Much that Wong Kan Seng needs to account for

May 10, 2009
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

The Government, in particular the Immigration and Customs Authorities (ICA), has much to account for with the reported re-capture of Mr Mas Selamat Kastari in Johor.

The obvious question is how did this man on Singapore’s most wanted list and a supposedly national security threat, manage to escape security at our checkpoints or border? Questions regarding how Mr Mas Selamat gave his captors the slip at the Whitley Detention Detention Centre remain unanswered. (See here)

Now we find out that he had even evaded detection by the ICA and police, and slipped into Malaysia.

It is believed that Mr Mas Selamat had escaped Singapore by swimming across the Straits of Johor into Malaysia. The Home Affairs Minister attributed the escape on the long coastline.

What is Mr Wong talking about? China has a long coastline, Australia has a long coastline. Even Malaysia can be said to have a long coastline. Singapore’s coastline facing Johor is 52 miles — the length of two marathons.

Why can’t Mr Wong just admit that he bungled and stop blaming the escape on everything else?

The police coastguard would have been placed on high alert and that there are regular coastline patrols on the lookout for illegal immigrants — seven days a week, 24 hours a day — coming into Singapore. Why was the escapee not spotted?

These and other questions regarding the escape must be answered by the Home Affairs Minister.

Mr Mas Selamat’s escape is not the only instance of negligence demonstrated by authorities under Mr Wong’s portfolio. In 2008, a retiree managed to leave Singapore even though he had mistakenly presented his son’s passport. He managed to board his flight to Vietnam despite the computerised system signaling the problem. (See here)

Then there was a 73-year old Singaporean woman who went missing earlier this year in Genting Highlands. Apparently in a state of fugue where she couldn’t recall how she spent her days in Malaysia, she was found back in Singapore a week later — without her passport. (See here)

How does Mr Wong explain these serious lapses under his watch, and all within 12 months?

There needs to be a full independent inquiry into the entire episode surrounding the Mas Selamat saga, an inquiry that must not take the form of the Commission of Inquiry that was appointed last year, one that no one took seriously. And Mr Wong Kan Seng must be at the centre of the probe to answer questions that are bursting to be asked. 

Expectedly the Government avoided taking responsibility for these serious lapses. Mr Lee Kuan Yew even bizarrely assigned the blame to Singaporeans whom he said were “complacent”. 

The Government must stop all it nonsense. It is time for full accountability to the people.