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TOC Editorial: Government’s lack of accountability bad for the PAP, worse for Singapore

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 23, 2008

Editorial

To whom much has been given, much is expected.

TOC has deliberately held back from calling for Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng’s resignation as the full Commission of Inquiry (COI) was pending. We agree with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that Ministers should not be automatically accountable for mistakes made down the line.

However, viewing the totality of events surrounding the Mas Selamat debacle, we believe it is unfortunate that not once in this whole saga did Wong offer his resignation, or Lee seriously consider the possibility of it.

Even more unfortunate is the manner in which the possibility of a resignation, if any, was discussed: behind closed doors, away from the glare of the public, with absolutely no attention paid to assuage concerns on the ground.

Given the advanced state of the public relations disaster the government has dug itself into, TOC believes the government’s missteps in this saga will haunt it until the next election, and rightly so.

However, the fallout from this episode has implications far beyond the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) electoral concerns. The fallout will be felt by each and every Singaporean who will have to live with a government it no longer trusts.

Citizen’s sacrifices must be met with accountability

Lee was supposed to have spoken in Parliament on governmental responsibility for Mas Selamat’s escape. This was an ironic misnomer of what his speech was in reality: the government’s disclaimer of responsibility for the Mas Selamat debacle, and the preemptive insulation of the highest levels of authority from disciplinary action.

After more than 50 days of waiting for a full accounting of the Mas Selamat debacle, many expecting an accounting to the nation were sorely disappointed. The message from Lee and Wong’s speeches to Parliament was clear: we sort our problems out behind closed doors, and when everything has been discussed internally, let the public know what our results are. The public’s involvement in the accountability process is to be limited to being a spectator.

The government has called on the country as a whole to participate in the effort to find Mas Selamat. Neighbourhood watches have been formed to find him, National Servicemen of all units and ages have been activated in the search. Our whole country, as our top leadership has pointed out, is invested in this incident. TOC gives this effort our fullest backing.

However, the corresponding level of accountability to us, the public, has been shambolic.

The government’s responsibility to account extends also to the debacle following the breakout: the slipshod way in which information was held back from the public and released in dribs and drabs, and the high handed and patronizing way it has responded to requests for more information.

To now frame the question as whether or not Wong should resign for Mas Selamat’s escape out the toilet window is a deliberately unhelpful narrowing of the issue. To frame the issue this simplistically borders on the insulting. To see the current error as merely that of a terrorist running out of a toilet would be myopic to the point of willful ignorance.

A broader measure of incompetence

The country only found out four days after he escaped that he had a limp, six days later we found out what he was wearing on the day he escaped, seven days later the country was told that he had a mole. A few days after the news of him having a limp was released, the government qualified this by saying that the limp was only visible when he was walking quickly or running.

To top off the patchy flow of information, many TOC spoke to felt condescended down to by the accusations of our complacency by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, and disappointed at the lack of leadership Lee Hsien Loong displayed, breaking his silence on the matter only after his father spoke, 11 days after the escape.

Wong singled out blogs ‘expressing anger and in some cases, abuse’. TOC does not think the anger and disappointment we feel at the government’s high handed and tardy communication is limited to the blogosphere. If he thinks the fallout of this debacle is limited to the internet, he is more firmly cosseted in his ivory tower than we thought possible.

Over the past months, journalists TOC have spoken to in private have expressed their frustration at the government releasing information in a trickle. Even PAP Members of Parliament (MPs) were galvanized to ask the government sharp and uncomfortable questions. MP Inderjit Singh came close to hinting that a resignation from the highest levels of Cabinet could be warranted, highlighting the level of accountability expected from a corporate CEO.

Magnify this sentiment several times, and that comes close to explaining the frustration people on the ground feel.

Lee Hsien Loong cited incompetence as one of the criteria for asking a Minister to resign. If the flow of information in the days after Mas Selamat’s escape was not incompetent, then our government has a very high threshold for incompetence.

Conflicts of interest, preemptive exoneration, and a gross lack of accountability

One of the hallowed maxims of justice is thatjustice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’. An extension of this maxim is the principle that ‘no one should be a judge in his own cause’.

As a government that prides itself on the rule of law, the amount of conflicts of interests in this episode is staggering.

Clarissa Oon, a writer with the usually uncritical Straits Times was moved to note that there is going to be ‘lingering doubt’ over the ‘independence of the three-member COI’. She even went so far as to say that it ‘must seem odd and potentially dangerous to some observers…that the Home Affairs Minister personally appointed a committee to investigate a breach in his own ministry’.

TOC has previously pointed out glaring conflict of interest of having Wong Kan Seng’s subordinate, the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Dr Choong May Ling on the Committee of inquiry. She is a senior Administrative Officer with the Ministry of Home Affairs and oversees security policy. Wong has essentially appointed the judge overseeing his cause, and what more, one that is subordinate to him.

Of greater concern to TOC is the prejudging of government’s much touted disciplinary processes, which they claim will commence shortly. This was their response to the question by opposition member Chiam See Tong, who asked if heads will roll. This disciplinary process has been circumvented by Wong Kan Seng’s exoneration of Director Internal Security Department (ISD), and by PM’s exoneration of Wong Kan Seng.

The reasons given for their discharge from liability are shocking. Wong Kan Seng said of the Director:

“Director ISD met me and told me that he accepted responsibility for what has happened and apologized. Having known him for many years, I told him that I have full confidence in him and he must carry on.”

There was no public accounting for the responsibility Director ISD bore in the Mas Selamat debacle. Instead, he has been exonerated through private conversation.

In light of this, how is the public supposed to retain confidence in the upcoming disciplinary proceedings? The top brass have already been let off before proceedings have begun.

Wong Kan Seng’s exoneration of Director ISD after a private talk with him makes a mockery of accountability. Compound this with PM’s exoneration of Wong Kan Seng after discussing the matter with him in private and that mockery becomes a travesty of justice.

How must it look to members of the public when you ask the accused whether he is indeed guilty, and then you adopt his word as your judgment?

The national disgrace of Mas Selamat’s escape has been compounded by the PAP’s tendency towards the original sin of politics: conducting business behind closed doors, away from the critical glare of the public they are meant to represent.

The country’s loss

“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” President George W Bush infamously said to Michael Brown, Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after that agency’s incompetent response to hurricane Katrina. George Bush is now suffering one of the lowest approval ratings of any President in US history.

While not nearly as willfully blind as George Bush, Lee Hsien Loong’s government seems to be giving him a run for their money.

Mas Selamat’s escape did not ‘automatically’ qualify Wong for resignation. However, the subsequent incompetent, opaque, and arrogant way the government dealt with the public has made the name Mas Selamat a symbol for much more than the ludicrous initial oversight. The anger the public feels on hearing that name is now directed in part at the government’s attitude to this crisis.

Previous controversies like Temasek’s investments in Shincorp and the Suzhou Industrial Park collapse made spicy talking points in coffee shops. Criticism of the government’s accounting to Singaporeans (or lack thereof) in those cases was limited to a pool of people who were largely already negatively inclined towards the government in the first place.

However, the whole country is currently invested in the search for Mas Selamat. The government’s lack of transparency is thus going to be felt as an affront by every single Singaporean.

We believe that a fundamental overhaul of how the government accounts to its citizens is necessary. It is going to be a tall order to put these processes in place. This is a road the government cannot embark upon unless its sincerity is taken seriously by Singaporeans.

To be fair to the government, it needs to get on with the job of governing, and that is going to be hard to do with public anger at this episode at boiling point. Members of the public now indelibly associate Wong with this sorry episode in the nation’s history.

Lee has no one to blame except himself. Wong misjudged the extent of public anger by not offering his resignation early on in this episode, and Lee compounded his mistake by standing doggedly by his side. The government is now stuck with an electoral millstone around its neck with a name carved into it: Wong Kan Seng. It is going to have a hard time implementing any concrete accountability measures without them being viewed with cynicism.

At the end of the day, Wong and Lee’s recalcitrance is bad for the PAP, but worse for the country.

———————-

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132 Responses to “TOC Editorial: Government’s lack of accountability bad for the PAP, worse for Singapore”

  1. patriot said

    Faith and trust have been evaporating for sometime and now they are almost totally vaporised. It is sad and disappointing to register this sad record in our short history.

  2. Kim Buay Soong said

    THe govt’s strategy seems to be passing the buck. Then why should the Ministers be paid high bucks if all they do is passing the buck?

    Of course, Wong cannot resign: he has screw up and better do something to redeem himself instead of saying sorry. Since the escape, his performance has been tested and found wanting. he must catch Mas to redeem himself. Meanwhile, the PM should make it clear that Wong and the ISD director will have both their performance bonuses and all bonuses deducted or retained until Mas is caught.

    The government has to prove that they are worth every penny they are paid or else, the nest time, just vote Wong and his party out.

  3. Clap Clap Clap..well written!

  4. Dr Syed Alwi said

    What about the President and Temasek and GIC ? Will there be an audit of Singapore’s reserves before Nathan passes on the presidency to the next guy ?

    Indeed – will there ever be an audit of our reserves at all ? How will the Government account for the reserves to the public – if ever ?

  5. Jackson said

    I wonder why international community never notice Singapore’s disastrous political system…

  6. Eidetical said

    As usual, it is all too convenient that our ministers peg their salaries to the corporate sector but fail to adopt corporate policies and practices of accountability. I suppose they just don’t want to have a “big” example of a iron (golden?) rice bowl broken, maybe? Just in case it further attracts local talent to the private instead of public sector, maybe?

    When you think about it, this whole issue kind of tells you to avoid being small fry in the government sector – if anything like this happens, only the higher-ups are shielded from accountability. The small fry are always just hung out to dry, yes, but never is it as blatantly and painfully obvious than now.

    Well-written piece, TOC. Kudos for that.

  7. Dingo said

    Wong seems to be always wearing his jacket.. does it get very cold in there?

  8. Husky said

    With great powers (and good pay)come great responsibilities…

    Take the money but axe the people down the line when a mistakes happens??? Hmmm… Sounds like corporate world leh. No wonder they deserved to have their pay benchmarked according to private sectors…

  9. Andrew Loh said

    As we said in our editorial, the question of culpability is not limited to the toilet break per se. The ensuing series of events after that showed the Minister of Home Affairs’ failure – even today, more than 50 days after the escape, he has been unable to find him nor give more information to the public., besides repeating that “investigation shows he is still in Singapore”.

