Saturday, April 26, 2008

Please lets MOVE ON...

Is the decision to raise their pay to the highest in the world, coming back to haunt them? When the pay hike was debated, they said our leaders are super-competent and super-deserving of record shattering pay. With high pay comes, high responsibility and accountability,...... so that is what most ordinary Singaporeans think. However, the COI reported how the simplest things like toilet doors, toilet grilles, fences, CCTVs can actually go very wrong. ....and when things go wrong the lowly paid people down the line are made to shoulder the responsibility not the people who are making millions.

I will explain to you why the above train of thought is wrong .....I'll gather my thoughts and post about this tomorrow. In the meantime, I leave with an article from Seah Chiang Nee.....a man who literally had a change of heart.

I'm back..... I'll tell why it is not the pay that is the issue.

Over the years the PAP pursued its opponents with vigor - some were detained for decades for what they said were wrongful thoughts, others were bankrupted for just uttering wrongful things. They pursued these people with great persistence - lives were destroyed and many humiliated without a chance to preserve their dignity. But if you look at the sum total of what these people were supposed to have done to Singapore it is nowhere near the damage caused by the escape of a dangerous terrorist who is now still running loose.....Here is the extraordinary govt now saying they are not to be blamed, they will not "appease the public" by asking one of its own to step down.

I urge Singaporeans especially opposition members and supporters to find it in their heart to let this matter rest and move on for you should not show the same vindictiveness as men you do not like. If Mas Selamat does nothing, all this will be forgotten in a few months. As the price of rice rises by 50% in 2 months, the combination of transport hikes, utilities hikes, kindergarden fee hikes (yes, you would know if you have kids), ERP hikes and taxi fare hikes will leave Singaporeans with pain in their pocketbooks and that is the type of pain they will remember for a long time. SM Goh is right to say it is time to move on to other issues...issues that mean something the ordinary folks.
Electoral tidal wave forming

The saga of Mas Selamat Kastari’s escape from detention has moved beyond security concerns to doubts on accountability.

WHEN Singapore’s terrorist leader Mas Selamat Kastari escaped from high-security detention two months ago, he could not possibly have foreseen the political repercussion that he was leaving behind.

It has given Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong his worst political headache since he took office nearly four years ago.

The saga of the Jemaah Islamiah leader’s escape from the Whitley Detention Centre has moved beyond security concerns and the negative international image.

It has raised doubts on government accountability in Singapore and revisited the unpopular issue of high Cabinet pay by raising questions like:

> How damaging to the nation must a government mistake be before a Cabinet minister – who is paid more than the US president – is held responsible?

> Must punishment, however serious the mistake, be applicable only to the civil servants or the foot soldiers, but not to the political leader who is responsible for overall planning?

This dilemma began with a government-appointed committee report revealing a list of incredible bungles and neglect by the Home Affairs Ministry, which is in overall charge of the centre.

A “confluence of factors” or “lapses” is how the report calls the mistakes that allowed Mas Selamat to climb out of a toilet window and flee in his underwear. Two months later, he’s still at large.

Mas Selamat is no ordinary criminal, but leader of a terror network who was trained in Afghanistan. He had plotted to crash a commercial plane into Changi Airport as well as blow up foreign embassies.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has said that if Mas Kastari succeeds in fleeing to Indonesia, he may return to carry out his bombing threats.

And the Whitley Detention Centre is a tiny version of America’s Guantanamo, which houses all the terrorist suspects in Singapore.

His escape presented Prime Minister Lee with a tough choice: either ditch the minister responsible, as widely demanded by the public, or defend him.

He chose to support a party colleague, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, and go against public opinion.

Lee stated that ministers should not be automatically removed for lapses down the line. This came as a surprise to a generation of Singaporeans raised under his father’s strict governance.

He said his government would not encourage a culture where ministers resign whenever things go wrong on their watch, whether or not they are actually to blame.

By downgrading ministerial responsibility, he may have established a new principle of governance for Singapore that differs from other countries.

