of Singapore, but not from the Singapore Textbooks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Wang,

I agree with you. Please do not be discouraged by PAP cybersquads.

Point 1 - the situation is serious and you don't need to wait 5 years for Mas Selamat to kill thousands of people. For the past few days, you can see the vast jams at the imigration checkpoints and the thousands of soldiers and police combing the streets at night. If anyone adds up the total costs of the miles of jammed lorries, buses and cars and the thousands of soldiers and police, I won't be surprised that the tally could be more than 50 times WKS's obscene salary.

Point 2 - there is nothing wrong with rallying bloggers to put up Mas Selamat's pictures on the websites. I salute you for that initiative. No matter whether Mas is guilty or innocent, he is undoubtedly a wanted FUGITIVE. Enough said. But it does speak volumes on how cybersquads are desperate to criticise your posts.

Point 3 - firing of WKS is standard fare in the rest of the world, but quite alien for Singapore, that's why so many Singaporeans and particularly PAP cybersquads would not understand. When a chief executive is held accountable, only then will he put in place proper systems for his subordinates to follow. No money, no talk - everybody understands this. The corollary is obviously - no sacking, no talk.

When the CEO of Citibank was sacked, the whole world saw it as the culmination of 33,000 Citibank employees world-wide already sacked. It would be unthinkable to imagine that the executives in-charge of the sub-prime loans were not sacked. Only head-in-the-sand Singaporeans would see it as a solitary CEO being sacked. And that is exactly how your critics failed to understand your article.

Point 4 - there is nothing cynical or unconstructive in your article. These are just words of readers who can't find any valid points to disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

Is this a Distraction or another Psychology warfare on its people?

Anonymous said...

I think I can understand why the Government did not inform the public about 4 hours later.

In the earlier case involving the NSF with rifle, they didn't inform the public until they have caught the NSF.

They didn't want the public to panic as well as alerting the NSF.

Likewise, the government might have thought that they could capture a crippled within 4 hours timespan, but they were overly confident and they then decided to inform the public.

It's embarrasing. A crippled. Thousands of Soildiers and Police Force.

Unknown said...

Danielle wrote: "I disagree simply that it is jumping the gun to call for WKS to resign, as though he authorised the man's release when it was a failure on his subordinates. I will leave it at that.

Sorry, but that's plain naive.

When you sit in a position of authority, you'll have to learn to answer for the follies of your charges as well.

That's a core principle of leadership, and it works in all facets of society--parents and their children, bosses and their employees, officers and their men, and above all, heads of state and their electorate.

But it's always been the norm in Singapore that when there's a major foul-up, those in-charged offer little more than an apology while the guy at the foot of the hierachy gets most of the blame.

Is a little accountability (and dignity) too much to ask from one of the world's most highly paid governments? ;-)

Anonymous said...

From George:

''And George, I am a Singaporean, not a foreigner as you assume. I am neither anti nor pro PAP/Government. I am pro-Singapore. Pessimism and cynicism can do nothing for your country. If you truly feel that the system has failed, do something more than grumble. Otherwise, you deserve to be angry and miserable for the rest of your life.''

Your above - sounds as detached as ever. You said 'your country' - mine, and not yours?

If you are unaware of what the govt does to the opposition, you are either in Michael Jackson's Neverland or a pappy aplogist/supporter in deep denial.

For your education, criticism is a valid and legitimate way to show your sentiments about the way we are governed. Surely, you are not trying to instigate that all of us run riot on the streets? That would be playing into your and your master's hands isn't it?

My challenge to you - show us your bright ideas about how you would do it or shut up!

By the way, many people normal are fed up with the antics and high-handedness of the govt, for good reasons. Your last sentence has betrayed the sort you are - those with plenty at stake and to lose when Singaporeans finally free themselves from the govt's yoke.

Anonymous said...

oh the cyber-squads understands exactly what they are paid to do... to pose as anons and citizens to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to reduce the political fallout of this failure and ensure their masters survival.

the situation is quite clear and succinctly explain by Mr Wang above.
If you are a minster drawings tens of millions in salary from the state, you have responsibility for things that happens, even if they are caused by inept subordinate, for you are the one that set up the system and the PICs. YOU are responsible for check and ensure. As the army always say... you think i though who confirm?? in this case, it will be the minister who have to carry the ultimate responsibility for this colossal failure in the system.

There is nothing unpatriotic about calling for the WKS to leave for his mistake. In fact, I think it will be more unpatriotic to NOT call for his resignation and abandon the country to his now proven failures. Such is the life of a minister and especially one that have extolling their own infallability... ...

