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The Mas Selamat Scandal: Its Impact on the Government-People Relationship

Posted by theonlinecitizen on April 25, 2008

The following piece is by writer Catherine Lim. We thank Ms Lim for allowing us to reproduce it here.

Do visit her website for more of her writings.

Catherine Lim

The following article, like previous ones, was turned down for publication by the Straits Times. It looks like I should stop being thick-skinned and give up sending my commentaries to them!

‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.’ Something could get rotten in the state of Singapore as a result of the very unfortunate Mas Selamat scandal.

Scandal it is, in terms not only of its shocking nature—the most dangerous political prisoner and terrorist operative in Singapore makes a laughably easy escape in a super efficient, technologically advanced city state—but also of the serious doubts it is raising in the public’s perception of government accountability, and the damage that these doubts could do to the government-people relationship.

Up to this point, the relationship has been fairly stable and amicable, transcending whatever conflicts that have arisen over the years when the people expressed their unhappiness about the government’s decisions on various issues, such as those related to foreign workers, ministerial salaries, the casinos, Shin Corp, etc.

In each case, public debate has followed a predictable pattern: first, the people are allowed to speak their minds freely through the permitted channels including the forum pages of newspapers, TV debates, the feedback units, and dialogues with government representatives; next, at an appropriate point, the Prime Minister himself and his ministers enter the fray with patient, sustained explanations and persuasive arguments, and finally the matter comes to a close, usually with a gentle but firm message from the Prime Minister himself that in effect says, ‘Trust us; let’s move on.’

An expansion of this simple admonition could go something like this: ‘You have consistently re-elected us, thus acknowledging that we are a competent, responsible, trustworthy government. So even if we make unpopular decisions, it is only for the good of the society. And even if we cannot answer all your questions, it is only for reasons of national confidentiality and security. Therefore trust us, and we will continue to do our job well.’

In the Mas Selamat case, the government is precisely using this approach. But this time, it falls far short of the expectations of an increasingly articulate electorate, including, in the most surprising way, members of the PAP government itself, who seem to have suddenly become more alert, discerning and courageous, voicing reservations and asking questions in Parliament about government accountability that, in the past, could only have been expressed privately. Was the apology from the Minister of Home Affairs, followed by a detailed factual account of the escape, enough? Was the promise of corrective action to prevent such incidents in the future enough? Would not the findings of a Commission of Inquiry comprising members selected by the government itself raise more questions?

The voices raised in question and doubt, both in Parliament and the media, were expectedly measured and polite, in keeping with a tradition of deference to a powerful government that does not tolerate strident dissent. But politeness may soon give way to the persistence and boldness that come from conviction. The signs are that the voices, especially of the younger generation, will become a force to be reckoned with, because they are part of a whole new culture spawned by the Internet and globalization, with all that this implies of greater knowledgeability, awareness and sophistication.

Thus, a serious disconnect between the government and the people has arisen: while the government is still operating from the old perceptual paradigm carried over from a simpler, more innocent era, the people are developing a new one in keeping with the times. They are increasingly aware of new expectations and needs in their roles as citizens in a democratic society, and will no longer respond uncritically to the government’s usual exhortations of ‘Trust us’, ‘Also trust those we have picked to work for us,’ ‘Don’t forget what we have achieved,’ ‘Look at things in perspective’, ‘Let’s move on to more important, bread-and-butter matters,’ etc.

The Mas Selamat incident could cause the two paradigms to move so far apart as to make the disconnect permanent. Thus the incident may be seen as a watershed in the history of the government-people relationship, resulting either in a strengthening and maturing of the relationship on the one hand, or irreparable damage on the other.

Clearly, what the people expect, by way of an appropriate government response, is a large public gesture commensurate with the incident which in its magnitude has no precedent. That gesture will be no less than an offer of resignation from the Minister of Home Affairs himself. Whether the offer is accepted by the Prime Minister or the people is a separate matter. The personal integrity of the Minister is not in question. But in the conduct of the public life of a society, when something of this gravity happens, the symbolism is necessary. A symbolic act in public will have high visibility and emotive power, even in a pragmatic, down-to-earth society like Singapore, and can unite a people in times of trauma, giving a sense of something very like closure. Only then will Singaporeans regain their trust in the government and their belief in the honour, dignity and accountability of high office.

Note: Headline picture is not from Catherine Lim’s article.

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80 Responses to “The Mas Selamat Scandal: Its Impact on the Government-People Relationship”

  1. sevenleleven said

    Such is the expected. Their policies are so complex that even news workers and MP may not understand them. So what’s the use of explaining to the bunch of “idiots” who will just send them into parliament again

  2. patriot said

    I have an observation which I believe many would have noticed, and that is; the Citizenry is extremely disappointed with the uniquely disappointing Leadership in the Mas Selamat Escape Inquiry Reports. And the Escape itself.

    patriot.

  3. Daniel said

    Catherine Lim did not reiterate a important point. How do trust a secretive government that lack transparency, accountability and responsibility when they are business-man themselves running Singapore Inc with profitability (economic) that determine the pay of ministers and gahmen ? This is the worse in conflict of interest. As and when they behave like business-man and government are up to their discretion and liking.

    This is where the governance failed.

    Even worse, when these gahmen blatantly proclaim that they think like real business-man (no free lunch, economic growth, etc) and doing deal secretly using government power (Shincorpse, etc)

    Hope that Catherine Lim write about this.

  4. Whitley-Gate said

    Among us, we can probably get the feel of what sentiments are like in respect of this COI thing, WKS resignation etc.

    But I would be keen to know how do our kopitiams ah peks and market aunties feel about them too.

    Anyone can feed.

  5. Hi Whitley-Gate,

    A 57 year old Ah Pek from heartland kopitiam like me would say,
    “When you lose your money, you lose nothing;
    When you lose your health, you lose something;
    When you lose your integrity, you lose everything.”

    As far as I’m concerned, they have lost everything! Especially Respect and Moral Authority! Their expression of irritation and pomposity in answering questions (raised especially by opposition members) after having screwed up so badly is more unbelievable than the escape of Mas Selamat Kasturi itself.

    The way the man slapped the book on the table when answering Low Thia Kiang’s question on matching pay to accountability shows much of his character!

    Is it the job of ministers to answer valid question or are they paid to beat around the bush and ask MPs questions in return? Why can’t we just get straight answers like a spade is a spade?

    Like the GST, the Budget fiasco, the outvestments of GIC & Temasek and many other cock-ups, they will try their best to “siam” or avoid the issue and hope that we can accept it as an “honest mistake” and just “move on”.

    The shameful “Mas Selamat Scandal” be the straw that breaks the camel’s back! Baby-Boombers, X-Gen, Y-Gen, old or young, I think everyone feels that enough is enough! It’s about time that they learn to show respect for the intelligence or, at least, the commonsense of Singaporeans!

    The handling of Mas Selamat is another truth of MM’s prophesy of a “dose of bad government”! And yes, for our complacency, we truly deserve the taste of this nauseating medicine!

    The bad taste in the mouths lingers on . . .

    Time for another pay hike? 3rd increase? Or will it be done quietly this time?

    We can buy expensive actors, yes men and wayang with $,$$$,$$$ salary but INTEGRITY? That’s a different quality altogether!

    A quality that “siam” and “elak” or passing the buck won’t hold.

    feedmetothefish

  6. LimChuKangGRC said

    These are emotional times for us, Singapore.

    An escaped terrorist. A looming inflation. Conspiracies. Expensive ministers. Complacency. Dastardness. Helplessness.

  7. ErniesUrn said

    I’m just waiting for the icing on the cake when MM Lee decides what he thinks about this entire episode. Another lesson in the vocab currency? Say maybe …”Leadership”? I hope he’ll be courageous enough to gatecrash his son’s “party” and bring the “house” down. Party on!

  8. Alan Wong said

    To-date, we still do not know for sure whether Mas Selamat had really escaped from the detention centre.

    In my opinion, the Investigation report is really a farce. It has failed in its duty to remove any doubt about the Mas Selamat’s escape. Instead of providing answers, it raises more questions. The mysteries of the open window, sawn handle, running tap, toilet rolls, failed cameras, etc. are left hanging to everyone’s imagination.

    If the conspiracy theory regarding Mas’s extermination is true, then the whole Escape saga must be Singapore’s biggest political scandal. Remember Durai’s scandal would have remained a secret if he had not been exposed by a corporation with the right powerful connections. Can we say the same for this saga ?

    For one, I’m yet to be 100% convinced that Mas really escaped. Are you ?