    To only think of responsibility in the narrow scope of the escape itself is erroneous.

    The biggest flaw, in my opinion, is the Minister of Home Affairs privately telling the Director of ISD that he can keep his job – simply because “I have known him for many years”.

    This at a time when investigations were going on – both from the COI and the CID.

    If this does not compromise investigations, then I do not know what is.

    Also, notice that the MHA has a hand in all the investigation – COI (2 members who have worked or is still working for the MHA) and the CID (a dept in the MHA itself and whose report is not made public.)

    So again, responsibility is not limited to the how of how Mas Selamat escaped but also to the ensuing series of conflicts of interest which the Minister of Home Affairs was involved in.

    Regards,
    Andrew Loh

  10. Alan Wong said

    With Mas Selamat out in the open now, can we ever hold LHL or WKS responsible supposing the terrorists managed to carry out a terrorist attack in future, whether in Singapore or the rest of the world.

    And I just wonder whether our Clown Prince will next say “Well, sorry it has happened, what else do you expect us to do as we are not the ones carrying out the terrorist attack”.

  11. Andrew Loh said

    One more important point:

    Isn’t it strange that a supposedly “independent” COI is first, appointed by the minister whose ministry the COI is suppose to investigate, and two, that when the investigation is completed, the COI hands its report to the very same minister who then decided what and which part of the report is made public?

    Even more:

    Why did not the COI hold a press conference to disclose its finding and present itself for questions from the media?

    This is what has happened:

    1. Wong Kan seng (WKS) appoints COI.

    2. COI has 2 members who used to serve or is still serving under WKS.

    3. Before COI completes report, WKS tells CID Director he can keep his job because “I have known him for many years”. Knowing someone for many years, as WKS claimed, is no defence for circumventing an “independent” investigation.

    4. COI presents findings to WKS.

    5. WKS decides which part of the COI report to make public.

    6. PM defends WKS.

    Now, does this look like an independent inquiry?

    Does this not look like wholesale conflict of interest?

    Does this not bring into question the responsibility of WKS?

    So, the issue of responsibility is not limited to the escape per se – as LHL seem to want to simplistically and conveniently limit it.

  12. Percevale said

    Hey guys,

    Why claim accountability when you can get away scot-free? Electoral millstone? Are you kidding? Where was TOC when LKY infamously told the Herald Tribune that any election of the opposition is a freak result and he’d call in the military.

    Lose the election, you call in the military ergo you can’t get voted out off office- Why would you want to step down or offer to resign when NO ONE can touch you?

    We vote PAP out of office, it’s voting to live under a military dictatorship cos I’m pretty sure there aren’t nearly enough of us to unite and face the PAP down. I’ll bet my life savings- Life goes on as normal and once the military removes the opposition from power, we’d be living by our own PM’s words- What to do? It’s happened. Move on.

  13. Thomas Koshy said

    If the DPM is to remain in politics into the next election then hopefully he will be put before the electorate as an individual instead of bundling into a GRC … then again maybe he would pull down a GRC?

  14. Zheng Xi said

    Hey Thomas,

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a reverse lightning rod effect on the PAP? They like to target specific opposition members to clobber (e.g. Juffrie Mahmod, Tang Liang Hong, James Gomez). Come 2011 will the hunter have turned prey? Muahaha.

  15. Dingo said

    I think local bands are more independent than that..

  16. Ephraim said

    I think he may step down by the next General Election with the Prime Minister citing leadership renewal for the party as the reason.

  17. Thomas Koshy said

    Must say Low TK was disappointing though … he should have read your piece first!

  18. blahblah said

    Just wondering, is there an alternative form of punishment to resignation? I echo the TOC’s views in that something certainly ought to be done, but I’m not sure if resignation is the only and most appropriate form of disciplinary action…

  19. familyman said

    I pity the 2 gurkha guards who gave up the warmth of the family to work here. I would want the COI to check what were the protocols in the situation – they were told NOT to talk to the detainee to prevent them socialising. In this case, were the guards following the rules of the SOP drawn by ISD operatives- in case of doubt, refer to the ISD girl immediately and do not talk to the detainee. Therefore if they were following procedures not to talk to detainee, they should not be blamed. COI should then point the blame upwards. At the end of the day, if you know the PM and WKS personally, your job is safe. That is the culture of elitism, nothing about witch hunt or what have you.

  20. familyman said

    I guess what Inderjit says is true – there is an iron rice bowl. What are the KPIs of LKY and GCT? They are drawing million dollar salary without any specific portfolio. Why this excess fat? Same thing for ISD director – WKS knows him so he is absolved. PM Lee knows DPM, so WKS is absolved. No I personally do not BLAME WKS for the prison break, but his management of the dissemination of news thereafter shows a complete lack of management skills.
    So who to blame? – let us get the foreign talent – the Gurkhas to face the music. I pity the gurkhas. Really. Really.

  21. Secure Chain said

    To me, this whole episode epitomizes the many warnings that ex-Perm Sec Ngiam Tong Dow had made previously, about the system being in auto-mode and mandarins behaving like little emperors, beginning to believe in their own propaganda. ( http://www.littlespeck.com/content/politics/CTrendsPolitics-031003.htm )

    As reported, the reason why descriptions of the man (what he was wearing, having a mole, having a limp but only when he runs, etc) took so long to be gathered and presented, was that the people involved were confused themselves of the details and were having a tussle between too much disclosure for security reasons versus a clear picture to seek the nation’s help. At least, that is how I interpreted the reports.

    Is this an indication of a systemic problem? Is this secrecy issue prevalent in the whole civil service, not just the security agencies?

    Another incident that reminds me of this problem was when Minister Ng Eng Hen just took office, in 2003. It was about this report that some NTU professor made public, about more jobs going to foreigners instead of Singaporeans. And this report apparently had backing from none other than Prof Lim Chong Yah. ( http://www.sgcollect.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=9265 ) And the new Minister then went on to publicly reprimand the authors of that report, saying that it was inaccurate and that they should correct it. If I am not mistaken, the issue then was that a lot of data and information to collate such a report was so difficult to get from the relevant agencies. If that is true, then this is where the similarity lies with this incident. Too much secrecy? Lack of transparency? Systems in place for so long that in auto-mode, nobody dares to challenge if it should be divulged? And the poor professionals, who must have felt strongly enough about this report, had to resort to whatever data they could get their hands on, and got fried as a result.

    When the very top of an organization espouses the need to pay the brightest the highest possible, that fair pay is not enough, it is only natural that down the line, the culture and values within that organization will be similar. The same with a nation.

    So, is it really surprising that bright people like doctors now tend to supplement their income by doing higher paying jobs like aesthetics, rather than just plain treat sick people? Or that bright students today prefer to do Business / IT / Banking courses instead of Engineering?

    When you give a half-hearted apology for a wrong-doing and then proceed to delegate the responsibility and accountability to the task doer, can you imagine the value signals we are sending? Worst still, when the very top guy does not utter a word till very much later, and you would have thought he should have known better, having come from the military where leading by example is supposed to be the norm!

    Have we become so unforgiving? When did that happen? I think it was when everytime a crisis arises, the solution is always the bitter pill we have to take, not the medicine that causes the least side effects. Like when we were told we had to take a CPF cut even though we had mortgages to pay, when we were called choosy when we did not take that $800 paying job in the west, when we lived in the east and the monthly cost would be >$800, when we are told that once you cross 85 years old, your medical insurance will cost a lot more and you still have to pay more upfront before you can make a claim, etc, etc. And when you then spin the propaganda that highlights only the good and not the full picture, how do you expect the same very people to be more forgiving?

    And when they continue to believe in their own propaganda, we certainly do not need cronyism / corruption / incompetence / etc to result in what happened in a neighbouring country recently.

    They have done alot of good. I don’t think anyone denies that. But it is indeed rather sad, how we have become what we have become.

  22. Andrew Loh said

    Speaking of pay….

    The govt will increase ministers’ salaries one more time this year.

    It’ll be the third time in 2 years or so.

    Yes, they will reward themselves again – in spite of all the boos boos and the recent cabinet reshuffle where new ministers would have been in charge of certain portfolios for less than a year.

    Nonetheless, their salaries will be increased.

    Now, when was the last time any average Singaporean had 3 pay increases in 2 years?

    I am – sadly – quite amused at the way this govt keeps slapping itself, despite calling itself “unique”, “extraordinary”, “exceptional”.

  23. cesla said

    Well-written article. I agree, this will stick all the way to the next GE. Another political tsunami in the making?

  24. CelluloidReality said

    Andrew,

    If they still have any intelligence or common sense, they will cancel the pay increase.

    There’s a tipping point as to public confidence. This is a man who has threatened to destroy our nation’s icons, our sense of security and the lives of our citizens, and he has escaped.

    Not only that, his escape and its “management” has been one sad, lackadaisical effort, full of excuses after excuses and a detached attitude from the public opinion with regards to accountability.

    A bit of compromise and giving in goes a long way, and the opposite will be costly.

  25. Andrew Loh said

    Hi CR,

    I seriously do not think they will care, really. The next elections is still some 2 to 3 years away.

    The thing is, they keep saying they need to pay high salaries in order to attract “good people”, “talented people”.

    But the way they have been opaque, condescending (particularly MM Lee), and showing an utter lack of sensitivity (Vivian Balakrishnan and his denial of an increase of a few more dollars for those on public assistance, for example), really credible and talented people would decline to join them.

    And with their complete failure to accept responsibility when things go wrong, thus subjecting themselves to the ire of the public, which talented and credible person would want to don the whites of the PAP and subject themselves to public ridicule?

    To me, the high salaries has instituted a sense of invincibility to those wearing the white of the PAP. Indeed, SM Goh himself once said that “without a guarantee that they would win an elections”, talented people would not join them.

    To my mind, the entire political culture, structure and pertaining laws need to be overhauled.

    But realistically as well, the only way this can be done is for Singaporeans to demand it.

    We should not fall into the trap of thinking that the PAP will do this themselves. There has been no changes to the political landscape by the PAP govt for as long as I can remember.

    And I have no doubt that there won’t be any in the foreseeable future as well.

    Unless and until Singaporeans give the alternative parties a chance, the hubris which has clearly set in in the PAP will become even more severe.