Unknown said...

Mr Wang Says So wrote: "What has happened this week is potentially very, very serious - far more serious than a $7,100,000,000 budget mistake"

Not to mention very embarrassing too when we've been boasting about our anti-terrorist efforts, often at the expense of our neighbours.

Anonymous said...

Resign? It only goes to show how many of you still look to the Western world for solutions as if they had all the answers. Whatever they do, we must also do in order that we're also seen as advanced, developed, progressive, whatnot. I'm beginning to believe that we really don't have a brain of our own.

CEOs resign? True, but you don't mention the huge, to put it mildly, severance package - or whatever it' called - they get to pocket on saying goodbye to the mess of shit they leave behind.

And do you get CEOs being asked to resign for say their secretary's or the cleaning lady's embezzlement of company funds? After all, they're ultimately responsible for everything that goes wrong with the company, right?


Anonymous said...

If we look at the big picture, the consequences of letting a terrorist escape could be disastrous because the results could be in losses in thousands of innocent lifes or billions of dollars in destruction and re-construction costs.

Yes, the chance of this happening could be one in a million but the question is can we afford to suffer such a disaster.

And yet our Minister had the guts to say that the escaped terrorist does not pose an imminent danger to the public.

On what basis did WKS make the statement, may I ask ? Does WKS mean that the escape was sanctioned by the Home Ministry ?

Until and unless he clarifies the matter convincingly, otherwise I would assume that WKS is actually a very irresponsible Minister.

And may I ask those critics here whether an irresponsible person is fit to continue in his duties as a Cabinet Minister ?

Anonymous said...

It is extremely appalling to note that despite all these claims of a world class nation, tight security, vigilance, non-complacency, with our ministers paid exorbitant sums of money, to realize that there has been security breaches again and again. First the AWOL of an officer, then the incident of Dave Teo Ming, and now the escape of a top wanted criminal. What is the use of an apology when there is no explanation as to how and why this could happen. There are many burning questions in each citizen's mind, questioning the supposed efficient government, the police force, and the miliarty. What exactly happened? Why has no one else stepped in to explain why? What had allowed him to escape? Why is it that a search outside of the detention centre was only embarked on hours later and isolated searches in parts of the islands days later? Shouldn't there be an island-wide search with more policemen and solders deloyed by now? Shouldn't there be a stepping up of security at all checkpoints and facilities by now? It is claimed that he is acting alone and there is no one to help him. How do you know that, he, being the top figure in JI in Singapore will not find ready people to help and harbour him until the coast is clear? Or perhaps with help, he is already out of the country while our men are still mounting small searches around already small Singapore? What makes you think that this was not a long-planned escape? I think it is high time the Singapore government realize that the citizens are no longer satisfied with an apology, with no explanation nor accountability whatsoever as to what happened. Safe and secure Singapore is now a laughing stock. Someone has to take responsibility. We cannot move on until the knots have been untied.

Anonymous said...

To Danielle:

Clearly you're so besotted with the incumbents. Delivered more than they could? I nearly choked on my coffee whilst reading this hahaha.

WKS is the head honcho; he plans and directs whatsoever its in the MHA's directives.

To allow a JI bugger to escape and cite a ludicrous reason - security lapse; escaped via the toilet is obviously a strawman excuse and it is seriously laughable. One would wonder was he taking on a role as the court jester?

If the subordinates below you screw up, it means his immediate supervisor wasnt doing his job. The same goes for the guy supervising that immediate supervisor who also wasnt doing his job, and yada yada, and it leads all the way up to the man himself - WKS.

Speaking of rationalism, you're not being rational here. When shit happens, the head has to accept the blame regardless. The abovementioned logic would illustrate this.

Im just building on Robert's comment in layman terms which I thought was brilliantly put across.

Of course, with posts such as mine and the rest of the like-minded ones will spurn a new rhetoric from the other side of the camp:

"Lets stop shifting the blame. It's an honest mistake; an oversight. Lets work in tandem and bring Mas Selamat to justice."

geriatric_eunuch said...

In the last 50 years, has a single disgruntled guest ever escaped from the delightfully warm hospitality of this Garmen's 6-star interrogation, er, hotels? Not so we've been told. "It's not a tea-party" according to an earlier throwaway WKS remark in Parliament in answer to a question on detainees. NOBODY leaves Hotel California without their say-so.

But now you would have us believe that a middle-aged man with a dodgy leg calmly strolls out as if checking out of the Shangri-La, and all the King's horses and all the Prince's men cannot bring Humpty Kastari back into your lovin' arms again.