  9. powerful corporations said

    SPH broke the story at NKF. Mas selamat will be a different kettle of fish. Read Chua Lee Hoong’s article today. She censured the netizens, something that even her ex-boss at MGA refused to do. With ex-ISA people seconded to Straits Times, what kind of earth shattering news can you expect from them? I think Today has a better chance. Let us netizens soldier on for Truth, Justice and remove this sense of hopelessness in singapore. I look at the cabinet ministers and I feel jaded, and with Chua Lee Hoong in our Straits Times – shit! She has forgotten Took Ling How, Richard Yong creeping past ICA – I hope she stands for election – looks like PAP material.

  10. ErniesUrn said

    If you have served in the army, and you have gone thru the Standardard Obsticle Course (S.O.C), and if you remember clearly of how your tried the scale the 2M wall; with respect to the area on the top of this 2M wall and with the panel space of the window that Mas slipped out; how is it physically possible for him to go thru it, turn his body around so that he lands on his legs?!? Would it be possible that in Mas’s scenario that it’s more likely for him to land on his head first?? Anyone??

  11. Fever Guy said

    With billions of dollars lost in careless investments such as UBS, CITI and ML and with rising inflations that has yet to be put under control. What has the gahment really do? Giving some vouchers and telling every sinkies they are going to get their growth dividends. What about rising fuel costs and basic food like rice? Fuel increases raises prices for almost everything. Even RICE is rising so rapidly. What can the gahment do? What are their policies? Growth dividend should not be touted as a solution by the gahment to rising inflation because it is surplus that the gahment collects from GST and Taxes. What did the gahment actually do to curb inflation and helping the needy sinkies? What additional measures have they done that are respectable? The middle class which forms the bulk are also having a hard time and little is done to help them.

    In short, it is the middle class that vote this Pappies in and now they should realise the damage they done to themselves. Hope it served as a reminder to them too about complacency.

  12. Logicalman said

    I’m just waiting for the icing on the cake when MM Lee decides what he thinks about this entire episode. Another lesson in the vocab currency? Say maybe …”Leadership”? I hope he’ll be courageous enough to gatecrash his son’s “party” and bring the “house” down. Party on!

    MM Lee will not say anything more. Neither will PM Lee or any “respectable” leader. For them, the issue is closed. They have moved on. The only time they will say something is when Mas Selamat is found – dead or alive.

    We all know that the escape is highly improbable; the supporting report and theory from COI is even worse (and to think they need highly educated professionals to take one month to come up with a report that will flunk at any primary school level).

    Someone mentioned “looming inflation”. Looming? It’s already here.

    While feedmetothefish may be a 57-year-old kopitiam apek, not many are internet-savvy or have time/energy to browse through alternative articles. Most people are so busy with work & family that the only time they get to read/hear anything is: TVMobile when they are on the bus, MyPaper/Today when they take the train, perhaps ST/ZB if they bother to subscribe, or TV News. Question: which of these channels provide critical, objective analysis of issues like this?

    I’m thankful for Catherine Lim’s critique over the years. She may not have taken up the challenge to join politics, but she hasn’t been cowed into silence when the need to speak up arises.

    I personally think that not all PAP ministers/MPs are like the few who rule rather than lead. There are still a handful with integrity, though more in the past. Regrettably, these are often not heard in public or relegated to pushing non-sensitive causes, and as for the young guns recently recruited, I think they are often too eager to please and to show the higher-ups that they are connected with the young and internet-savvy crowd. Forget about hip-hopping or Youth Olympics if our values are not even in line with the Olympics spirit. As can be seen from this saga, it’s win or nothing. Either they win the argument, or let’s close the case.

    As for Mas Selamat, I really pity him and his family. He’s human afterall, just like our ministers. Is he the terrorist that he’s alleged to be? Nobody knows for sure. All that has been aired are the Govt’s opinions. And having seen how the Govt handled this episode from the start till now, how much confidence can we have that what’s been said about Mas Selamat is nothing but the whole truth?

  13. ordinaryman said

    Whitley, i can answere you, ther are much more ppls. feel unhappy then you can expected, well, i actively hang-out n socialize in those place.(just sit at any hawker center, pay a little attention to what they say
    A note to TOC, if only you guys can print out in paper with chinese version(charge a very very very small token sum)…….. I ‘m very sure tis will be the hardest impact to the ‘CHENG-HU’……My 1/2 cent worth.

  14. ordinaryman said

    whitley, talk to any taxi driver in sg….u be surprise out of 100, i think 99.9 of them is unhappy…. Shop proprietor in heartland (they are more caution n afraid so every 100. i give about 70 will show unhappiness)… colleauge studen 100 only 35(for those who show unhappiness usually very vocal n agressive type)…..enough????..

  15. Logicalman said

    “With billions of dollars lost in careless investments…”

    Citigroup recently wrote off a huge amount of losses from capital raised late last year (http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1013355.shtml). How much of that was our money?

    Now, we’ve been told Temasek’s into oil and gas exploration. Those from this industry can attest to the high risks and capital investments involved. Yes, the returns may be high if we hit the right spots, but how will we know if we pump in more than we gain in this venture?

    Something is seriously wrong with the focus up there. The basic business of the Govt is the country and the people, not doing business. Yes, we must invest, we must be forward-looking, but has enough been done in reviewing what we do or choose to do, and the impact on people now and in the years to come? Or is the review process something like the COI or the security audit at Whitley in this case?

    I think the whole idea of leadership is grossly misunderstood by our Government. Leadership means leading people to somewhere. It doesn’t mean one-upmanship against thy neighbour. It certainly doesn’t mean topping charts and scoreboards everywhere. It may not even mean winning. A leader exists because of the followers and their needs. Did we tell the Govt “please top the charts everywhere”? Did we say “please amass wealth at all costs for the nation”? Did we say please grow the population to 6.5b? Did we say “We want casinos”? If the underlying assumption of the Govt is that we must win, that we must get ahead of others; if the Cabinet is made of scholars and straight A students whose only goal in life is to beat others to something, this is what we get, and it doesn’t necessarily translate into a happy nation, only happy “leaders”.

  16. Fever Guy said

    Logicalman,

    well said. We want a happy nation not happy rich leaders! We people did not ask so much from the gahment. They assume we do. Tell them to poll nationwide about our expectation. They have lost touch with the common folks. That’s really is a reality.

    FG

  17. Andrew Loh said

    I have a sense that the local media has been ordered to play up the non-answer of WP sec gen Low Thia Khiang to LHL’s question in Parliament.

    They desperately need a distraction, a bogeyman, to distract everyone from the real issue. If you read the papers, you see how often Low TK’s non-answer is being mentioned – in fact, it’s been mentioned everyday since it happened.

    It got splashed in the front page, no less, of the Straits Times the day after Parliament.

    And today’s (Saturday, April 26) TODAY paper has it on its front page as well.

    The propaganda wheels are in spin now – full throttle.

    It went up a notch today with Chua Lee Hoong’s piece in the ST, which, funnily, started with her saying:

    “Reading Internet postings often makes my blood boil.”

    Sad thing is, Chua Lee Hoong does not realise that reading the ST nowadays does excatly the same thing to Singaporeans.

    Really sad.

    They’re demonising the Internet – without mentioning that “the Internet” also comprises people/bloggers/politicians such as Catherine Lim, Siew Kum Hong and Cherian George – and even the PAP’s own P65 MPs and a minister (George Yeo).

    Talk about being stupid, eh?

  18. Logicalman said

    Dear ordinaryman,

    A free or even paid tabloid may not work that well. Firstly, hard to find advertisers who are willing to openly identify with alternative views on home issues, even if they do support them. Secondly, even with sponsorship, we will not be able to compete with Today or MyPaper in terms of frequency and distribution.

    Better leverage on the cost-effectiveness of the Internet and remain an online-only avenue, especially since Singapore has one of the highest internet & mobile phone penetration rates. To reach out more, apart from advertising through other sites and portals, put out mobile and multi-lingual editorials. For mobile access, publish to Avantgo for easier subscription by users. Of course, it’s important to ensure that the quality of language and content remain consistently high so as to attract the better educated voters out there.

    For supporters of this site and others like MrWang, Mr Brown, etc link to one another. Within 3 years, there should be substantially greater mindshare and penetration.

  19. Gary Teoh said

    I think most of the heartlanders are fed up of the government not because so much of mas selamat issue, but it is the rising cost of food, transportation, HDB pricing,recently kindergarten fees,(gehmen ask us to produce more, and increase kindergarten, fees, who can afford ??)CPF annuity issue,ERP at neughbourhood, health care cost,and yesterday, MOM minister said increase workers wages, would not help curb rising cost, so I ask the minister what can help curb the rising cost.If ministers can cut their salary by 30%, I say you are really the first world ministers,no 1.If not you are the blood suckers.Now it is a good time for oppositions WP, SDP, SPP ,NSP to make this an issue and every Sunday visit kopitiam, hawker ctr, make your presence felt, and work towards a better future for us by denying pap 2/3 majority the next GE.This is the time, don’t misss it.

