Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One More and I'll Sue

How do you know when you've made in Singapore? The answer, as a friend of mine once said was when, "Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew summons you to the Istana for an major screwing session." As this friend of mine says, "It shows that you're important enough for the man himself to give you some personal attention." And there's something to that. Just as it was once said that a sign of ones creative talent was being fired by Batey Ads (when it was run by Mr Ian Batey,) a sign of editorial credibility comes from being sued by Minister Mentor Lee (Bloomberg, The Economist, The International Herald Tribune, The Far Eastern Economic Review etc).

Unfortunately, I've not reached that stage in life. The Minister Mentor, remains oblivious to my existence and the existence of the blogs that I've been writing. However, I think I must be moving up in life. My recent postings about the Mas Selamat affair have finally brought me the attention and ire of a young grassroots leader. He believed that I had "Wacked him" in my previous posting and after telling me that my views on Mas Selamat "Sucked" over sms, he sent me another sms telling me, "1 More and you'll be sued."

As expected, he's followed the party line on this affair. Turn on the critic, especially if facts are raised. Today, the Minister of Home Affairs proceeded to read out an email of someone saying he was behind the Home Affairs Ministry and then proceeded to talk about what a great jobs the Home Affairs was doing appart from this incident. Netizens who demanded accountability ooppps, his resignation were just a small minority.

Not to be outdone by our political masters, my young critic promptly posted something on his blog acusing people like me of being bribed by Chee Soon Juan, the much bankrupted punch bag of the government (I wasn't aware Dr Chee had money to give) as well as being an arm chair critic who should join politics instead of being All Talk and No Action. As usual, we are reminded that in Singapore, the citizens who are affected by the policies of the government they elect and pay for are entitled to give feedback on the government's performance only when it's feedback that's acceptable to the ears of the government.

Thanks to this, there is only one appropriate response:

My views of the Mas Selamat remains thus.

1 - Mas Selamat, an apparently dangerous terrorist according to the government has escaped from a "Secure Facility," and remains at large after 22-days of escape.

2 - The Home Affairs Ministry continues to insist that all sources of information have lead them to believe that he is:

i-Still in Singapore
ii-Working on his own.
iii-Unarmed.

3 - The Ministry insist on maintaining a high level of secrecy so as to not compromise the work of the Internal Security Department (ISD), yet wants public involvement in helping catch Mas Selamat. - The only information recieved is his hight, the fact that he walks with a limp and 19-days after his escape, we are told that he has a mole on his face.

4 - The Ministry has spent heavy amounts in anti-terrorism equipment and training. In FY08, $100 million of public funds are devoted to anti-terrorism measures. Yet, in spite of this, Mas Selamat is still at large.

So the questions remain:

1 - Why is the public only recieving information on an ad hoc basis even though the public is expected to play a major role in his capture?

2 - Why is there no evidence of what makes Mas Selamat dangerous? What are the public's alternatives if facing a terrorist?

3 - Who is in charge of this investigation?

Keeping the public in the dark, while expecting the public to be involved is a command decision. Thus far those in command positions seem oblivious for the need to manage the flow of information. Clearly the people in command are not doing the job they were paid to do and expecting the public to continue having blind trust in the government when the government has fallen short.

This government insist that it's senior managers need high salaries to compete for talent with the private sector. We have allowed for this. Now, when the government falls short, it should behave as the private sector it seeks to emulate in such a situation and expect senior decision makers take responsability with their jobs.

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