Many nations in Europe and Asia (from Britain to Japan and South Korea) hold their leaders or Cabinet ministers liable for a major blunder, either by sacking or allowing them to resign.

The response of Singaporeans over the Internet has predictably been very negative, with some accusing him of double standards – one rule for ministers and another for the civil service.

An online poll on whether Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng should be sacked showed a 94% “yes” vote, with only 6% disagreeing.

But Lee was adamant. “That would be the easy way out. It may temporarily appease an angry public, but it will not fundamentally solve the problem,” he said.

The result has been a transfer of some of the political heat from the Home Affairs Minister to the Prime Minister.

The critics complain that since ministers are paid super-high wages pegged to the top private sector, Lee should also hold them to the same standards of accountability.

Said Workers’ Party chief Low Thia Khiang: “In the corporate world, when something goes wrong, heads that roll would include the CEO’s. Here, when something goes wrong, we talk about honest mistakes.”

Even government backbencher Inderjit Singh (Ang Mo Kio) drew the same conclusion.

“We have adopted a reward system that matches that of the private sector, that we pay everyone as high as possible,” he said. “Therefore, people expect that when you make a mistake, you will be appropriately punished.”

The pressure for accountability is so strong and widespread that some observers believe that Lee’s defence of Wong will not stand beyond the next election in three years’ time.

“In a one-man-one-vote system, no prime minister is silly enough to stand in front of a tidal electoral wave,” said a newspaper reporter. “Wong is a big political liability and will have to go.”

Some observers believe this will happen after a decent interval, with Wong being transferred out of Home Affairs before 2011.

In a Cabinet reshuffle on March 29, a month after Mas Selamat’s escape, Lee appointed K. Shanmugam as Law Minister – as well as Second Minister for Home Affairs.

This is seen as preparation for Wong’s eventual replacement in case Lee decides to make the change.

While public criticism rages on over the websites, newspapers’ letters pages remain largely silent.

“Singaporeans with half a brain will know it is less about being different from other countries, but more about protecting their own kind – the tight-knit network of elites who run this country,” Gerald Giam wrote in his blog.

Kelvin Tong added: “In my view, PM Lee failed to see one point: Singapore ministers are the highest paid in the world. Logically speaking, the echelon of accountability has to be higher in tandem, no?”

Robert Teh wrote: “This is truly the world’s best leadership – just watch the charisma of a leader explaining all the faults in his prison windows as caused by other junior officers, not his own ministry.”


yamizi said...

High pay does the talking;
Low pay does the job.

High pay gets the credit;
Low pay gets the blame.

Rule of the game, Lucky?

Anonymous said...

I *think* the new Law Minister must be cursing himself for hopping onto a new job. hiak hiak hiak.
It is not a lack of talent in Singapore - (or at least that is the PAP and ST mouthpiece saying) talents are a plenty here. What Sylvia Lim and Denise Phua said (I stand corrected) is true, the high pay is probably the single most important deterrent to quality people coming in. In the light of this fiasco, I say good luck to PAP. Really, if we are so untalented, it is a deep dent to our efforts in the ministry of Education. Why so terrible that not one in a single generation has any talent. It is just the mouthpiece of PAP to justify their pay!

Anonymous said...

Why did Seah Chiang Nee leave out the important fact that Wong Kan Seng is Lee Hsien Loong's COUSIN?

Onlooker said...

Still no pay cut and family all shift out aka outsource but of no value to their respective host country.
The Brutal truth.

Anonymous said...

They say many countries are following our world class education system, but sadly the system cannot even produce a single Singaporean capable of taking over as PM (outside of the Lee family), not within the present cabinet and MPs. Sometimes I think they are just talking shit, all shit and nothing but shit.