  20. Logicalman said

    Feverguy,

    The Government is obsessed with their performance on the global stage, how they are seen in others’ eyes. Our expectations probably rank somewhere down there, if at all. Look at how much resources is wasted on this whole Mas Selamat saga, and we are not even convinced that there’s this guy who’s a wanted & highly dangerous terrorist who actually escaped and now threatens our security. Expectations? Irrelevant up there.

    Andrew,
    Low’s non-answer & PM’s challenge reminds me of kidstalk.

    Kid A: I think you should do this.
    Kid B: Why should I? Would you? I dare you do it.

    Sometimes, silence is golden. Many may have felt that Low lost a golden opportunity to push for some kind of a punishment for WKS, or that he chickened out. But by remaining silent, he’s wise. There’s so much to be said that it cannot possibly be answered with a Yes or a No, as evident from the postings on this and many other sites. In fact, by his silence, Low’s saying, “I rest my case”. What more can be said to a team who adamantly refused to do what’s honourable and right, and saw no need for any corrective actions other than to punish those unnamed people of little consequence? There’s a saying that goes like this, which I learnt from my primary school chum:

    “Do not argue with a fool. The onlooker doesn’t know the difference.”

    Of course, the national media will seize any opportunity to make the opposition look bad, but come on, who are they kidding?

  21. Logicalman said

    “PAP’s own P65 MPs”

    That’s like a school project from a bunch of kids eager for their teacher’s approval and A grading. For serious, objective views, read Siew Kum Hong.

  22. Logicalman said

    “CPF annuity issue”. Oh yes, they got away with that too, when news of Mas Selamat broke. Last heard, ST featured an uncle who’s a security guard, saying that the scheme is very easy to understand and is helpful. Strange, how come the majority of us still don’t get it? And before I even receive any booklet from CPF telling me more about this scheme, how they compute the premium and returns, what options and how to exercise them, and implications thereof, my wife received a tax assessment from IRAS before she even submitted her tax return, yes before 15 Apr 2008 Talk about efficiency. Might as well do away with e-filing, and transfer the Comptroller to Head of ISD.

  23. sgcynic said

    I posted the following comments at the P65 Blog in response to Dr Lam Pin Min’s article “Accountability, Responsibility & Culpability”. I am awaiting his reply.

    April 26th, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Dear Dr Lam,

    The above exchanges and those in parliament have selectively focused on the guards at WRDC not following SOPs and bad judgement by the superintendant of WRDC. Framing the context as such facilitates the argument that senior managment at the highest levels, such Wong Kan Seng and the ISD director, do not need to take responsibility for the lapses that occurred at the operational level.

    However the following lapses at the systemic and policy levels suggest that someone higher up must take the rap.

    1. Did complacency set in at a systemic level?
    When asked whether MHA conducted regular audits at the WRDC prior to the escape of Mas Selemat, Wong Kan Seng admitted that “the only thing ought to have been done better is a regular system check and audit”.

    2. Was there any bad judgement at the policy level?
    When asked on “the oversight role of the MHA vis-a-vis the ISD”, Lee Hsien Long only stated that the ISD “reports to MHA and is accountable to MHA for its performance”. He did not specify what MHA’s responsibility entails other than that “MHA monitors ISD by tracking whether Singapore stays safe”.
    This perceived unclear jurisdiction suggests why the police appeared inapt in the days following the escape by releasing (mis)information in drips and draps. Speculation arises over how such a confused state of affairs could occur. Were the ISD and MHA talking to each other?

    On a separate issue, the composition of the “independent” COI raises serious doubts over possible conflicts of interest. Dr Choong May Ling, Deputy Secretary for Security in the Ministry of Home Affairs, was appointed as one of the three-member COI to investigate and report on her minister, who retains the discretion to release the findings as he sees fit. Nevertheless, Wong Kan Seng argued that the COI comprises “persons who are not about to put their own considerable achievements and good reputations at risk” and that there are “no grounds to doubt the impartiality or independence” of the COI. Why can we not apply the same argument in the case of a judge who has to excuse himself/herself from presiding over a case so to avoid any doubts over possible lack of impartiality?

    Based on the perceived systemic and policy lapses above, public doubts over the wisdom of appointing Dr Choong would appear even more justified. Some less informed members of the public may even question whether Dr Choong was in some way responsible for these lapses.

  24. Daniel said

    The more government try to degrade the opposition party, the more people wake up from the make-believe world of PAP. And we know it always back-fire because people are far more educated and intelligent enough to seek the real truth themselves rather than rely on blind faith.

    Now, the government try to shift the focus of blame for Selamat’s escape entirely to the opposition party and insulting the intelligence of the party. This practice of distraction is old-trick and people are already tired of it.

    Yeap, but people in blogosphere not stupid. The government only make themselves look stupid and inept. What’s more, people around the world, Singaporean emigrated around the world are assessing this site everyday to know what happening.

  25. LimChuKangGRC said

    “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

    How ironical that the same words by WKS still are relevant in his own mistakes. If anything this is
    turning out to be a shakespearean tragedy. It makes me very angry that the ministers manipulate the public. Of course the public is so gullible as well. And the Straits Times cannot be bothered with public opinions. I say down with Straits Times!

  26. Logicalman said

    Sgcynic, well said. The keyword here is “selective”. Impartiality, on the other hands, requires a no-holds-barred approach. Take the case of NKF. If Durai was still in charge, and some lower-downs were appointed to do some audit, would anything good materialize? The Government will do well to learn from NKF what transparency, accountability and responsibility are all about.

  27. joker said

    A pub in Malacca provides bad service. Band sings like shit, like the worst ever person on American idol. Proprietor shrugs his shoulder. “What to do, it happened”, he says.

    Pub customers go somewhere else.

    A pub in Singapore provides bad service. Band sings like shit, like the worst ever person on American idol. Proprietors his shoulder. “What to do it happened”, he says.

    Customers keep going back to this pub because ALL other pubs are closed down when they try to open. Some pub owners are put under ISD, some are bankrupt on trumped up charges, all kinds of rules are invoked to close down competing pubs.

    Motto of the story — When you have one can’t sing all will have to suffer. Only one fami-lee can open pub. Singaporeans pay and pay to use only one pub where the services is useless.

    After a few years — Malacca has a thriving entertainment and night-life sector.

  28. Fever Guy said

    What u guys think of the punishment given out to those reponsible ?

    If the guards are to be punished and also the junior officers must take the rap, then i believe their so called pension or gratituity must also be withdrawn from them. Punishment must be of the highest standard for a uniform organisation and anything less is not befitting it.

    Are the top management of MHA have enough guts to do that? My guess is they are gutless coz doing that may spill more beans from these people. So the punishment is very light i suppose e.g. more extra duties, rank demotion or maybe more painful no bonus for the year. Will it be more?

    MHA has to prove itself by being more transparent of the punishment that is going to be given out and anything less is very damaging to already fragile reputation.

  29. Logicalman said

    It will be interesting to hear from the guards and officers themselves. I am sure they are mature adults and can speak for themselves, not kids that need a guardian to explain what happened.

    Regardless, as many have pointed out, the issue is not about the incompetence of the guards or failure in operations at Whitley. It’s about systemic and structural failure that is the responsibility of the overseeing body and ministry. It is at this level that the minister and director of ISD have fallen short.

    And after burning millions of taxpayers’ money and in the process hurting the businesses and livelihoods of our cross-border traders during the ensuing causeway jam, we are still none the wiser about Mas Selamat. Is he the terrorist he’s alleged to be? Are there verifiable evidence that will stand the scrutiny of an international judiciary? Did he really escape? Why is there no one speaking from Mas Selamat’s side? Even if his family is sure he’s a terrorist and is ashamed of him, they should come forward to say something.

    Compare with the issue involve ST correspondent Ching Cheong, accused of spying by China. Ample coverage was given, and we heard from his wife, family, boss and all. For a man accused of terrorism, Mas Selamat was dirt until this saga erupted. Still, nothing was heard from this man and his version of things.

    By the way, SPH said this in defence of Ching: “Until we see incontrovertible evidence, we stand by our belief that he has always acted in the best interests of The Straits Times” (ref: http://www.forbes.com/finance/feeds/afx/2005/05/31/afx2064468.html)

    We need to see incontrovertible evidence about Mas Selamat, and of course, that there is no systemic and institutional failure beyond the responsibility of the minister and director of ISD.