  26. Andrew Loh said

    Secure Chain,

    My thoughts exactly. 🙂

  27. jihadist said

    at a time like this, one can really see how “united” these people are – WKS pat ISD shoulder, the Son pat WKS shoulder, the Father pat WKS & his Son shoulder! one BIG family!

  28. Dr Syed Alwi said

    Guys ! What about our reserves if this is the way they deal with accountability ? Andrew Loh any comments from you ?

  29. Weijia said

    Percevale,

    have some faith in our countrymen in the army. I believe they won’t respond to such an order. even if the army does respond, believe me.. the response of the citizen will be stronger. much stronger.

  30. patriot said

    Dr Syed Alwi;

    Did’nt You said that there will only be problems after Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong left the political scene?

    You seem to be prompting and prodding Andrew Loh and others, You have any personal views on the Subjects You wanted the rest to touch or dwell on?

    Yours sincerely: patriot.

  31. maxim said

    Congratulations on a great piece of journalistic work. This is what Singapore media is sorely lacking – putting issues across boldly and honestly. A breath of fresh air.

  32. Brudders!

    I generally finds no faults with COI faults-finding. Dat COI can come up with such details of cockup means they wan to be serious abt showing that they no panchance hoot those responsible. COI can actually censor the cockups, but look like they not only punch with no gloves, but punch belows the belt some more.

    Maybe COI was set up to whitewash but halfway Ah Wong change his mind. I think once gahment hears dat we KPKB dat COI is kelong, Ah Wong’s COI takut and decide make a big show of whacking isd and their super cockness. Something like tcher whose son is her student in class. Tcher scared comprains of favourtism, so she extra strict with her son in class to show her class / his classmates dat she is fair (but tcher is actually extra strict).

  33. RS said

    Humans do err. I agree.

    The minister-in-charge should not necessary resign for every cock-up in his ministry. I agree.

    Why in this case do I as well as others feel less forgiving than normal?

    Simple. When we pay million bucks, we expect no less than a million bucks worth of talent. Period.

    In addition, they have been trumpeting that “fact/fiction” themselves all this while. Can we be blamed for having such high expectations? Definitely not unless they cut their pay and all those media advertising”.

    Customer service Lesson #101: Do not over-promise and under-deliver.

  34. Eidetical said

    Thanks for the reminder about the pay increase. I’m quite sure they will be doing it as quietly as possible for fear of public outrage in view of their miserly attitudes to social welfare during this period of inflation.

    Or who knows, maybe they’ll take the opportunity to further increase it, because well, there’s inflation! Ministers need to buy food too! 😉

    Personally I think it’s a good thing that the election is still a few years away… More time for the government to shoot itself in the foot and expose its foibles while we and the opposition (hopefully a more credible one then) load up on ‘ammunition’. A lot can happen in a few years, so who knows what changes might happen by then?

    Also, new elections as usual mean a new generation of voters coming into the picture – meaning those around my age, the Internet-using, blogging and hopefully more discerning generation, so who knows? Myself, I can’t wait to vote 🙂 Although, as mentioned earlier, the big G might just bust out the military (ironically proving its critics right in the process).

    We’ll see.

  35. Jihadist said

    for those who still holding high hope on voting out these million dollars ministers, must be living in Wonderland! every time come election, the mysterious 66% support the men in white, and more than half are walk over.

  36. Expected Analysis said

    LHL ended the session with a question to Low Thia Kiang on whether WKS should resign over this matter. Here’s my question to LHL as a concerned taxpayer.

    “PM, whether the DPM should resign or be penalised in other appropriate manners befitting this failure is your call. If you think the DPM is not to be held accountable for this fiasco, you are entitled to your opinion. As for majority of Singaporeans, the dressed up report calls for top level accountability and transparency.

    Now that you have chosen to defend the DPM who in turn, defend the director of ISD in less than appropriate nor transparent process, we are hard pressed to ask you whether you think that you should resign for not taking the right stance in this matter of national security.”

    Quote:
    “if there are questions over the integrity of the people involved, they would be removed, no matter how minor the incident is.” LHL in parliament on 22/4/08

  37. History in the making said

    The statements made by our PM have shown
    it’s true colour on what accountability is all about.

    If we lose our reserves, I am sure they will blame it on the accountant or FCO and say that they have failed in their duties to protect our reserves.

    But what is there to protect when we do not know the amount of our reserves and who’s duty is it to look after it ?

    The people or ???

    Based on the MSK scenario, we all can see the standard reply we will get from our 1 world leaders.

    This is utterly disgusting.

    Well I am glad this has happened and we all can see clearly the level of responsibility they hold.

    Cheers and vote wisely.

  38. Long-term Investments? said

    If I saw someone committing a crime and I failed to report it, I automatically become an accessory to the crime. If someone let a known terrorist escaped and that same terrrorist came back and killed or caused to take away some innocent lives, won’t that someone (or agency, establishment, etc) become an accessory to his crime?

    I can’t help but wonder whether the “forgiveful” PM, in trying to protect his “beloved” DPM, realised the seriousness of this unforgivable blunder? Will he only wake up to the horror when Mas Selamat comes back and take away some innocent lives, and then say to us again: “What to do? It should not have happened but it happened?”???

    I think the whole series of fiascoes (from the very second Mas Selamat escaped to the management of the search, the appointment of the COI, the reluctant release of the COI summary report, the Parliamentary “debate” if any, the refusal to accept responsibility, and the displayed protectionist attitude) is an extremely serious and grave matter which cannot be simply brushed aside with a few choice words of expediency, clever arguments and sharpness of mind. Why is it so? Because it will have very serious long term consequences and repercussions beyond anyone’s imagination.

    Perhaps, I am wrong. I hope I am wrong.

  39. Dr Syed Alwi said

    Dear Patriot,

    Yes – there will definitely be problems after LKY & LHL leaves the scene. Indeed – will there be an audit of our reserves once they are gone ? And if such an audit were to reveal massive losses due to bad investments and imprudent spending – then who will answer to that ? Who will be accountable for the reserves ?

    Thats my honest opinion.

    Trouble is headed our way. Once LKY is gone – there will be a vacuum in the Singapore political scene. Who knows what the future holds for us ?

  40. […] TOC Editorial: Government’s lack of accountability bad for the PAP, worse for Singapore, theonlinecitizen.com Posted by blinkingbrink Filed in Cartoons Tags: accountability, Jemaah Islamiah, JI, Mas Selamat, Ministerial Pay, PAP, pay, Singapore […]

  41. Yi-Long said

    Hi all.

    I do agree to PM to a certain extent that we should not expect ministers to resign whenever there is a mistake made. It’d probably de-stabilise the government and cabinet. This, I may agree.

    What I certainly do not agree is that the minister should not shoulder any responsibility. He is accountable for the wrong doing of his ministry. Who else should be? The opposition? For not contesting in his ward, that he had a walkover? Rubbish. I suggest a very rational and appropriate punishment for our DPM, in that his bonus is forfeited. But, it’s not possible, when he’s said to be not even at fault. Not even 0.01%

    I certainly hope the blatant blaming of Gurkhas guards will not see Singapore suffering a backlash. I mean, I do feel the guards on duty are to shoulder some blame for their lack of alertness in the critical 11 minutes. But it seems like they’re the ones being blamed right now. Who can take this kind of humiliation? However loyal a person may be. If he suffers the ultimate betrayal, it’ll be a test of how much longer he can stay loyal.

  42. patriot said

    Dr Syed Alwi;

    I am sure You are fully awared that there are plenty of problems now and many of them are results of the Citizenry being very unhappy with the topmost leaders.

    I find your claims very funny and I sincerely do.

    Yours very humble: patriot.

  43. Yang said

    It was not too long ago that PM Lee stood in front of the Parliament IN TEARS to defend the call for higher salaries for Ministers and civil servants. He said then it was crucial to attract talent and went all the way to justify why their salaries should be pegged to the highest income earners of top executives in the corporate sector. The question I ask then is if you are calling for your compensation package and those of your colleagues to be pegged to the top bankers, lawyers, doctors etc in the corporate sector, should not your standards of accountability and transparency be held to the same high standards as well?

    In the recent months, top executives of UBS, Citibank, Merril Lynch and Soc Gen have resigned or offered to resign as a result of oversight in the risk assessment and management of their business. For example, was the Soc Gen Chairman expected to know what a trader several levels down his line supposed to be trading? Obviously not but yet he offered to resign until the shareholders insist that it is in the best interests of the bank for him to stay on.

    I agree with PM Lee’s rational and measured response that a country should not be run on ministers resigning for every single oversight made. However, this is of grave oversight and the least that WKS could do was to offer to resign and if PM Lee decides that he has full confidence in WKS and his abilities to discharge his future duties then PM Lee can stick out his neck to defend him. But why did WKS not do that?

    Honestly, I would love to be a CEO of a bank and be paid millions of dollars a year and not be accountable to my shareholders. If you demand a compensation package pegged to the corporate sector top executives, it is only right that your accountability standards are held to that kind of standards and scrutiny as well. If not, please do not shed tears in parliament for nothing…thanks!

  44. Dr Syed Alwi said

    Dear Patriot,

    Yes – many Singaporeans are not happy with the PAP. But until Singaporeans have enough courage to challenge them – nothing is going to happen. Singaporeans cannot even vote out the current Government without electoral reforms – and yet paradoxically – Singaporeans are not willing to make personal sacrifices in order to get electoral reforms !

    I find Singaporean attitudes towards the Government to be somewhat amateurish and childish. You are not going to change the Government unless you force them to have electoral reforms, insist on the freedom of speeach and assembly and so on etc etc. Without these – the status quo will prevail.

    Finally – our reserves have NOT been audited. Who ultimately is answerable to the public on the issue of our reserves ? Where are the safeguards ?

    I would honestly like to see what will happen when LKY is gone – leaving behind a political vacuum. What then ?

  45. Yang said

    cause honestly, it is quite embarrassing for a leader of my country to be shedding tears on TV because he and his colleagues are “BEING PAID NOT ENOUGH” thanks hah…. You do not see Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Maragart Thatcher, Gordon Brown doing that on national TV okies….please lah….

  46. Jordan said

    Can we all write in to PM office as well as MHA emails to voice our true concern, that we are not a bunch of immature angry citizens but rational citizens who wants things to be done in an open and democratic way a democratic society should? I guess it is only our most basic rights as voters.

  47. Dingo said

    I don’t think we should point fingers at our neighbours having corruption. At least the people have means and ways of confronting them about it. How can we do that here? They tell us, “want to challenge, join a political party”. And those that do, you know what happens.