And you are dreadfully shocked when there is a deafening chorus from thoughtful people (aka 'idiots') of wtf, wtf....WTF???

And you pretend to be mystified why cynical, sarcastic, mocking (aka 'un-patriotic') posts should suddenly explode with chortles of "Pull my other leg, Garmen, it's got bells on"!

And you are aghast that anyone (aka 'fools') should even think to question your agenda and your spin.

Leaders pretending to be virgins, touched for the very first time. Pathetic.

It's not yet April 1st but it is the year of the Rat and the blogosphere here smells one. Rotting. Smelly. * chow ka bey si, sayeth Ah Beng. *

Anonymous said...

This is not the 1st time that this had happened in recent 2-3 years.

Does anybody still remember Ah Took, One eye dragon and Richard Yong?

Does anyone still remember how James Gomez was asked to bear responsibilty for his mistake?

Com'on there got to be a limit to all these mistakes. Shouldn't WKS come out to bear his political responsibilty?

Anonymous said...

Why I'm so unforgiving of mistakes committed by our government...


1) They are unforgiving of our mistakes. Think of heavy fines, imprisonment, etc for all sorts of minor offences. When they make mistakes, you hear them say: "honest mistake", "oversight", "lapse"...

2) They're selfish. Argue for their own million-dollar salaries and tell you not to be calculative and be happy and contented (lest the tourists will be wondering how come Singaporeans are an unhappy lot). Let you dream the million-dollar dream with Toto, Big Sweep, 4-D etc. Open branches in every conceivable place. Sucks in more money from the poor because they are the ones betting heavily.

3) They even want to manage what's yours. Think CPF LIFE scheme!

Anonymous said...


2) They're selfish. Argue for their own million-dollar salaries and tell you not to be calculative and be happy and contented (lest the tourists will be wondering how come Singaporeans are an unhappy lot and this is no good for the GOOD reputation of Singapore). ENCOURAGE you with posters to dream the million-dollar dream with Toto, Big Sweep, 4-D etc. Open branches in every conceivable place. Suck in more money from the poor because they are the ones betting heavily to buy a HOPE.

Anonymous said...

One Woman MP, whilst distributing Mas Selamat Flyers told the Television(TCS)viewers that anyone who sees Mas Selamat should report to the Authority. She, MP Cynthia Phua, declared that Mas Selamat is a DANGEROUS MAN.

At the beginning, Minister Wong Kan Seng said the four hours delay in informing the Public, of Selamats' escape was because Selamat poses no imminent dangers to members of the public.

Later on, another Government Officials said that members of the Public were not alarmed and went about their lives as per normal.

Everyone knows how glib our Leaders have been all these years and how left, right, center, above and below, they always have reasons to defend themselves in any mistake. But when they gave too much excuses for too many wrongs, they themselves exposed much of their(leaders) contradictions.

Mas Selamat was(is) a citizen who had(has) conflicting political interests against the Rulers of this country. He is not one citizen against other citizens, except maybe those he and his fellow members deem offensive.

Most Singaporeans are indeed not alarmed as most are awared that Mas Selamat had not done anything destructive and fatal to any other citizen thus far. Although he was said to have sinister plans such as crashing plane into Changi Airport and other destructions, he has yet to harm a single soul.

The average citizen does not get to know what Selamat intended(intend) to do. But with his arrest reported in the Mass Medias, we did get to know that there was(is) an individual Singaporean, unhappy with the Leadership of his(Selamat) country. It was between him and the State. Can we say that there are(were) indeed many such individuals in our history after Independence. In fact there are plenty and numbers growing as the day goes by.

The only difference, we can see, is that many are charged and convicted and or sued till bankrupt for opposing peacefully. As for Selamat, all we are told(not by Selamat himself) was that he(Selamat) intend to use destructive methods instead of peaceful means.

I agree with the Minister who said that the Citizens are not ruffled as I do find that people mostly go about living as normal. And I don't see why not? Peace n Prosperity.

Anonymous said...

I think this Mas fugitive was smuggled out this way:

Stowaway survives SIA flight from KL hidden in wheel well


This Palestinian man could be a terrorist used as a guinea pig...

Ah that's dangerious!

Anonymous said...

er well actually I gave him a 4 hour headstart and thought we could catch him again.

had to divert attention from the embarassingly large budget surplus, y'know.

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

This thread is now closed. However you can continue discussing the Mas Selamat matter here:

The Independence of the Inquiry Commission.

(this is my new post on the matter).