  30. Andrew Loh said

    It’s funny, reading the Straits Times:

    In yesterday’s piece titled “Ministerial responsibility: The UK example” (April 25) by senior ST writer Chua Mui Hoong, she said:

    “SINGAPOREANS this week are seized over the issue of ministerial responsibility when things go wrong on their watch.”

    In today’s article titled, “That escape: Crucial issues aplenty, so let’s move on” by Chua Mui Hoong’s sister, Chua Lee Hoong, the second Chua said:

    “I concur fully with unionist G. Muthu Kumar, who said there are far more important concerns for workers, like rising food costs. ‘People don’t bother about this Mas Selamat… they’ve got no time to think about this.'”

    Well, I sometimes do wish the ST would make up its mind what it is that they want to say.

    Are Singaporeans “seized over the issue of ministerial responsibility” or “they’ve got no time to think about this”?

    This is what you get when you try too hard to dance to the tune of your pay masters.

  31. tunkudon said

    i really hope tat more pp will get to know how the gahment work . really sick of them.hope the opp will like malaysia win big !!! god bliss .

  32. Daniel said

    shameless Chua Lee Hoong,
    “I concur fully with unionist G. Muthu Kumar, who said there are far more important concerns for workers, like rising food costs. ‘People don’t bother about this Mas Selamat… they’ve got no time to think about this.’””

    Are you kidding Singaporean ? Why didn’t I see you saying that in election where PAP spend almost all election period grilling James Gomez for what this consider a trival mistake rather than focus on bread and butter of country’s issue ? His’s mistake is nothing compared to PAP, just like a ant to a elephant.

    Are you saying that Selamat is a trival issue ? It is serious because the integrity, credibility, moral authority of the whole government is at stake. If they can’t even take responsibility, why do you think these coffers will take responsibility for the country ?

  33. Weijia said

    I posted the following on the p65 forums under MP Lim pin min’s article at around 2am, 26th April. It has yet to be published. Is he sleeping too?


    Hahaha I think it’s very sad. The ST and the government can continue to think that the noise is made by a few bloggers and kopitiam crowd but look at the response here. Is this disconnect?

    1. Dear MP Lam. I get the feeling that PAP looks down on opposition MPs from they way they answer their questions. I would like to point out that the opposition have every right to be in the parliament, having been voted in repeatedly. No walkovers or GRCs for them! If they are that incapable, why isn’t PAP able to win back the constituencies? ST consistently portrays the opposition in a bad light and I fear the PAP MPs have been brainwashed into thinking that of the opposition too. But my honest advice is to treat them as equals. They are not out to “tekan” the government. I would like to see the day PAP answers an opposition MP’s question without beating around the bush. Just look at WKS’s answer to LTK. It’s a simple yes/no question, but look at the answer. If WKS had said “he is still alive”, rumours would have been dispelled. However, he chose not to answer it. The people are thinking why he don’t dare to say? I believe the opposition have the best interest of the country at heart.

    2. Even if I agree with you that WKS should not resign because of the escape, but have you thought about the follow up to the escape? Touch your conscience. Do you think it was a good follow up? 4 hrs to release the news. Description comes out in bits and pieces. and then we find out it was wrong??? You’ve locked him up for so long, you don’t even know about his limp? You don’t even know what he was last wearing? Now you tell us he left his pants behind. alamak.. seriously lah. Took more than a day to tell us his height and the mole. Do you think WKS should take responsibility for this?

    3. I read that MPs were sleeping during Monday’s sitting. COI report! Of the great escape!!! sleeping??!! Can you confirm this please? It’s really a simple yes/no question; I hope you can tell me. Please don’t ask me whether I believe what I’ve read or not, like what WKS did to LTK. Or perhaps you could not see the rest of the MPs from your seat? Or you failed to notice? Perhaps you can ask your fellow MPs, I’m sure together you can find out whether there were MPs sleeping during the sitting.

  34. ordinaryman said

    To Logicalman, do not underestimate those chinese educated or less edu.elder singaporean.U be surprise they do share the same sentiment tat mention here…just that both are of different world, not connected……..
    food for thought,do visit this so-call low level place, find out yourself…. i can easily name a few place if u need to know…..

  35. Logicalman said

    Thanks, Ordinaryman. I agree with you, That’s why I suggested multi-lingual content. I agree that there will be others who have no access to online materials, but for TOC or others to attempt to have a print edition will be suicidal.

    Firstly, the capital and ongoing operational outlay will be high, given that ads will be hard to come by, and we all know why. I don’t know what resources TOC has, but even if it has a large amount of resources to spare, it can be better used to grow the online influence, especially to non-English speaking/reading electorate.

    Secondly, even if we have a print edition, it has to be as visible as the SPH news publications, which are pushed out daily in at least 5 different formats/channels. Are there enough content to justify daily publishing? If you read ST for example, some days news are really recycled content repackaged in a new way, or some really inconsequential headlines. We don’t want TOC to look like that, do we?

    TOC is both a forum and a portal for alternative analyses. Good to stay that way, but draw more its site. For instance, closer to next GE, resources can be channeled to buy ads or even do an SMS campaign. Frankly, I have seen Ah Peks and Aunties SMSing like college students. A mobile-friendly TOC will be ideal for reaching out to the mobile electorate. Conversely, ad space may be sold to leading Opposition parties to generate revenue, and content can be syndicated both ways.

  36. Logicalman said

    Of course, if by the time the next GE is just round the corner, and the Govt bans SMS campaigning, we will know why. If anything, the time to go mobile and multi-lingual is now, not closer to the next GE. And someone said the Opposition should capitalise on this and go talk to coffeeshop uncles and aunties on weekends. I say, hold the horses. No need to stir up further unhappiness now, since the ground already seems to smell something fishy.

    Let’s be objective. See how the Govt will move from here to tackle the “more important” bread and butter issues as the ST correspondent said. See how they propose to tackle rising cost of living by not proposing wage increase or removing GST for basic goods and services. I suspect the Govt will focus next on Olympics, YOG and F1 which doesn’t concern the man in the street, unless one “kenna langga” by an F1 participant. We should keep pressing for solution to rising cost of living, the bread and butter issues that they are throwing up as a smokescreen.

  37. 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.

  38. Dear Logicalman,

    Thanks for your vote of confidence.. 🙂 But TOC is not a vehicle to champion any political cause. We are just a bunch of bloggers who’re concerned about issues facing our nation. TOC is just a blog, like many others – except that Singaporeans are using it to voice their opinion on issues.

    And indeed, we welcome that.. 🙂

    As for Chinese articles, yes we are hoping to be able to do that. If you know of anyone who can write in Chinese or who can do translation of our English articles into Chinese (on a volunteer basis), please do let us know.

    (You can reach us at theonlinecitizen@gmail.com )

    Regards,
    Andrew Loh

  39. New Beginning said

    http://thestar.com.my/columnists/story.asp?file=/2008/4/26/columnists/insightdownsouth/21061581&sec=insightdownsouth

    A good article from across the causeway. If this goes on further, then the repercussions will be felt in GE 2011. For me, I had enough with PAP.

  40. Fake Responsibility said

    Read this. WKS is not only incompetent for MSK’s escape.

    “Why Wong Kan Seng is incompetent – and not just for the JI escape.”

  41. Fake Responsibility said

    One thing:

    If ministers are not responsible for what their subordinates do or don’t do, then does that mean that if and when Mas Selamat is caught, Wong Kan Seng will also not claim credit for it – unless he himself personally capture Mas Selamat?

    You cannot say that when he escaped, it’s not my fault.

    But when he is caught, it is my credit!

    I dunno leh. This type of “responsibility” means one thing only lor: Heads I win. Tail I also win. Liddat I oso want to be minister.

    Millions dollar salary. ZERO accountability. Something go wrong, it’s my subordinate’s fault. Something go right, it is because of my leadership!

    PAP has lost my respect.

  42. sgcynic said

    I followed up with the post at the P65 Blog (for details, see post 23 above).

    April 26th, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Dear Dr Lam,

    My request for your views (posted on April 26th, 2008 at 11:35 am) has been published without any reply from you. It reminds me of something similar that I read in this morning’s Today: when the crucial time came to correct possible public misconceptions and restore public trust, you seemed to have chosen to respond but with pin-drop silence to hard-hitting questions.
    My view? “No answer. So I think that settles the point.”

  43. blackshirt said

    The Government (or the Party?) propaganda machinery is really working in full speed. Be it in the print, broadcast or online media. Now, they have also invaded into the home of every Singaporean. I just received this print flyer in the mailbox. I wondered why this information has to be sent out at this point in time.