    There’s corruption, and then theres LEEgalized corruption.


  48. Simply put, we the citizens of Singapore cannot win. They can f**k up absolutely everything and still give a thousand and one reasons to justify yet another pay raise (which we will eventually swallow). We are chasing a ghost people – before we can sort out a conclusion to this abysmal example of governance, they will distract us with a ministerial pay raise announcement (or something as dramatic). It’s been the same case – keep the people occupied with a new problem.

    Perhaps we are suffering from Battered Wife Syndrome, where we stay in this relationship because we believe that we are hopelessly dependent on the ‘elites’ and we’d crumble without them. Hopefully, enough of us can ‘overcome’ this affliction and do something about it.

    As it has been pointed out, political overhaul may not be possible as a certain old man still has the ultimate arrogance to call in martial law if he can’t sustain his rule through the usual democratic-imagery. But perhaps, if we all pray hard enough, Mother Nature will provide a well-timed heart-attack and we can then look forward to some good voting next time around. I’m pretty sure no one else (and certainly not Mr 3Million+++) will have the balls to actually call in the military to protect his rule.

    If by the next election, we have to contend with this country as Singapore Inc and not Singapore – the nation), my opinion is to have the courage to walk out on this marriage and physically leave.

    We should either divorce, failing which we should ‘walk out’. We should certainly not stay in this marriage as the battered wife…

  49. patriot said

    Dr Syed Alwi:

    thank You very much for your response to me, very much appreciated. You came across as a very intellectual and sincere Doctor and as such, I believe I can learn from You by consulting You.

    I also feel You have great respects for MM Lee and PM Lee. It is great showing of loyalty if not reverrences for the two Leaders, coming from a Doctor, I believe there must be some substances in your readings and ratings of them. It is just that You did not elaborate very much.

    And the problem with me is that messages that are too subtle, sometimes are beyond my grasps. I hope You do understand that the ignorants do have to learn from the wise and learned. I am much obliged by You.

    Yours humbly: patriot.

  50. Daniel said

    Simply put, both LHL, WCS should rightfully resign because both are inept and incompetent. Both are not worthy of being graduated from Cambridge and London Business School. It only degrade the them school’s reputation. Did not the school teach about accountability and responsibility ? I’m sure the school regret such a pathetic student who give bullshit and utter rubbish in the world.

    WCS is merely a reflection of LHL, a clown joker.
    Contrary to many belief, complacency at government do not start from below. It start at the top. The below merely conform and response to the leadership of the top. If the top is apathetic and pretentious, so will those people from below.

    This government is fishy exploitative. When make money, they say it is business commerical and act like business-man to get profit. When trouble happen and lose money, they say they are not business-man but government people and therefore not liable for damage and responsibility. Such a cheap way of exploiting nation wealth.

    Amazing coffers !!! Uniquely Singapore… A load of rubbish ruling the nation.

  51. Daniel said

    May we suggest to Jack Neo the next sequence for highly successful movie “Money Not Enough” talk about life as minister and how even with millions they still feel themselves poorer. Jack Neo should hire PM Lee because his distasteful joke cost millions of taxpayer’s money. Nathan can also make special screenplay cutting ribbons in opening of the movie.

  52. Hulk Hogan said

    What I feel is that whether the opposition is credible or not, its not for us to judge nor predict till he/she is elected to see the full potential of his/her capabilities.

    Nobody would expect a highly paid minister to push all responsiblities away to the lower ranks while he still happily gets to enjoy his position without any accountability or whatsoever, even though he has openly apologised for the screw ups.

    Without a good percentage of opposition members in parliament, incidents like this will happen again and again, because check and balance was never there in the first place.

  53. Tang Li said

    This was an excellent article that said what every Singaporean happens to be thinking. Wong Kan Seng has acted in such a way that if he was not be blamed for the escape of Mas Selamat, he has to be held accountable for his subsequent actions.

    I love the way in which the government is doing its best to get everyone to look at the work of the ISD and the rest of the Home Team in the “Proper Context,” which is a translation for – you can’t get upset over a tinny thing like this. What they forget is that this is not a tinny thing. We have utterly no evidence that Mas Selamat is an evil terrorist determined to destroy Singapore. The man was never brought to trial. However, the government announced that inspite of not having enough evidence to convict him in a court of law……he was too dangerous to be left to roam around as a free man. However, now that he’s escaped….it’s no big deal.

    So here is the question that I’d be interested in asking. Is Mas Selamat actually dangerous? What evidence do we have that he was planning to do the things he’s supposed to do? How can it be necessary for him to be locked up without trial but at the same time necessary to see his subsequent escape in the “Proper Context.”

  54. Daniel said

    Tang Li,

    Is Mas Selamat dangerous ? If so, he should bomb and do whatever terrorist activity by now. No need to bomb plane, just bomb public transport or private vehicle and say he done it. Up to 52 days, and yet nothing from Selamat. Did government intentionally blow Selamat out of proportion of his terrorism potential ? To be precise, is he a terrorist at all given lack of trust and credibility of government.

    Is those Maxist Conspirators dangerous and guilty in 1987 ? How are they dangerous when they act in the interest of helping those who need help.

    Is Francis Seow gulity or traitor ? If so, why does a scrupulous figure end up being a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School ?

    Is Dr Chee so dangerous as the LHL want to fix opposition party and buy supporter vote ?

    There are more instances of cases that ISD is misabusing the authority. Of course, we know very well who in charge of ISD. The very same Joker Lee that tell the world no high government office holders should be held accountable and responsible. So should we expect joker not to abuse authority ? Oh, I forget no wonder his HOJINX wife is not held accountable for ShinCorpse’s pathetic billions dollar loss because no one should be held accountable over anything because this will stifle risk-taking.

    God must be blind to let such incorrigible joker and his clowns running Singapore. God must not be ‘complacent’ to let this continue.

  55. kingfisher said

    The opposition parties should get together and initiate an online petition demanding the removal of WKS!

    Your TOC readers will I daresay, gladly sign?

  56. Thinking Man said

    Total incompetence for ISD not to fix the Grills in a DETENTION centre since 2004!!! The ISD Head MUST GO. WKS is useless and the people know it. Worse of all, we have PM who does not know the ground. THey learn not from the Malaysian Elections where the internet played a strong part in helping (not solely)bringing about change. The attitude towards the Citizens is Absurd and INSULTING! Now they want to use this as an excuse to build another detention centre using tax-payers’ money again !!!!!

  57. I am sure you are reading said

    Hi all,

    I am sure that are MP’s who go the TOC for a does of reality from ground zero.

    well if you are reading this, Please advice on our reserves and not wait for the instruction manual and script to be handed to you.

    Many people on the ground are DYING to know.

  58. […] Online Citizen wrote that it wanted at least the offer of resignation. That it was not just the incompetence that let him […]

  59. Patroit Guy said

    If ministers have a protection that is shielding for them from complying to the demand of the people to resigns, then I doubt other ministers will ready fight and work for the benefits of people. These ministers will be more encouraged to take higher risks and people who are govern by them will suffer if he or she makes any mistakes.
    Singapore always being a safe heaven for people in minister position. They are protected and can not be blamed, then what is the point of democracy? We are the boss of our country or not?
    If any great mistakes, like the escape event, who is the mastermind of the terrorist activists, what happened if he successfully execute a major terrorist attacked in Singapore? What happened then? who really suffer? When economic when flashing down the toilet, more poor citizen suffer and no one is to blame? Remember, this time round because Prime Minister Lee stand up for Wong, if this thing happens, the people of Singapore will no longer looking for people in the ministers to be blame but the Prime Minister!
    Mark my word!

  60. desemondez said

    To be perfectly honest I see Mas Selamat’s escape as sufficient grounds for WKS’ immediate resignation. We’re talking about one of Singapore’s most wanted terrorist here, and this escape could return and haunt us in the near future in the form of a terrorist attack. Given his fat million dollar paycheck, I do not think it’s unreasonable for the taxpayers to assume that a mistake that compromises national security on such a scale should ever happen.

    And this is not even taking into account the ridiculous aftermath of public accountability that you have mentioned. PAP should have known that in order to justify such salaries, there should be absolutely no room for mistakes. So it’s kinda funny now seeing how LHL is trying to reason his way out of this one.

    Also, I’m quite disappointed with how the opposition members dealt with the inquiry. Makes me wonder more and more if WP is merely a mole for the PAP than an actual Opposition party.

  61. risk taking said

    I think PM Lee as good as said there will not be any accountability to the losses of GIC and Temasek Holdings. It is now called calculated risk taking. Throw a dice, it shows one instead of six – what to do. I want all my CPF money at age 55. How? Migrate only?

  62. Haha said

    The now ex-superintendant of the detention centre is not ISD personnel. What was he then? Police, Army or Prisons Dept?

  63. sgcynic said

    It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 6-man GRC or a 15-man GRC. The only minister that I still have respect is Mr Tharman. Any others I will do my best to vote him out of office.

    A wake-up call is long overdue. The disconnect between the ruling party and the people cannot be allowed to widen further. They were given the mandate and responsibility to run the country, not to rule over us.

    I don’t want to wake up one morning and find that the reason why our reserves are not made public is because there’s little left. Where in the world do we find both public and private institutions gnerating not just healthy surpluses/profits but record surpluses/profits year after year? Even town councils have a billion dollars in surplus! Due to efficiency or just sucking the people dry? How much profits does NTUC generate from its diverse business each year and how much did they use to benefit the people?

    I feel that the current ministerial team that is the highest paid ever does not warrant my respect at all. Then again, how can good they be since the team leader is of doubtful quality? Over a short span of time, he has committed numerous faux pas (mee siam mai hum, fix opposition and buy votes, what to do it’s happened). Where’s the leadership when the crisis happened? Working behind closed doors to resolve issue quietly? Wait for father to provide advice all the way from the other end of the globe? Show courage by going against the tide of public indignation to condone incompetence?

  64. Gary Teoh said

    I am not worried about selamat’s escape. I am more worried about how the government handle our reserves given that any misdeed or mismanagement will lead to no one accountable for it.Whether before or after LKY is gone,that makes no different, there is no transparency at all,remember our beloved president Ong queried the details of our reserves and the crap answer provided by GCT.So from this mas selamat lesson,the true colours of the top elite high pay ministers is exposed.They rule the country half heartedly, always thinking of $$$$ in their mind.

