This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.
September 17, 2006. Zainal and his girlfriend were sitting outside a 7-Eleven store at Central Square at Havelock Road. The time: 1:30 am.
Suddenly, a group of about ten men approached the couple and started attacking Zainal who was stabbed several times in the abdomen. He stumbled across the road where he collapsed in a pool of blood.
Shards of broken glass stained with Zainal’s blood lay strewn all over. His girlfriend screamed repeatedly for the police. The gang disappeared as quickly as they emerged.
Officers rushed down to the scene in large numbers. They cordoned off the area and didn’t allow any one in or out. They were disciplined and they were determined to stop what was going on.
But they were also in the wrong place.
They were dispatched to Hong Lim Park which was on the other side of street where Zainal was murdered. Their orders? To stop a group of Singaporeans from conducting their protest for democracy.
So while Zainal was fighting against a riotous mob and his girlfriend was screaming for her life, our finest in blue were making sure that six democracy advocates were subdued.
There must have been more than 20 officers deployed at Speakers’ Corner on 16 Sep 06, excluding those in plainclothes. If a fraction of them had been assigned to patrol an area barely 500 metres away, Zainal might still be alive today.
This is how messed up our Government is. Only in unaccountable and corrupt systems can rulers do this and get away with it.
But the police can’t be everywhere all of the time, one may argue. Perhaps. But read what the security guard at Central Square said: “Such things are not uncommon here. There is a night crowd here, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.”
Didn’t the Crime Prevention Unit pay extra attention to a spot that has a history of fights and thuggery instead of, of all places, Speakers’ Corner?
Yet, this is how Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng manages, or rather abuses, his portfolio.
Crime and vice have found Singapore an increasingly attractive haven. The number of arrests of sex workers increased 25 percent from 2006 and the number of drug-related arrests jumped by a whopping 600 percent!
With commercial sex and drugs come organised crime. Prostitutes, many of whom the Government classifies as foreign talent, have moved into our HDB estates. Gang warfare is rife in the seedy lanes of Geylang. Daring robberies are on the rise.
But wait. The Minister tells us that “it is not realistic to expect vice to be totally eliminated” and, incredibly, lectures us that “this is the reality which Singaporeans should face up to.”
Hasn’t the man mastered the art of stating the obvious?
No one expects vice to be totally eliminated. But we expect you, Minister, to stop your abuse of power by ensuring the police channel their resources to preventing and prosecuting real crimes – not running around after choirs and stopping them from singing in public, preventing singers from performing in a pub in support of our Burmese friends, prohibiting a professor to conduct a lecture on homosexuality, and even warning a lone artist from protesting outside the Malaysian embassy.
The police are for protecting the public, not the PAP.
So what is this “reality” that Mr Wong tells Singaporeans that we should face up to? You mean the one that when a suspected terrorist escapes from right under the police’s nose, he can’t tell us how it happened?
And while the Minister waited for four hours to inform the nation that Mr Mas Selamat escaped and another five days to tell us the kind of clothes the escapee was wearing, he wastes no time in trying to convince us that protest rallies are banned because they have the potential of causing “disruption to community life.”
In truth Mr Wong’s abuse, incompetence and arrogance is breath-taking as it is unchecked. He has shown to be singularly unfit for the office he holds.
Many things in Singapore need to be changed. The best place to start is with Minister Wong. The best weapon to use is our courage.