    The content is as follows for your reference:

    On the First Page:
    BENEFITS FOR ALL SINGAPOREANS IN 2008
    The Government will share over $3 billion with Singaporeans in 2008. Most households will receive benefits that are higher than the increase in costs of living. [Emphasis is mine]

    There are a cartoon showing slices of cakes and they have words written as such.

    Workfare Income Supplement: $300 million
    GST Credits and Senior Citizens’ Bonus: $560 million
    U-Save, S&CC and Rental Rebates: $200 million
    Property Tax Rebates: $100 million
    Medisave: $226 million
    Income Tax Rebates: $380 million
    Growth Dividends: $865 million
    Post-secondary Education Accounts: $500 million

    On the second page, it has a table titled “Growth Dividends” and another table called “2008 GST Credits and Senior Citizens’ Bonus”.

    On the third page, it has detailed tables and write-ups on the following:
    – Post-Secondary Education Accounts Top-Ups
    – Workfare Income Supplement
    – Medisave Top-Ups
    – Utilities-Save, Service and Conservancy Charges and Rental Rebates
    – Property Tax Rebate
    – Income Tax Rebates

    For the last page, it has two large tables showing two examples of benefit calculations. The page is titled as “Examples of what Singaporean households will receive in 2008”.

    Example 1
    Low-income Family Living in a 3-room HDB flat: Receives $4,900

    Example 2
    Family of 5 Living in 5-room HDB Flat: Receives $4,800

    All in this information is in English. Funny thing is that they are NOT using the strange term used by MOM – “residents” this time round.

    Are they trying to remind Singaporeans of their “rewards” from the Government? And as such, are they using this kind of information to shift attention from their lack of responsibility in their handling of the recent issues and events. Guess that we will receive more junk in our mailboxes soon. What a waste of paper.

  44. Blackshirt,

    Sze Hian will have an article about the leaflet this coming Monday.

    Watch for it.. 🙂

  45. sgcynic said

    With reference to my earlier posting (no. 41), Dr Lam has posted his reply and I have also written in in response:

    Lam Pin Min Says:

    April 26th, 2008 at 11:14 pm
    This particular entry has attracted many comments from netizens. Since its posting 3 days ago, I had received a total of 73 responses, making it the most commented posting in this P65 blogsite.

    First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone for contributing to the discussion so far, as well as spending your precious time to read and pen your thoughts. To me, this is a positive sign, indicating that Singaporeans are not apathetic to the issues affecting the country.

    My writing of this posting is personal, without any instigation, collusion or complicity from anyone. Having sat through the briefings and parliamentary sittings, I thought it would be appropriate to share my own thoughts and assessment of this incident. Some bloggers have commented that there will not be anything new coming from a PAP MP and that we are just “yes” men, echoing what the bosses have already said.

    Well, to put things in perspective, I was equally concerned and skeptical about the escape of M.S. How could anyone escape from custody just like that in Singapore? We see that only in the movies, but in Singapore? Highly implausible. Could there be any connivance, collusion or assistance rendered to M.S to facilitate the break out?

    However, with the information furnished, I was able to make my own judgment, which in this case, happened to concur with the recommendations and conclusions from the COI. I supposed I had the privilege of following the findings closely and to be able to piece all the puzzles together, thereby allowing me to make my own conclusion.

    From the many comments received, I observed that very often, people tend to jump to conclusion based on scanty information and / or misinformation. Strangely enough, many of the queries raised have already been discussed at length and reported in the papers. There are credible explanations for some of these perceived irregularities.

    On the issue of accountability and culpability (and also to answer to Sgcynic’s, Jimmy’s and Peter’s queries), the COI found that no systemic failure led to the escape of Mas Selamat. The COI’s assessment is that the custodial protocols and procedures over handling of detainees were generally sound. Rather, it was the operational lapses of individual officers that led to his escape. To me, this observation is fundamental and critical in deciding the extent of culpability within the organisation.

    Many bloggers (such as Sgcynic, Justspeaking and Ronin), have also queried the impartiality of the COI in this particular case. One must understand the sensitivity of the installation and organisation in question, which in this instance are the WRDC and ISD. For those of us who had done national service, we all know that certain information and operations can be highly sensitive in the SAF, with considerable implications on national security. The functions of the ISD and the WRDC fall under this “highly sensitive” category too. It is therefore not unreasonable to appoint members with high integrity and sterling credentials to form the COI so that thorough investigations can be conducted without fear of compromising and safeguarding sensitive information.

    It is imperative for all of us to view the circumstance leading to the escape of M.S in perspective before making surly remarks and jumping into conclusion. Please do not think that I am being defensive and not receptive to criticism and comments. I just felt that it is my duty and obligation to help clarify any doubts and misinformation. I do not think it is proper to allow the promulgation of erroneous information which can lead to unwarranted divide in the bloggosphere.

    Having said that, I really appreciate all the feedback from netizens. Please feel free to contribute constructively and discuss on any issues. I will try to address them to the best of my ability. Cheers.

    My posting:

    April 27th, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Dear Dr Lam,

    Thank you for your effort in posting a reply.

    Your underlying argument is that “the COI found that no systemic failure led to the escape of Mas Selamat. The COI’s assessment is that the custodial protocols and procedures over handling of detainees were generally sound. Rather, it was the operational lapses of individual officers that led to his escape. To [you], this observation is fundamental and critical in deciding the extent of culpability within the organisation.”

    To me, it was most unfortunate that the whole process of commissioning the COI left room for the impartiality of the COI to be questioned. This, I feel, is fundamental and critical in determining whether the COI’s findings have the full trust and confidence of the public. I would also like to point out that the term “generally” implies “not all instances” in civil service nuancing.

    I have not heard your views on the perceived confusion of the police following Mas Selamat’s escape. This, I believe, was not
    under the purview of the COI. Wong Kan Seng’s reply in parliament goes: “I think that is something that is beyond me. The officers concerned must have had a lot of confusing information at the time. And in this whole process they did not have the accurate information.” Do you buy such an explanation? Should Wong Kan Seng and the police superintendent
    be satisfied with such an excuse or should they investigate the matter fully? Otherwise, the public would be justifiably concerned about possible police confusion should a terrorist attack take place.

  46. CelluloidReality said

    Talk about irony.

    Where is the Party that steadfastly refused to play the welfarism card?

    Boo hoo.

  47. tiredman said

    It’s my personal view. Those “political link” blog, like the YPAP blog are more like a punch bag for all Singaporeans.

    Initially, which is a year back, I believe YPAP blog should be a good blog to express views through an informal channel, however, I was wrong. I felt that what I have written is being dismissed on the spot. They are all out to support their “own kind” and what they reply most probably found in the papers. As for P65, I went in, glance through and give a click on X on my right.

    I believe all bloggers and readers, like me, are all out to look for a neutral view; what most Singaporean think and believe. So, I do surge Singaporeans to choose their material and invest their time on the right blog. Only when the blogging community has become a sizeable one, I believe they will be the one scrambling through the blogs.

    PS. Hehe, it will be good to provide links so we can comment what they have written on a second party blog.

  48. vigilant said

    i think one fine day, some big screw up with your cpf money will happen, and they will just say:

    “LET’S MOVE ON”

    now, this terrorist will come back with a vengence, the economy will be affected then, and the answer you will EVER likely get is:

    “LET’S MOVE ON” HAHAHAHA

  49. Gary Teoh said

    I wrote an article about having 20 oppositions in parliament in Lam ‘s blog (PAP).One writer straight away asked me stop talking abt oppositions as they are a bunch of rubbish, and not credible . Why when we are talking abt oppositions,the pap straight away say they are not credible ?? This shows that they are really arrogant,if Low TK said to PM Lee, yes u should sack wong kan seng, would the PM listen to Low ?? Given their arrogance, and big head, why should Low answer to him, if the responce is negative.

  50. Daniel said

    There is something wrong with government when they view opposition party as nothing but trouble-maker. The role of opposition party is to question the government policy and ensure that there is check and balance in the government. May I ask who is the real trouble-maker ? Who create the trouble of Selamat’s escape ? Ironically, one thing that I that I discover is that whatever thing say against the opposition party is the exact thing that happened to the ruling party. The ruling party are just describing themselves and I find it amusing because those heinous remarks fit them perfectly more than opposition party.

    PAP is putting a great defensive battle everyday, and the approach they use is to degrade everyone except themselves.