  65. Aidil Omar said

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and thus clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    H. L. Mencken

  66. sgcynic said

    WKS, you have my vote of NO confidence! Even if you are not to blame that Mas escaped, the way the home team handled the aftermath creates doubts in the competence and ability to ensure Singapore’s security. Someone up there must be really confused! Were the pants hanging on the toilet door or worn by Mas?

    Yes WKS, the home team did a great job protecting Singapore from terrorist attacks IN THE PAST (according to you and given that no incident occurred). It’s the future we are concerned with given that the same person is left in charge of the mess.

  67. sevenleleven said

    I would think that a resignation is a “win” for the JI but then there is a need for the Minister need to be accountable. Do we have to wait until a bomb goes off before deciding if he was liabile. What we have seen here is the pushing away of responsibilites and accountabilities.

    Worse, the whole episode had seen that decision was already being made (ie: ISD chief has assurance from DPM and PM had already talk thru with DPM before the COI in parliament).

    the PM able talked about responsibilities and recovery actions. It already about 2 months and what results have we seen? Maybe only the GC and some lower runks officers biting the bullet while the higher authorities went away scot-free.

  68. Weijia said

    what’s new?
    the government is full of double standards..
    pay can rise, hand outs to old folks cannot.
    citizens leave called quitters, all the children all live overseas.
    got problem the grunts get fired, but the heads nothing happen.

    the list goes on and on and on. sometimes reading what our leaders say in parliament makes me wanna PUKE. money cannot buy everything.

  69. […] : jigoku shoujo : hell girl: Wong Kan Seng’s Head, Rollability Index – The Online Citizen: TOC Editorial: Government’s lack of accountability bad for the PAP, worse for Singapore – Wake Up Your Idea: What To Do, It Has Happened… – My sketchbook: Stop teasing my boy,Wong […]

  70. aygee said

    hi everyone,

    If a revenge hit happens in Singapore and innocent people get killed, what then?

    the way in which there was such a lack of accountability over this incident, i’m even more convinced by the conspiracy theory that Mas Selamat is not the danger that he was made out to be.

    the title of him being the #1 terrorist could possibly just a show in the first place, to tell the world (or perhaps specifically, other foreign nations/global MNCs with a vested interest in SEA/Singapore) MHA is doing a great job in handling the JI threat?

  71. sevenleleven said

    A resignation from WKS amount to a “win” for the JI. However this being said accountability of the Ministry is equally important. Today, those who bites the bullet are the lower rung officers while the top got away scot-free. Free from responsibilities and accountabiliy.

    The COI is the worse joke as everything had been decided even before the COI was out. The Director of ISD shows more balls than his superior by preparing to take responsibilities.

  72. antz said

    I think the whole saga indeed have caused a dent in the ppl trust in our security agencies though.
    The thing is now we gotta move on with our lives now and still keep on the lookout for Mas Selamat.I see no point we keep pointing fingers and blaming ppl.
    Everyone of us make mistakes there will always be of no perfection in running a country.
    But,this episode is far from over until he is captured.

    Ppl mouth will still be talking,the govt or even anyone of us cannot make them shut their mouth.

    But indeed,speculations will not be of any help either.

  73. ireadpapers said

    has anyone seen today’s ST? fascinating.. they reported on the “debate” about government accountability, and it was obvious which side they were partisan to. that, in itself, i can accept. what really irks me is that they chose to conflate the issue of MS’ escape with the way his manhunt was attempted. since the escape could not have been under the purview of WKS, they exonerated him completely… which, i think, would be fair if that were the whole of the matter.

    the problem is of course that everyone feels, and with good reason, that the manhunt and publicity was very poorly handled. and when things have gotten that far down the line, surely the one solely in charge of what the press was divulging of MS is the responsibility of the minister. i am appalled by the stance our local paper is taking, and considering that the published press still has a certain moral authority to the masses (much as i despise the ST, it’s true), people who haven’t really considered the issues as separate will inevitably be bound to agree.

    i don’t want to nitpick, but i believe it is necessary to have a website that chronicles all of the government’s misadventures… and of course, putting it all out in the open, the government is free to address and rebut those claims if they can. that would be responsible and direct opposition. maybe a list of each and every pertinent issue that makes the citizens unhappy and hence, make the MS issue a lightning rod for government criticism (as the ST quite astutely observes), then links to each and every relevant political blog entry that critiques that situation.. people need a definite reference point, i feel, and diametrically opposite would be most useful if only to provide a comparison.

  74. maxim said

    Actually, the issue of the ‘conspiracy theory’ has not been cleared up. Of course WKS simply waived it off as rumour. I think he should have shown some evidence to prove that theory wrong, once and for all.

    So far no evidence of him escaping the detention. A cctv clip would have proven the case, but cctv wasn’t recording.

    Perhaps the COI should consider the following:

    – show the last medical report of MSK. Hopefully it is a few days before he escaped, to show that he was in good health all the while.

    – allow the guards who were watching him to be interviewed by the media, as they were the only ‘witnesses’ watching him just before he escaped.

    – allow his family to be interviewed by the media, so they can say when was the last time they saw or spoke to him.

    – present a couple of ‘inmates’ who saw MSK on the day of escape.

    The ‘conspiracy theory’ was supposed to be debunked by the COI report, but the report seems to lend support to the theory due to the lack of evidence. I think the Ministry would do well to prove the rumour wrong once and for all.

  75. Zheng Xi said

    Hi Ireadpapers,

    Please look out for TOC’s response to the ST’s appalling coverage. Coming up soon! =)

  76. bond said

    total disbelief, incredulous, zero credibility

  77. Daniel said

    antz ,
    “Everyone of us make mistakes there will always be of no perfection in running a country.”

    That’s not the point. There is no perfection and that is why CHECK AND BALANCE OF INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY IS ALL THE MORE CRUCIAL AND CRITICAL to ensure no misuse or complacency happen.

    We did not ask for perfection, but transparency and accountability of government.

    Did you not realize that we have been asked to give blind trust to GOVERNMENT? Look, the ISD, GIC, Temasek holding, and many government organization are shrouded in secrecy and information become non-disclosurable when pique. The problems are that we smell of trouble and complacency and abuse of authority when it is given leeway to do everything they like in the dark UTIMATELY WITHOUT ANYONE AT THE TOP RESPONSIBLE AT ALL (AMAZING ? Isn’t it). This is very concerning. I guess George Bush might have curse why he isn’t born in Singapore ! Because he will be paid millions without the need to shoulder any hiccups and responsibility simply he is not to blame as he delegate his task to someone else !

    Look what happen to ShinCorpse, NKF, Selamat, HDB unaudit, EDB_NSW saga etc, how much more blunder can anyone tolerate consider that all these eventually becomes waste taxmoney that you and I have to bear whereas in the midst, the ministers and rest of top gahmen still get all time-never-seen-before salary and laughing their way to the bank and give rhetoric ?

    What is the role and responsibility of PM, MM, SM, WCS, and ministers, president exactly ? The answer is very clear. They are not responsible and acountable for anyone or anything at all even though they are paid millions and even hold title (extra $$$$$$$$$) in GLC companies. Don’t find it ridiculous and amazing that it only happen in Singapore that promote itself as first world country ?

    Now, putting thing in perspective, Selamat case simply the blown the coffers out and let the truth unfold. The verdict is: The government could and cannot be trusted to do their job. And instead, the people like PM, MM, WCS can talk cock and sing song even though it is clearly their sole responsibility not the typical Singaporean.

    Now, do you really see the point ?

  78. Daniel said

    What most people do not realize is not so much of Selamat case that we should be overwhelmly concerning (as the ShittyTime want everyone to believe) but the overall lack of leadership, transparency, accountability and responsibility in the government that take care of our CPF ,reserve and investment and in area that sensitive and non-disclose to public. Selamat case is nothing but just one of tip of a iceberg. We expect a iceberg that will sink the Titanic (Singapore) ultimately, drowning the citizen in cold freezing water whereas coffers will ride in safety boat with warm and away from harm/

    If Selamat is but anything to show, it show too much wayangness, pretentious, rhetoric and ineptness in the government. Isn’t this a Make-believe world we live in, as LKY says. Isn’t he senilely given us the hint ? So where are we going to wake up or has we already died ‘laughing’ ?

  79. Daniel said

    The attitude and ineptness in Selamat’s case may as well expose their vulnerabilities and incompetence in managing the affairs of the state. Substance not image is what citizen expecting. Fact and truth not rhetoric is what citizen seeking.

  80. Kudos on a well written article. The leadership has failed the nation. LKY mentioned complacency and I agree with him partially. He has thus far not proposed a solution to that. I shall not wait for him to say it because it is probably hard for him to do so, having dismissed that the idea as a “western liberal idea” – back in 2001.

    Let me explain. How many of those who are posting on this blog has ever voted at a GE, Presidential Election, or by-election? We seem to go to the polls every 5 or so years, and ever since I have been legally able to vote, about 26 years ago, I have voted exactly once (and I am proud to say that I voted for the opposition).
    Why did I have but one chance to vote in 26 years? Blame it on the ridiculous system called “walk over”. I proposed a solution to that when I put myself up for consideration as an NMP – see http://harishpillay.livejournal.com/2864.html, although it was dismissed by none other than the same bloke in the center of the current controversy, KS Wong and Co – see http://harishpillay.livejournal.com/1867.html.

    We must get rid of walk overs which means that each and every one of us get to vote every time. In one simple stroke, complacency is reduced (perhaps removed), accountability is restored. Not sure if this petition is useful, but it has been there for a while now. I would like to have more people to sign that. I am sure that the cabinet will not listen to the petition, but at least we should start the work on fixing the problem ourselves and get the publicity machinery working. We can bring accountability back into government.

    Harish

  81. CivilServant said

    An Open Letter to Low and Middle-Ranking Civil Servants in Singapore

    For years, you have toiled for the goods of Singapore and the government. You were the bloods, sweats and tears who made possible the Signapore story and the PAP franchise.

    Now, be fearful. Be fearful because the MS incident has shown that you will be the scapegoat should anything adverse happen. Today, it is the escape of a dangerous terrorist. Tommorrow, the economy may flounder and that’s the end of the Singapore story.

    You will have to take the blame and bear the responsbility because nobody at the top will. They will not bear the blame. They will punish you. Unless you are high ranking and have the protection of someone up there.