  51. Robert HO said

    RH: My contribution to TOC today and its Discussion & Comment section is this ROBERT HO’s THEORY OF EVERYTHING :–

    RH:

    “LANGUAGE
    IS THE COLLECTIVE WISDOM OF A PEOPLE.
    THIS IS WHY LIT & LANG TYPES
    ARE MORE INTELLIGENT
    THAN MATH & SCIENCE TYPES.
    IT IS WHY BLOGGERS ARE SMARTER
    THAN MINISTERS.
    AND WHY THEY CENSOR AND FEAR
    THE WORD AND THE IMAGE.
    IT EXPLAINS ALMOST EVERYTHING
    THAT IS WRONG IN SINGAPORE
    AND HOW TO PUT IT RIGHT.”

  52. Singaporean said

    Gary Teoh

    “I wrote an article about having 20 oppositions in parliament in Lam ’s blog (PAP).One writer straight away asked me stop talking abt oppositions as they are a bunch of rubbish, and not credible . Why when we are talking abt oppositions,the pap straight away say they are not credible ??”

    Nothing wrong with this. This is politics and it it about political survival and interest. It is about protecting one’s position as much and as long as possible and so that your supporters will never have a single doubt about your own credibility or the (lack of) credibility of the opposition parties. Alternatively, it is also to prolong whatever doubts that people may still have on the opposition parties.

    It is a natural human tendency to protect the interest of oneself and those close to oneself (e.g family members, relatives and close friends or kaki). In a lot of countries, that is the very reason why there are elections and in certain cases fixed tenure especially in very senior presidential positions so that benefits / previleged interests get circulated among different people as much as possible. It is also a deliberate system to ensure creation of future talented replacement to take over. This system itself is good but the devil is always in the actual application.

    That is why people of each country must be politically aware and openess / freedom of speech creates this awareness as it gets discussed.

    The above is not my speculation. It is already in the internet domain if you care to look around.

  53. LimChuKangGRC said

    The truth is the citizens of Singapore hardly have a voice in Parliament (it’s our fault!). After all how many of you guys actually voted for the MPs, most PAP candidates are there because of walkovers or the flawed GRC system. As a result policies and bills are made and implemented without any resistance. There are some “wayang resistance” from the PAP in certain controversial topics like casino or salary increment of ministers. My point is if this is parliamentary democracy then I don’t want it.

    Coming to the MSK escape, what we the public of Singapore need is closure. By giving us a fantastic story or justifying the presence of a MHA member in the COI will just mean more frustration and skepticism. Now we’ve seen a serious disconnect between the PAP government and the public.

    As a member of the public all I know is that a terrorist escaped because of lapses in the system overseen by Wong Kan Seng. We didn’t see any arrests or removal from office. We didn’t hear any heartfelt apology. We just saw some fantastic evasions by MSK, WKS & LHL.

    In the end the implications are great for PAP, they have to be prepared to lose seats at the next GE.

  54. Dreamer's Nightmare said

    Many people like to imagine that the PAP will lose seats in the next GE, and I am one of those dreamers too.

    However, the reality is that when the next GE comes along, these same people will expediently vote for the PAP albeit reluctantly. That has been a fact of life in Singapore for the last 30-40 years and that will continue to be because the Giant Tree has got its roots everywhere. It cannot die of starvation or heat deprivation.

    Let us all wake up from the dream and start to face the real nightmare while still sleeping.

  55. LimChuKangGRC said

    Dreamer’s Nightmare,

    I agree with you, people will still vote for PAP because of the climate of fear, however there are some changes over the years that I’ve noticed.

    -The increasingly vocal citizens.
    -More educated and discerning electorate
    -The internet(bloggers)

    In fact I credit the bloggers for the 66.6% mandate in 2006. PAP will not be voted out entirely but they will lose seats if things continue this way.

  56. Expected Analysis said

    A Dedicated Response To Chua Lee Hoon Of ST

    “Reading Internet postings often makes my blood boil.”

    What a shame! As a journalist, your mind should be as wide as an ocean to accommodate differing views. If you are touting that others should listen to people like you only, it’s time for you to move out rather than move on.

    “Too many netizens obviously have not read the full account ………………….etc, etc.”

    We believe you have not read enough of what the citizens said and meant or rather, you prefer not to reflect on their views accordingly.

    “How many of those called for the resignation of Teo Chee Hean…………….etc.”

    Well, this is proof that time, trend and sentiment are vastly different now. The citizens have awakened from their slumber, vowing not to be complacent anymore.

    “If a fire…..If a teacher……..etc?

    These are rather incoherent examples compared to the escape. You are way off the track.

    “Common sense……….or there will no ministers left in no time.”

    Are we expected to accept mistakes, blunders, etc, without any fair accountability and responsibility? The last thing we worry about is losing the liable minister. In fact, if there are more of them of such nature, we have to ensure that the problem is rooted out.

    “But the Mas Selamat case? What loss has there been, except that of face – mostly?”

    A real pity that you were not given a chance to voice this in parliament. All the work, reporting, searches, inconveniences, parliament time, lost productive time, etc, would have been expedited for something you believed is not worth the trouble. The DPM and the PM should have taken your advice to simply brush off this case as a little lost of face matter. Therefore, the COI and Ministerial Statement combined is a waste of time and taxpayers’ money.

    “If you talk to businessmen………………no impact on their business decisions.”

    As long as business is as usual, we do believe this escape will have no impact on business sentiments.

    “After such a signature event……..there has been unprecedented transparency……..”

    You are not following the Internet news nor the citizens’ discussion. More likely, you choose to dismiss them. If after reading the report and you have no doubts about it, that’s your opinion. To us, the report presented more questions than before. In fact, the whole saga has become a mystery.

    “Yes, there were confusing moments……………………………….”

    Well, no thanks for reminding us of this factual blunder. It adds credence to the mystery, no doubt.

    “Compare Singapore’s handling………………with America’s equivalent.”

    We are responsible for our own and our country’s matter. Therefore, there is no logic in drawing a comparison here unless we believe we are a part of America. Or are you advocating that we should adopt the same as what happened there? Perhaps, you should follow up with your mouthful to Bush. We’ll encourage you to take this initiative.

    “If people want transparency……………………..”

    Interestingly, you choose not to address the issue of the COI members, which is one of the biggest issues. All we need is an independent COI team to do the necessary.

    “As far as heads to roll……………the government made a tactical mistake……………..”

    A tactical mistake is your judgement. We fully agree with the DPM that disciplinary action can only be exercised after the due process. Therefore, we strongly feel that your judgment here is flawed. If your judgment is largely accepted, then it proves that the PM and the DPM have been less than competent.

    “Word has it ………who has been disciplined and how………………….”

    We already knew the safe position of the PM and the DPM plus the director of ISD. We can envisage what will happen to the others. Gurkha guards will be sent home, ISD woman officer dismissed and the superintendent demoted and/or posted out. Until we have the concrete evidence and independent findings, we reserve our rights to cast doubts on this sordid affairs. At the same time, we maintain our calls for transparency and accountability of the DPM in order to justify the disciplinary process.

    “Meanwhile, there are many other things………they’ve got no time to think about this.”

    We wonder why you would expense so much time and energy to come up with this insight then. Thinking aloud, we feel that you’re trying too hard to impress the PM and the DPM, to the point of being incoherent in certain arguments and examples cited in your article.

    Singaporeans are bothered about rising costs as well as government accountability. Looking in perspective, they are closely linked.

    “Lets move on……..”

    We have. But that doesn’t mean this case has been rested. We just cannot be complacent anymore. We are accountable to ourselves as well.

    Finally, allow us to issue this advisory for your attention. Change your mindset to be a real independent journalist. Present arguments and facts for readers’ consideration. Don’t ever attempt to infect your uninvited biased report in readers’ memory. The firewall is operating 24/7 and updated constantly. Most of all, you will lose your credibility and integrity.

    Please read Grace Ng’s report on Temasek and GIC’s investment in Sunday Times, 27-4-08, on Page 28. This is what can be termed a balanced report expected of a non-partisan journalist.

  57. Daniel said

    Expected Analysis,
    “Compare Singapore’s handling………………with America’s equivalent.”

    To help you with the analysis,
    do take a look at the conspiracy theory of 911,
    and I suggest people take a true look of the documentary which convince me that 911 is a conspiracy because of strong evidence from expert and witness alike. In this video, we can see shot that never expose in any mainstream media.
    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_ca00XMjM3MTU3OTI=.html

    In it not so much of conspiracy of 911, in fact I am impress at the level to which US government release information despite knowing that they subject to scrutiny (which though informtation not fully, but still admirable). On the ground, people is interviewed and even withness of Pentagon make truthful comment. Confidential information is released and people critically analyze those evidence.

    And Chua to compare Singapore with America is arrogant and ignorance. Singapore reign with incompetency through coverup, honest mistake and propaganda. Until the government here reach the level of maturity and freedom of information similar to America, they should not even compare themselves with the latter.

  58. gyeo said

    I’ve never been one to bay for blood, but I’m glad that Catherine Lim wrote the article. Thanks for posting.

    I think the whole incident as a whole felt strangely calm in reaction on the government’s part. I wholly agree that the lack of closure has been overlooked and highlights the government’s perceived coolness and distance from the public. I asked myself why the whole episode has felt so detached when viewed from the official point of view? Logic has prevailed over a complacent slip up, but human sentiment has not been completely appeased. That’s something the PAP will have to work on.

    Although I have no doubt they are actually trying to rectify the situation – in a very strange way, their reaction feels slightly blase – again it’s the perception. Something fell short somewhere.

    All I can say is: to quote an expat – “If people could give up the notion of Singapore as a democracy, but (look at it) as a corporation with a CEO, things would make more sense.” I tend to lean towards that.

    The lack of dialogue could handicap Singaporeans in the long term. It’s feeling tremendously unprogressive.

  59. Daniel said

    “All I can say is: to quote an expat – “If people could give up the notion of Singapore as a democracy, but (look at it) as a corporation with a CEO, things would make more sense.” I tend to lean towards that.”

    It is exactly people look at at it as Singapore Corporation, that it makes more sense that the CEO (Deputy PM/PM) has to resign just like in private world. This is not a trival mistake. It is a grevious mistake that affect the whole Singapore. This is tatamount to a CEO breaching his duty of trust that jeopardise his company’s reputation and competitiveness. As and when whether he will boot out of the corporation depend on the Shareholder. But he is still accountable and responsible for it overall for the mess.

    It is unfair that we as citizen look at at corporation point of view, whereas the government look at governance side of view where they at same time subject themselves to business corporatization and pegged themselves to private pay and practice. The package of responsibility and accountability of thing will go haywire all goes along with it. We have been shouldering the burden of their honest mistake and instead been rebute by the coffers otherwise. They can’t get the benefit of business-man in reward with profit and absolved from responsibility as ruling government at same time. There is no such thing in the world that a first world country can do that.

    There is no such thing as burden in government goes unaccounted for , as it encourage crude mentality and complacency knowing that that there is systematic and structural system in place to protect them. Even more so without the check and balance of independent third-party. By the way, do your company perform internal audit only ? I guess not, it should come with both internal and external audit.

    If you think that this is politics then the system need reform. Simple as that.

  60. complacent one said

    I found this nice paragraph from wwww.ThinkCenter.org

    It was an article about the pay hike of ministers last year.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    Letters from readers published in the mainstream press have expressed more measured skepticism. “By saying that we need to pay top dollar for top talent we are saying that certain people are indispensable. This may breed complacency,” wrote Dr Anne Chong Su Yan on April 3 in the government-linked Straits Times.

    <<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    Full article: http://www.thinkcentre.org/article.cfm?ArticleID=2844

  61. Expected Analysis said

    Daniel Says

    Thanks. Have seen another video of this conspiracy before. From the captured footage, it showed a very consistent chain of explosion leading to the collapse of the building. I don’t think these videos were released by the US govt. Rather they were the works of other parties.

    Back to Mas’ purported escape. I have a nagging feeling that no escape took place. It was a conspiracy with 2 possibilities.

    1. Mas died while in detention. WKS mentioned that he was uncooperative.

    2. Mas was secretly taken away in exchange for somebody important, whose life was in danger. I keep wondering why LHL was MIA during the 11 days period before he appeared and spoke after MM. Could it be a hostage crisis where JI held the bargaining power in this case?

    Until the truth is known, we can engage in any speculation.

  62. Logicalman said

    Sgcynic,
    thanks for posting Dr Lam’s response. I can only conclude that the Govt and people arrive at different conclusions on various aspects of the Mas Selamat saga because of the following, quoted from Dr Lam’s reply:

    “However, with the information furnished, I was able to make my own judgment, which in this case, happened to concur with the recommendations and conclusions from the COI. I supposed I had the privilege of following the findings closely and to be able to piece all the puzzles together, thereby allowing me to make my own conclusion.

    From the many comments received, I observed that very often, people tend to jump to conclusion based on scanty information and / or misinformation. Strangely enough, many of the queries raised have already been discussed at length and reported in the papers. There are credible explanations for some of these perceived irregularities.”

    1. with the information furnished

    Does this refer to information gleaned from parliamentary seatings and briefings, not reported to the public? If so, it explains why our conclusions differ. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine the Govt and the public seeing two contrasting pictures altogether.

    2. piece all the puzzles together

    So the Govt acknowledged that it’s one big puzzle. If it’s puzzling to such an extent that it takes a highly-educated MP to sit through and follow closely all parliamentary sessions and briefings, so that he can arrive at the right conclusions, couldn’t a better job have been done to help the man in the street piece the puzzles together, so that the public, as well as the Govt, see the same picture? Afterall, the public has been, and is still mobilized to look out for Mas Selamat. Wouldn’t it serve the Govt well that the public shares her understanding?

    3. based on scanty information and / or misinformation

    Again, the Govt acknowledged that there’s been scant information and misinformation. If so, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on communicating the necessary information to help the misinformed public arrive at the correct conclusion?

    4. credible explanations for some of these perceived irregularities

    Perhaps, if the Govt can be so helpful as to compile a paper listing references to these “credible explanations” to the perceived irregularities, so that the public and the Govt will again see the same picture.

    If, after all these additional measures have been taken and we still see contrasting pictures, I can only conclude that the Govt and the media needs to re-examine themselves in something as basic as communicating the right message. Communication, to most people, is about bridging the divide and bringing both sides to a common understanding, isn’t it?

  63. Logicalman said

    Sgcynic,
    thanks for posting Dr Lam’s response. I can only conclude that the Govt and people arrive at different conclusions on various aspects of the Mas Selamat saga because of the following, quoted from Dr Lam’s reply (highlights are mine):

    “However, with the information furnished, I was able to make my own judgment, which in this case, happened to concur with the recommendations and conclusions from the COI. I supposed I had the privilege of following the findings closely and to be able to piece all the puzzles together, thereby allowing me to make my own conclusion.

    From the many comments received, I observed that very often, people tend to jump to conclusion based on scanty information and / or misinformation. Strangely enough, many of the queries raised have already been discussed at length and reported in the papers. There are credible explanations for some of these perceived irregularities.”

    1. with the information furnished

    Does this refer to information gleaned from parliamentary seatings and briefings, not reported to the public? If so, it explains why our conclusions differ. Otherwise, it’s hard to imagine the Govt and the public seeing two contrasting pictures altogether.

    2. piece all the puzzles together

    So the Govt acknowledged that it’s one big puzzle. If it’s puzzling to such an extent that it takes a highly-educated MP to sit through and follow closely all parliamentary sessions and briefings, so that he can arrive at the right conclusions, couldn’t a better job have been done to help the man in the street piece the puzzles together, so that the public, as well as the Govt, see the same picture? Afterall, the public has been, and is still mobilized to look out for Mas Selamat. Wouldn’t it serve the Govt well that the public shares her understanding?

    3. based on scanty information and / or misinformation

    Again, the Govt acknowledged that there’s been scant information and misinformation. If so, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on communicating the necessary information to help the misinformed public arrive at the correct conclusion?

    4. credible explanations for some of these perceived irregularities

    Perhaps, if the Govt can be so helpful as to compile a paper listing references to these “credible explanations” to the perceived irregularities, so that the public and the Govt will again see the same picture.

    If, after all these additional measures have been taken and we still see contrasting pictures, I can only conclude that the Govt and the media needs to re-examine themselves in something as basic as communicating the right message. Communication, to most people, is about bridging the divide and bringing both sides to a common understanding, isn’t it?

  64. Gary Teoh said

    Given singapore is so efficient, I dont think the CCTV is not working at WRDC. The governemnt dept always have QCC brain storming session, and why never put into use.I was working at Changi Airport one of the terminal upgrading project which including shifting of CCTV. The CAAS officer kept reminding me do not block the view of CCTV, and CCTV must be operational 24 hrs,even during renovation.that is the purpose of CCTV.What is the use if you put one there and not working. So something is wrong, nobody will believe MSK escaped. Until now no sign of him!!

  65. cynical said

    Was Mas even guilty of anything in the first place? Was there a trial in court or just a trump up charge based on hearsay?
    Since Chua sisters say it is nothing serious, it probably was nothing since she is an ex ISA agent. Just a story told by ISA that carried a life of its own. Think about it.