    Be careful. Fear for your lives and livelihood. One screw-up and you are dead meat.

  82. Daniel said

    Anyone care to reveal how many time he get to vote so far ?

    For the start, I get to vote only ONCE in 1980s in Bukit Timah and that’s where good president and governance is around. After which, is all walkover. I never has a chance to vote thereafter because of GRC. GRC is flawed as WCS do not need to perform or get voted out, just need to show his sickening face and put on a deceptive smile showing his naiveness and innocence in all-plain angellic white attire, as do rest of the expensive coffers.

  83. Ace said

    Seriously people, were any of you actually surprised by the outcome?

    It was a foregone conclusion the minute MSK ran away. From the “bite me” style of i am sorry to the PM’s “Bo piah” reply. To LKY, it is the fault of the people for expecting too much from Govt.

    Frankly, all the while it has been PAP is the best, we do not make mistakes so pay us like mad. Then when things screw up, you peasants expect too much from us…COMPLACENT!!!!….

    I mean round after round of elections people keep getting their focus shifted from the real issues and focus on getting their “Slavery bonus” then nothing anyone can do right?

    If anyone can do a compliation of the price the peasants pay after each and every election…then you will know for a fact that whatever crap which you receive before the election, you will pay back 10 times more.

    MSK escape is a small thing. Even if he comes back to bomb and kill people, the same crap is gonna come out of the propeganda machine… Citizens are killed, let’s unite and be strong…. Nothing is ever ever going to happen to anyone within that clique.

    Nothing has ever been accounted for and nothing will ever be accounted for.

    Accept it and do the right thing the next time round.

    Or you could just focus on receiving the “F**k you” bonus and keep getting F^*ked…your choice.

  84. Daniel said

    There is a obvious way why PM Lee is protecting WCS and indicates that no ministers should be accountable of honest mistake. You see, it is a mean to protect himself of incompetence and lousy leadership. By allowing WCS to resign due to popular public demand, he fear that it will set a precedence whereby the citizen has the power to dictate the regime, not the other way round as is currently done.

    So why should PM Lee fear if he is doing excellently ? Not unless he is one pathetic useless clown that cannot perform but promote because he is a clown prince due to nepotism, Why he refuse to concede to demand of the citizen but rather come out excuses to move on should be apparent. Because he knows that he may as well be next booo-out consider how much follies he and his regime have done. Billions goes unaccounted for in the name of nation building (ShinCorpse etc). Foreigners overwhelm job market to detrimental of Singaporean’s prospect and future even though foreigner is more likely due to cheap labour than real talent. GST to help the poor endup helping the minister and gahmen more (Note the 7%GST applies to item, so even if inflation (high price), they earn even more more !)… Minister being pay astronomical salary without astronomical performance but average performance.

    Yes, they can hide their motive , but they cannot run. It is not difficult to see through these coffers because their patterns of engagement are always the same and predictable.

  85. CelluloidReality said

    Living in Bukit Timah GRC, unable to vote. Used to live in Thomson, never got to vote either.

    Two good friends of mine voted for their first time while living in Manchester, England during the last British GE. How ironic is that.

  86. iEatCanibals said

    in the first place, what sort of corporate culture comes up with such ridiculous screw-ups? why shuldnt top management bear responsiblity for such failings?

  87. logicalman said

    Question: If the Home Affairs Minister is a member of, say, Workers’ Party, do you think the Government’s stand will still be the same, or an entirely different scenario will play out, possibly with ministers and MPs calling not just the minister involved, but the entire leadership of WP to resign from office?

    While I do not support the call for Wong Kan Seng to resign over this fiasco, I agree with TOC, as well as NMP Siew Kum Hong and others that at least a tender of sincere apology should have been made. No one is beyond erring. Even the most well-audited procedures may fail in some unexpected circumstances, although in this case, what the COI has revealed is rather glaring and unexpected of a nation that prides itself on having foresight and being meticulous. As others have said, to which I agree, it’s not perfection that we expect from our leaders, but integrity, transparency and accountability. A basic expectation is that we are honest enough to admit that we have erred, humble enough to seek forgiveness and a mandate to carry on, and bold enough to accept any punishment that may be accorded.

    It’s already unfortunate, from the way these events have unfolded, that the ministers involved seemed more concerned about defending or justifying their actions by downplaying certain implications, than accepting the realities and the magnitude of the consequences, which if applied to any man in the street, would have seen that man lose his job and being slapped with civil or criminal punishment. What’s even more unfortunate is that the blame seems to fall squarely and fully on certain officers/guards in charge at that point of time, who seemed the most worthy of sacrifice. Although I do not rejoice at the fact that the punishment rests solely on these folks, hypothetically speaking, if the officer/guard in charge happens to be closely related to the ministers involved, would that again affect the choice of punishment?

    At the end of the day, it all boils down to the values that these ministers subscribe to. If all that matters is their personal survival and those closest to them, if all that matters to them is numbers and not morals, this is what we can & should expect.

    I am very sure some of the old guards who have passed on, those who have served with integrity, humility and passion without the need for a paycheck matching CEOs & top professionals of their days, these would shake their heads if they were alive today, and they are rightly entitled to do so.

  88. Jsangye said

    Failure. Total Failure.

    Next election I hope to see the same case as in Malaysia right now. Had more than enough of this government.

  89. Humty Dumpty said

    I have to thank MSK, if it were not for him, I guess many singaporeans would still be in la la land 😉

    Now that the truth is out, at least we all can know the cookie cutter response our Elites will provide for every Screw up.

    If MSK is really a TERROR, and is believed to be threat to Singapore, I believe the royal forces should be on their toes and leave no stone unturned, or even have a bounty out on him.

    Isn’t that why they locked him up without trial ? Because he is a MAJOR TERROR ? Should SINGAPORANS locked themselves at home not that he is out there,and wait till he is caught as he is a MAJOR TERROR?

    No footprint, No CCTV, open window, conflicting and delayed reporting.

    Sounds like the perfect storm, where everything a escape convict would want.

    reminds me of Humpty Dumpty or the emperors new clothes

  90. Sick in the gut said

    I really have not much to say as all those comments before this have already just about expressed how we netizens feel. But I know that they don’t give e f_ck. They might not know how to keep a terrorist in custody but as what the Minister has said we need to look at the track record. Just look at how effective they are in handling any treat to their power. All cameras and recording devises work with backup too. They don’t give a shit about how you feel. Lets face it, we will be in for more surprises come 2011. We are progressing from denial of basic human rights and freedom to oppression. And as usual we will just carry on by saying “what to do it happended”

    They keep harping on what they have achieved. Going by that rule, JBJ, FS, CSJ all had good track record before they choose to oppose. Why were they taken to task, why does the high standard apply only to them. At the end of the day, I have no respect for you. In my eyes you are in the same category as Marcos, Suharto, Idi Amin, Mubage and other likewise great leaders. I wait for the day when I can spit on your grave.

  91. lunatic said

    does those guard had a say on not having a grill on the window and the parameter wall near the fence. He escape through the window and climb onto parameter wall and jump out. So isnt it that the security there itself is full of loop hole and camera not even working!!!!! whose fault?????
    Can only sympathy those poor guards….

  92. Read this, guys …

    Good Leadership, High Principles, …and High Pay… by Diary Of A Singaporean Mind.

    A very good reminder of how Wong Kan Seng himself demanded accountability from others.

  93. Humble Singaporean said

    An excellent article. Very well written and to the point.

    Keep it up, TOC!

  94. Andrew Loh said

    Wong Kan Seng demanding accountability from others:

    “To decide whether this was an innocent mistake, Singaporeans must know the answers to these questions. In the interests of transparency and accountability that Mr Low upholds, he must share with Singaporeans the answers that he received from Mr Gomez”

    – Wong Kan Seng, May 2006

    “Low cannot brush aside this episode and say just move on. This is a serious matter. It cannot rest here.”

    – Wong Kan Seng 2nd May 2006.

    Source: Diary Of A Singaporean Mind

  95. logicalman said

    Dear Andrew Loh,

    That’s why I asked, would the scenario play out differently if the minister involved is from the opposition party? I am sure not only will the above lines be spouted like a standard Govt response, we will also hear a chorus of name-calling from various backbenchers and MPs, like “wayang”, etc.

  96. Ex-PAP Supporter said

    Goh Chok Tong:

    “We have an understanding that if a minister is defamed and he does not sue, he must leave cabinet. By defamation, I mean if somebody says the minister is on the take or is less than honest. If he does not rebut it, if he does not dare go before the court to be interrogated by the counsel for the other side, there must be some truth in it. If there is no evidence, well, why are you not suing?”

    Wong Kan Seng, why don’t you sue every blogger who’s calling you dishonest, without integrity and without accountability?

  97. Daniel said

    Ex-PAP Supporter ,
    they don’t have to sue anybody anymore. All they need to do is to go for the quick and easy summary judgement just like recently father and son have done to FEER. That speak very well of how credible and honest they are in taking the shortcut and foolproof way to buy quick result. Of course, the way the son carry himself so far if ever been scrutinized by a high-grade lawyer will surely bring the fall of Lee’s dynasty. Now, they will find some excuses of going for quick trial with reasons like they won’t be free to attend court case.

    “It’s the Kangaroo Court. What to do ? It happened.”

  98. What I have learnt said

    TOC , can you do a simple poll on

    how many people believe the COI report ?

  99. anon said

    why does everyone talk only about complacency when its plainly obvious that the physical fencing and the way the CCTV upgrade was done is really an issue of lack of COMPETENCY ?

  100. Simon said

    When an old man aged nearly 85 in charge of this little red dot,all these are to be expected.

    WE should expect more to come!

  101. patriot said

    The only people not holding themselves responsible are THE LEADERS RESPONSIBLE themselves! It speaks volume and they feel fine to be at odd with their citizens!

    patriot.

  102. Dr Syed Alwi said

    Well folks – you get what you vote for !

  103. Whirl-Class said

    We have titanic leaders [self-proclaimed], who draw titanic salaries, but when the the sailing got rough, they blamed icebergs.

  104. anon said

    why does everyone talk about complacency when its plainly obvious that the physical fencing and the way the CCTV upgrade was done is really an issue of lack of COMPETENCY ?

  105. lee see liou said

    no chance to vote during election??? walk over election??? blame yrself for allowing them to setup the rules & regulation here. if i garmen, i love you cos you people are like sheep, easy to manipulate & good punching bag. like rubber band, easy to pull. no resistance. so i study hard then can also be a bully like them.

  106. Fever Guy said

    Just imagined if Singapore is to have a reginoal WAR, and many thousands singaporeans died, our island under heavy bombing and our SAF is losing ground……do you think our ministers will be standing by with us in such times?
    I think they will flee first hand with their whole family leaving poor sinkies to die running away with their wealth.
    They have shown to us how “good” is their responsibilities and accountabilities by ruining their own reputation over a case such as MSK.
    PM should have call for WKS to resign and that would have save the face of the gahment. He didn’t coz he is afraid. How to be a great leader if he is afraid.
    With such a poor leadership shown, how do you expect NS men to defend the nation when threats arises, poor pay versus millions for the minister, do you think our SAF regulars will fight with their life when knowing their own ministers are gutless when comes to responsibilities? They are also clueless.
    So what we have advanced weaponary, but such an uninspiring leadership is itself derimental to our defence force.
    I have no confidence in our gahment in leading the people during tough times because when good times they have F*** up badly.
    As for the press, all its sugary words of the gahment are doing more harm than good. All the editors are like drug addicts they fed on Pappy propaganda, the more the merrier. May God save their Soul.

  107. Daniel said

    Fever Guy,
    in fact, given the money-face and pragmaticism of our gahmen, I have no doubt they will run away in times of war or escape responsibilities and forge ignorance like they did in Selamat’s case. After all, if one is dead, how to spend money and get profit ? (Business-man do not trade their life, they trade their money)

    Then you have them justify their action
    “We did not escape. Rather we settle ourselves along with the wealth and loot to a safe country so that we can do more planning and coordination. Because as long as we (PAP) survive, Singapore has hope and can be rebuilt”.

    Mark my words, given their past history of remarks, they will unhesitantly and blatantly give similar ‘selfish’ and ‘thick-skin’ comment to justify their ‘escape’ in times of war. Of course, we have the famous Golden Silence period of LHL when war start. There is no leadership to speak of because they will say they are politician not military. (Of course, they can say what they want. Business-man, government, politician,angel, devil or god)

    So many decades already, shouldn’t we know better ?

  108. Daniel said

    And given that these coffers have so much money, they will probably invest their nest in other country by buying properties.

    Remember, they just pass down a law to prevent investigation of ministers and official. Didn’t that tell us something ?

  109. […] : jigoku shoujo : hell girl: Wong Kan Seng’s Head, Rollability Index – The Online Citizen: TOC Editorial: Government’s lack of accountability bad for the PAP, worse for Singapore [Recommended] – Wake Up Your Idea: What To Do, It Has Happened… – My sketchbook: Stop teasing my […]

  110. John Kew said

    Trust in our leadership? Ha ha. I lost faith in them the day they voted to increase their own salaries and justified it with the silliest of reasons. That’s what they’re all about isn’t it? I do give them credit for inventing legalised corruption though. Suharto may have stolen billions from the people of Indonesia but our leaders have done it right in our face. They’ve gotten away with so many things in the past, why should they be accountable to us now? Just because some cripple managed to climb out of toilet window? We’re really living in fantasy if we expect Wong Kan Seng to even offer to take responsiblity let alone offer to resign.

  111. National reserves said

    Stand up for Singapore, do the best you can
    Reach out for your fellow man
    You’ve got to make a stand
    Recognise you can play your part
    Let it come right from your heart
    Be prepared to give a little more
    Stand up, stand up for Singapore !!

  112. Logicalman said

    Daniel, you said “Remember, they just pass down a law to prevent investigation of ministers and official”. When was this passed? I must have missed it. Any online reference or discussion on this law?

    Thanks.

  113. Expected Analysis said

    Committee of Citizen Statement On The Committee of Sensible Inquiry
    On The Ministerial Statement Made In Parliament On The Committee Of Inquiry Findings On The Escape Of Mas Selamat

    Dear President, MM, SM, PM, PAP ministers, MPs, NMPs, Fellow Singaporeans,

    The Committee of Sensible Inquiry (CSI) was convened to vet the report submitted to DPM, Wong Kan Seng. This is necessary as the citizens feel that the DPM’s choice of the COI members constitutes potential conflict of interest between the DPM, the government and the citizens. As such, transparency, accountability and liability will be subject to less than independent scrutiny.

    After having exercised due diligence over the COI’s report, the following points of contentions and unexplained circumstances are herein, put forward for public awareness and discussion.

    1. Reference: Statement Points 13 & 14
    Mas Selamat was escorted to locker room to change into civilian clothes. He stood behind a column of lockers to change.

    CSI’s query:
    WRDC is a detention centre with well-established prison protocol. Therefore, detainees there won’t get any privilege of privacy. Given common sense, a detainee’s clothes are subject to checks, for those stripped and for those put on, unless there is no visible clothing on him/her.

    2. Reference: Statement Point 16
    The guard waited for a few minutes outside the urinal cubicle door with the sound of the tap water running and Mas’ trousers slung over the top of the cubicle door.

    CSI’s query:
    a. The urinal cubicle is not equipped with toilet bowl nor shower. We find it inconceivable that the guard would wait for a few minutes, knowing very well that the most Mas can do inside was passing urine, which at most would take less than a minute.

    b. It is human knowledge that men do not remove their trousers to pass urine under normal circumstances. The guard, being a man, is fully aware of this anomaly if indeed, Mas did remove his trousers. The guard would had sense this foul play and done the necessary, unless he was aware that Mas was engaged in some self-service acts.

    c. The cubicle door does not extend to the ceiling and the sound of the running tap water was not possible to mask the purported escape as the guard was in such close proximity. The handle-less window, although without grilles, would not facilitate an easy escape without creating noises. The sound of the running tap water cannot possibly be as loud as a torrential rain unless designed and equipped to be so.

    d. The woman ISD officer outside when alerted, had to summon an Assistant Case Officer to check on Mas. This is totally unbelievable when the gurkha guard was right outside the cubicle door to do it immediately.

    e. CSI is of the opinion that the guards and the ISD officers are such professionally trained security personnel to be able to commit such incoherent errors.

    f. The uninstalled window grille is not crucial to the escape as the meticulous planning and design of the overall security measures make it impossible to escape from the detention centre.

    3. Reference: Statement Point 19
    The COI finds no conclusive evidence of the escape route Mas took after climbing out of the toilet window. It surmises that Mas could have climbed onto the roof of an enclosed staircase and walkway at the section where the perimeter fencing converges with this enclosed staircase and walkway. Mas could have jumped over the perimeter fence. COI observed that the baju kurong which Mas was wearing, was found in the forested area outside the perimeter fence.

    CSI’s query:
    a. The fact that no conclusive evidence of the escape route can be established may also point to the fact that the escape did not occur at all.

    b. Where the enclosed staircase and walkway converge with the perimeter fencing, this so-called weakness would had been factored with the appropriate security measures in the planning stage.

    c. No evidence was presented on the distance between the closest jump-off point and the perimeter fence. Whether it is possible to simply jump over the fence is a critical factor that must be established to support this theory.

    d. The baju kurong which Mas was reported wearing and which was found outside could had been placed there prior to the search if the escape did not occur in the first place.

    4. Reference: Statement Point 25
    In my view, the security weakness of this window is the single most crucial factor which enabled Mas to escape. The omission to fully secure this ventilation window in the Family Visitation Block toilet used by detainees was a glaring weakness which should have been rectified, and not dealt with in an ad hoc manner by sawing off the window handle.

    CSI’s query:
    CSI emphasized that the uninstalled window grille is not crucial to the escape as the meticulous planning and design of the overall security measures make it impossible to escape from the detention centre. That the supposedly highly qualified superintendent of WRDC did not see it necessary to grille the window supports our notion. Therefore, this cannot be a source to channel the blame.

    5. Reference: Statement Point 32
    The CCTV coverage of the area was in the midst of being upgraded. At the time of the escape, there were two CCTV cameras mounted at the location where Mas climbed out of the Family Visitation Block. However, these cameras were not commissioned yet. The system is still in its testing and validation stage. As such, there was no recording or active monitoring of these cameras.

    CSI’s query:
    Given that WRDC is such an important detention centre housing terrorists, it is simply beyond logic to have non-active monitoring nor recording cameras even in this case where upgrading is on-going.

    There was no mention of the other cameras in the vicinity. Is the DPM suggesting that all cameras were not functioning nor recording at that time, in the midst of the upgrading? Not commissioned does not necessarily mean that they are not working.

    Since no escape point could be confirmed in the first place, this is subject to further clarification. It is also possible that no evidence of escape could be presented from the recordings, which explained for the non-commissioned cameras.

    The Post Incident Response
    CSI strongly chastises the DPM and his subordinates for the rather mediocre and comical info provided to the public over the days after the escape. This is unbecoming of a ministry handling national security. Descriptions on Mas were simply confusing. This can only be excusable if Mas was new to the detention centre.

    CSI is of the opinion that to escape from the centre is near impossible if unaided. Not unless all the security measures failed at the same time and the centre is unmanned. The only other explanation for this episode is that no escape took place.

    CSI unreservedly thank all those activated and involved in the manhunt including the innumerous sufferings and inconveniences endured in this episode. The government is expected to compensate all as a token of appreciation.

    Other highly suspect and contentious misdemeanor identified by CSI
    1. The appointment and composition of the COI is highly questionable with conflict of interest and collusion a distinct possibility. Of equal glaring concern is that the DPM chose to stick to his choice when this anomaly was highlighted. However, the greatest concern is that the PM did not object to this when it is so obvious that accountability and integrity are at stake in this matter involving the DPM, which will ultimately reflect on the government.

    2. That the COI’s findings was accepted wholesale by the DPM and in turn, by the PM, is shocking and beyond comprehension. With so many points of contentions, the citizens are hard pressed to demand for transparency. A separate COI comprising neutral parties is the only solution for a credible report, more so, in this case involving the integrity and accountability of the highest office in Singapore.

    3. It is puzzling and highly controversial that the DPM chose to exonerate the director of ISD prior to the release of the COI report. There is no doubt of questionable integrity at a time when the DPM himself is subject to accountability and liability pending the COI report.

    Compounding the question of integrity is the fact that the PM saw it fit and proper to endorse his continued confidence for the DPM despite all these disturbing facts of controversial proceedings. As such, the PM’s integrity is now also under the spotlight and subject to scrutiny.