  66. sad said

    I was pretty upset with TODAY for playing up Low Thia Kiang non reply to PM Lee. (Understand that was the same guy who interviewed Marshall years ago? Why?) I support LTK for it is not his call or for him to answer PM’s question. He would have been led to more grilling from the 80+ MPs if he answered either way. It is for PM Lee to answer the question, and only he can answer it. And it is for the electorate now to judge what PM Lee said in support of WKS handling of matter AFTER Mas escape.

  67. LimChuKangGRC said

    “In each case, public debate has followed a predictable pattern: first, the people are allowed to speak their minds freely through the permitted channels including the forum pages of newspapers, TV debates, the feedback units, and dialogues with government representatives; next, at an appropriate point, the Prime Minister himself and his ministers enter the fray with patient, sustained explanations and persuasive arguments, and finally the matter comes to a close, usually with a gentle but firm message from the Prime Minister himself that in effect says, ‘Trust us; let’s move on.’”

    What Catherine Lim says is so true. I am justing waiting for a “Let’s move on” comment from LHL or LKY about this. Eventually it will be another incident that will be erased from everyone’s memory. I guess today’s news about the new “hand out” scheme by the gov is not helping either.

  68. Daniel said

    LimChuKangGRC,

    Don’t have to wait until those high-paid inept cowards to say so. Obviously those indecisive cowards as usual, make use a bootlicker, this time round been formerPM-turn-Senior clown, to do the ‘move on’ part.

    “While Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong acknowledged the debate’s focus for many Singaporeans has shifted from how he escaped to the issue of accountability, he believes it is time to enter a “new phase of reflection and repair” and to move on.”

    Now you see it is not leaderShip that run the country but ClownShip. One clown after another trying to move on with coverup and without accountability. Even real circus clown has more sportmanship and sincerity than these fake utter useless elite.

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/343852/1/.html

  69. CelluloidReality said

    What handout? Haha.

    Okay, I’m guilty of reading the Financial Times Weekend instead of our lovely Straits Times.

  70. Expected Analysis said

    A Reply To Chua Mui Hoong of ST

    CMH’s efforts in digging into history to cite examples of how other countries’ ministers put themselves up for scrutiny and accountability is much appreciated. Thanks for reminding our PM and the DPM over the Mas Selamat case.

    It was our MM and PM who advocated the use of top corporate sector pay to lure top talents to the civil service. As such, Singaporeans rightly expect above board transparency, accountability and integrity in return, in order to justify taxpayers’ contribution and sacrifices for the country.

    As illustrated in your examples, some ministers had no reservation in taking responsibility while some naturally fought for their political survival. The critical difference here is that since PAP came into power, had there been any minister who stood up to take responsibility for lapses, etc? Please enlighten us on this.

    In Mas Selamat’s case, we feel that the DPM has to shoulder responsibility as well, having been Minister of Home Affairs for many years. The fact that he and the PM did not see it necessary, despite the findings, has become another contentious issue.

    Whether the DPM should resign over this matter is debatable. Assuming responsibility does not necessary mean resign as the only course of penalty. The fact that he did not see it as his responsibility is most unacceptable and unbecoming of a minister.

  71. antz said

    dear all,

    For myself whom had undergo security certification,guards are human physical barrier where they are the eye and ears of things that happened within the sorroundings.

    CCTV that is a ‘must’to function 24hrs 7 days is a vital function that no humans can carry out…
    the major mistake is yes the failure of guards but as WKS put out they are humans and all of us make mistake but CCTV will not make mistake..
    so when the CCTV WDC fail…who’s mistake is that?

  72. Fever Guy said

    Antz,

    Well said. Did WDC not pay for CCTV maintenance? No budget? Just plain complacency on their side. WKS please resign like a man! Stop hiding behind PM ‘s ass.

    FG

  73. George said

    Have it ever occurred to anyone that what they are doing to themselves is what the opposition has been trying unsuccessfully to do for the past decades?

    Like the saying – give the man enough rope to hang himself with.

  74. antz said

    When we are able to qusetion the errors within WDC security lapse to be shared with everybody.

    I find it puzzling that the opposition failed to use errors make and capitalise on it.

    Opposition like sylvia lim and worse still Low Thia Khiang in the first place should not have seat in the opposition benches at all.

  75. Wil said

    Don’t worry, even though your commentary has been left in the dumps by the official objective news reporting media.. It is not lost here in onlinecitizen.

    Anyway, the target audience should be younger generations if we want to create voices that matter. Start them young and in time to come, they will be more engaged in the making of the policies.

    Anyway, I will do my part by promoting onlinecitizen to anyone I can..
    as the marketing guru always says… this is the age of the wisdom of the crowd …and referrals are more credible than hardsell thru’ media..

  76. Daniel said

    “I find it puzzling that the opposition failed to use errors make and capitalise on it.”

    The question to ask is whether the opposition did raise the questions but the mainstream media did not report the full questions to avoid embarrassment of the coffers, or even undermined the questioning as non-issue to worth reporting (Remember Catherine Lim’s article where ShittyTime says that it is nothing new and therefore refuse to publish it ?). Do recognize that most of quotes used in Online Citizen is from the mainstream media that is partisan to the ruling party. Just because the mainstream stream deliberately did not report the question does not mean question is not raised.

  77. laicf said

    Anybody had ask this question?

    For a dangerous terrorist like him, why wasn’t he electronic-tagged in the first place?

  78. Thomas Phua said

    #ohmyohmy

    I have to be fair to state the the Dynamic Guaranteed Fund was presented to be an excellent product via SGAM.

    SGAM has convinced us of the product feature which is really exceptionally good and no reason not to invest.

    But the guarantee has a high price to pay, and SGAM did not manage and invest the way it was presented.

    Mr Tan Kin Lian, then realised what SGAM has done and did not deliver what she promise to do , when it was presented as a very dynamic fund.

    As it is a closed end fund, policyholder will have to hold until maturity or risk a penalty.

    Mr Tan has allowed policyholder a choice to re-invest to the Combined Fund without charges. This is a very generous offer then.

    Those who have switched are quite happy as the yield is more than 30% after switching, and could be more today and forward.

    I have to write this to be fair to Mr Tan as regard to the Dynamnic Guaranteed Fund, managed by SGAM.

    Avoid guaranteed fund, I believe many similar guaranteed funds matured below value.

  79. Anwar said

    For those who missed the full listing of the posting can search “Life Insurance” under the search function on the top left box and you will see all the postings archived there.

  80. zhummmeng said

    Catherine Choong ‘s argument is a typical argument of a insurance saleswoman to justify them to sell whole life with high commission.
    First , all whole life products are obsolete products as they don’t provide customers with the highest protection, highest return and at the lowest cost . The only person benefiting from whole life is the insurance agents.
    Vivolife has a rotten core and therefore needs a few layers of useless benefits to hide the truth.
    If one has an HONEST AND COMPETENT adviser WHO HAS THE CLIENT’S INTEREST AT HEART all those supposedly supplementary or ‘additional” benefits would have been useless.
    1. when it comes to retrenchment cleint has many worries far more important than the premium of vivolife. In the first place a good adviser would have advised to provide for an event like retrenchment and others too. and if this is place why waste money on paying for a benefit which is useless.
    2.The need to provide a 125% guaranteed protection by vivo life during the first 15 years shows that it is trying to cover the weakness of this plan. Before the bonus cut by NTUC ,after a few years your protection would have exceeded 125% of sum assured. This is another gimmick to con people.
    3.You don’t need to cover whole life becuase after 65 protection it is no longer important , money is important. The product annuity option corroborates this. The option to convert to annuity tells you the company is not serious and it believes that you should not keep for whole life. The annuity option is a contradiction of this belief.
    4. The return of this vivolife is miserable. If anyone depends on it as saving for retirement he or she will be disappointed. Instead of living life to the fullest , it is misery and money no enough at its worst.
    5. The 3 times accidental death benefit is another gimmick. You know what it is? It is a personal accident plan stripped to its bone. You can buy one at great saving with many other features .You know why personal accident plan is dirt cheap? The company includes it to make you think it is a great feature.
    6. It is expensive. You can HAVE a BIGGER AND ADEQUATE COVERAGE TO MEET YOUR NEEDS by using terms..Very often the whole life plan coverage sold by greedy agents is enough to provide for funeral expenses only. This is indeed a noble profession
    Conclusion: ALL LIMITED PREMIUM PLANS GIVE LIMITED COVERAGE.
    Vivolife gives limited coverage .This is a rotten product. You will find insurance salesmen and women touting the frills than the basic plan simply becuase there is nothing to talk about the basic plan and worse it has a rotten core. Talking about frills is to distract you and divert your attention and sell you on the frills.

    heeding Mr. Tan’s buy term and invest the rest is still the best way to more protection and return and to ensure that you are adequately provided.

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