    4. Despite the systemic failures of the current incident along with many previous failings, the DPM was not censured nor penalized or demoted. Incoherently, the PM has embarked on a crusade of exonerating ministers from being accountable for the mistakes of their subordinates despite declaring that ministers are ultimately responsible for their ministries.

    5. Both the PM and the DPM have been exemplary in dodging issues raised by channeling accountability and blame to the guards and the superintendent of WRDC only. Of paramount concern is that this seemingly promiscuous delegation of responsibility has been well-received in parliament with no objection nor abstention of support.

    6. The citizens are highly concerned and disoriented that their $10,000+ per day PM is uttering less than creditable arguments. With 2 casinos in mind, he exhibits pre-occupation with gambling matters in using the throwing of dice to decide on possibly difficult decisions, where a 1 means a straightforward decision while a 6 denotes 6 variable choices of decisions. Very confounding and challenging to try not to get a 6 indeed.

    7. CSI reminds the government that this matter is not properly settled yet. Any call to move on from here will only add fuel to the fire, which in due course, will be difficult to put out. It is in the interest of Singapore that a further thorough investigation be expedited to restore integrity and accountability.

  114. Daniel said

    Logicalman,

    take a look, it create some commotion in blogosphere but then this is moved on by the gahmen as usual.

    It is reported in ShittyTime too,
    here are some of the site.

    http://www.sgreview.org/index.php?q=node/35

    http://www.wp.sg/wordpress/?p=22

    There is a youtube version of sylvia lim making an attempt of repelling the ‘ridiculous’ law

    What is basically mean is that one need to seek approval from the government to investigate political figures, minister, president etc…

    Everyone know that by the time when investigation is approved, the person under investigation will have been alerted, with evident destroyed, and thing cover-up, and in return retaliation or lawsuit against defamation may have occurred on person pressing the charge and investigation instead.

    Remember how Dulai wanna sue SPH reporter in NKF saga ?

    The government might have think we Citizen are stupid …

  115. Daniel said

    Correction …. Durai not Dulai

  116. patriot said

    May I put in a question here to everyone reading this blog.

    If the Leadership chooses not to be answerable, responsible and accountable to flaws as suspected in Mas Selamat Escape, Investments in Foreign Banks, Lousy Policies and Poor Performances in running Singapore. What measure(s) can we, the lay citizens, do?
    Or what can we do?

    Ranting, cursing, swearing and suicides have not the slightest effects on unconscientious, unfeeling people with doubtful integrities. In the end it is the active citizens themselves that get hurt, demoralize and disappointed. Does the citizenry got no alternatives but to throw in the towel and remain in suffering?

  117. CelluloidReality said

    Patriot,

    The ballot box is the only way left.

  118. Daniel said

    CR,
    you are right about balloting even though there is a high chance that the coffers will ‘revamp’ the system to their advantage.
    1) Increase GRC to more members to migitate contest.
    2) Eliminate one person contest
    3) Allow the Singapore resident like PR, foreigner to vote (Remember they no longer talk about citizen anymore, and majority of those SR belong to country that probably worse off than Singapore, which make them likely to vote for establishment)
    4) Make use of public fund to buy supporter’s vote
    5) Using mainstream media to fix opposition party and do self-promoting the ruling party.
    6) Widen GRC’s coverage of area.
    7) Use vocal threat and send some scapegoat to jail as warning.
    8) Discredit members of opposition party while self-promoting themselves as pure saviour angel (Remember no one able to privately investigate political figure). Double standard of establishment is that the law only apply to Pappy not to others.

    Those are meant to deprive citizen the right to vote freely with truth and informed choice.

    The only way to counter the coffer is to rethink the way of using ‘free’ technology to reach out the mass. Web 2.0 is there to bring the voice of citizen back, and it is up to us to utilize it. Malaysian had done the impossible, Singaporean been as technically savvy should have done better after learning from the predecessor.
    ‘Cheap, free technology’ at our disposal. Question is how to adapt these in Singapore to advantage.

  119. CelluloidReality said

    Daniel,

    I see a few things on your list as being untenable to be used in the next GE. Call it a hunch, but I would strike off #2 and #7 as highly unlikely and too costly.

    As for #3, this is a wildcard because immigrants have not always in history, been seen to vote for the incumbent, especially those who hail from nations who actually have a liberal electoral process, e.g India.

    #5 will go on as usual.

    I’m not sure about #1.

    In any case, perceptions change overnight, and if the ruling party decides to wake up and realises that changing their ways/doctrines/platform is the only way to ensure their relevance and survival, they might do it.

    This party was founded on the premise of survival, and that they are the heirs to that tradition of battle.

    Cheers.

  120. Daniel said

    CR,
    I have to disagree. The PAP is getting bolder each day (If I remember, 16 ERP gantries to be fully implemented at end of this year. Some even close in residential area. No reason is given other than those lame unacceptable one etc). World-first ERP-like system built into car on trial in 2010, and what is the citizen going to do about it ?

    If Selamat case is precedent, there is nothing the coffers won’t do especially one that threaten their very existence. It obvious that they have to protect their regime at all cost least their evidence of past shit and deed are digged out one by one. We know what happen to President Chen once Ma in power, don’t we ?

    We should not underestimate the coffers. As far, even if coffers implement policy, they know very well there will not be major protest aside from their few backlisted ‘troublemaker’. Moreover, they know too well Singaporean will swallow the most bitter medicine as history indicated. Singaporeans are obedient lot, and that what coffers have made them to be since the day they are born. The ultimate machinery ‘manufacture’ Human being without dream but with only hope to enjoy everything they have now, and living each day as it come.

    My instinct tell me that Selamat’s escape is story concocted by the establishment. They become storyteller and eventually will be good at it. They corrupted the morality of the talented they hired to create the make-believe world, brainwashing the nation that money culture is the way of life in Singapore. I believe that ultimately, citizens are only as good as the leaders that govern the country. If the leader is greedy, the majority of citizen will act likewise because the leader promote that culture, and that culture become the mean to survive in the harsh environment.

    Yes, there is great price to pay if they do what I list but remember the home populace may not matter once the nation proliferated with foreigner. Citizen and their voice are irrelevant because we are just digit like the foreigner. Moreover, with increasing liabilities and own survival to take care of, they know very well we be more busy struggling with life than resist their nonsense and rubbish. Remember, what matter to the establishment is economy sustainability and growth and they will pursue them tenaciously at any cost especially once that benefit the coffers greatly. We see that today, and we seeing that even more tomorrow as international competition intensifies.

    Didn’t we experience that before ? If LKY, the once no-nonsense old folk, can tell you army will come to remove the opposition party if they elected as government, tell me what they cannot do ? He might appear mellow now, but one should never underestimate or judge a cunning deceptive fox by his silence. And his ISD will here to stay whether we like it or not.

    I have painted the worse case only because still at this stage, the government is unrepentance and still indulge in their own self-righteousness, selfishness and benefit, and their forever infallible images. Responsibility, accountability and transparency seem a arcane concept to them.

    For decades, we have believe in too much IF, only to be disappointed. Optimism will not bring us far (Remember more good years ? But whose good year is that ?) because we will be waiting for others to do the work. Will there be hope ? Yes, as long as the PM , MM relinquished their power and let more humane leader take charge, someone of late President Ong’s calibre.

  121. Daniel said

    “As for #3, this is a wildcard because immigrants have not always in history, been seen to vote for the incumbent, especially those who hail from nations who actually have a liberal electoral process, e.g India.”

    Yes, not unless the establishment give those foreigner better benefits to buy their vote. How about good working condition and regulation, increase their pay, better life, and ensure that future India will be well-treated in exchange for a pact ? If the foreigner going to make the majority, I do not see why the government will not allow them to vote eventually after all any reason given is as good as final decision. Will there be influential spokesperson for those foreigner worker (India) that bought by Government to vouch for the establishment if time arise ? Ruling party have done it for Singapore union, can they too do it for foreigner? I say why not ? Business as usual for them. Gov love to give us surprise and caught us without pant once a while. This will surely make a good surprise.

  122. CelluloidReality said

    Daniel,

    Well, to each his own.

    I don’t think they are up to it, skill-wise.

    🙂

  123. Daniel said

    CR, yes , to each his own…
    cheer.

  124. Ephraim said

    No performance bonus for Wong Kan Seng this year?

  125. […] reply says it […]

  126. Rain said

    For WKS who doesn’t want to resign and as much as the PM wants to keep him at his side despite incurring the citizen’s wrath; the next best possible solution is for WKS to break up his TPY-Bishan GRC and contest under his SMC and let the people decide his fate.

    The last thing that will come to PAP’s mind is to have him drag the entire GRC down.

    Unless we have a Tanjong Pagar-TPY 11 man GRC coming up in the next election…

  127. Fever Guy said

    The ERP in Toa Payoh maybe removed sooner than people think. Earn some points with his own constituency and built more facilities. Toa Payoh now is a hot favourite estate. I dun think the sinkies there will do anything to hurt their expensive investment in their HDB flats to have a opposition coming in. Things must be really bad for WKS to retire sooner. TPY i think no chance of losing in GE2011.

  128. Singapore Boleh said

    China sacked local head of communist party for the train accident – even though he has no direct relation with the operation of the train service.

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/344542/1/.html

    This is accountability to the fullest.

  129. patriot said

    Be it in China, Japan, US and in many other countries, the leader(s) incharge will automatically resign, hold him/herself responsible or be made responsible by their higher authority, for any bad mistake, honest and otherwise.

    The above is almost an international practice and there are very little exceptions. In fact, that is an honourable thing to do to remain honourable and be respected.

    patriot.

  130. Commoner said

    If WKS accepted ISD director’s move of accepting his responsibility and tendering his resignation, then WKS would also be forced to do the same, so it is better to keep him as a companion. At least, you have someone to share the blame and criticism at these crucial time. Nice move really! I think I would have done the same if I were him and if I could think of it. These people are really strategists. Too bad that they only used it for their own gains.

    Imagine what shit you will get if you are not in power.

  131. Logicalman said

    We are a meritocratic society. No where is “honour” mentioned, not even in our national pledge. That should explain 😉

  132. MMSMPMMC said

    Nepotism has prevail in Singapore politics again.

    Ka ki Nang policy again proved its existence in a democratic society.

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