Anonymous said...

there are different grades of shit. depending on the process system, the quality is as fine as 'new water'.

the beauty of it is, you can't tell you have been consuming shit..:)

Anonymous said...

they won't be getting millions if they can't even put the oppositions in their place. so 'talented' are they that the opposition tongues have been licked into silence at the most crucial moment.

cheers to the meritocratic system!..:)

Anonymous said...

Gahman strategy of presenting the fiasco as one of "complacency" has worked.If its complacency,only the lower level is at fault. But the "converging fences abutting the enclosed staircase/walkway" and the way the "upgrading of the CCTV system" was carried out clearly shows "INCOMPETENCY",and that is more serious.Its AMATEURISH.Responsibility must thus be borne higher.

Anonymous said...

I was reading up on the interesting articles. I find it funny that all the while everybody is talking about WKS or LHL to resign. Anybody knows whos the head of ISD detention center? He seems low profile

Anonymous said...

Mr Seah said, "The response of Singaporeans over the Internet has predictably been very negative, with some accusing him of double standards – one rule for ministers and another for the civil service."

And that is the way our government operates. No smoking in enclosed spaces in Singapore for all peasants, but if you are a high flying casino visitor, you can smoke indoors.

Rich people are above the LAW ! And our economy, which is our GOD, demands this. Weak political leaders we have.

Anonymous said...

hehehe! Does anyone noticed that National Medishield premiums just went up, just after none other than Goh Chok Tong said they will hold costs in view of inflation. Cool!

Anonymous said...

yes, move on.

but they are not willing to move?!?!?!??

Anonymous said...

Anon 11.45

That is why he has lost all credibility in what he says long ago. Hougang people know that and his presence there helped the opposition rather than his own PAP candidate.

Anonymous said...

The guard heard the running tap water.... running tap in the toilet of the Whitley Detention Centre?

They don't use the automatic sensor or save-water tap for their toilets?

Almost all public facilities in Singapore now instal automatic sensor or save-water tap. If the centre did indeed use such device, then the report and breakout by Mas Selamat Kastari is a big cover-up.

Use your imagination.

Anonymous said...

then...ask your gutsy opposition leaders to say what you just said lor.

why? scare until tongue tied izzit?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am definitely moving on with my family to Australia this coming summer. What can you expect if Singapore has such irresponsible so-called extraordinary leaders who only know how to pay themselves the world's highest salaries and bonuses without wanting to shoulder any blame at all?

Yes, move on and move fast. The faster the better, out of this mass of Mas before we get blown to bits by a suicide bomber when Mas comes back for revenge.


Anonymous said...

If Mas Salamat, a leader of a large terrorist network, is imprisoned here, wouldn't this pose a greater risk to S'pore, given that how capable the terrorists are in engaging in unscrupulous acts? His escape is a less risky choice of the 2, and spares spore from the target of the terrorists activities. WKS and his team had unwillingly did us a blessing in disguise, so we shall forget and move on!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:59,

I happen to concur with you. Why are the opposition so scared to challenge the PAP, even in Parliament where MPs enjoy constitutional immunity against legal charges for untoward criticism of the PAP that one would otherwise face outside?

It is not fair to put all the blame for the political situation on the 66.6% of the voters because there are in fact 3 parties contributing it : ruling party, opposition and the electorate.

Sure, the opposition will always give all kinds of excuses for their inability to tackle the PAP.

They are however quite clever when it comes to putting down the people thus:

:: In the case of hero-complex CSJ it runs like this : Only slave are afraid of the govt. In other words, those that do not join him in street protest are all slaves.
:: In the case of messiah-complex JBJ, it goes like this: Singapore is a politically castrated society and one filled with fear.
:: In the case of PAP-wannabe WP, its cyber activists would try this when criticize : Why don't you critics be like us heroes by becoming an opposition politician yourself.

You see the opposition parties instead of humbling themselves before the people, want to talk down to the them like PAP.

They are as much an effect of the influence of that famous megalomaniac, this much I can see.

Opposition, opposition, learn from the politicians of other countries, even if PAP refuses to.

Look at bigger countries like Taiwan and even China how their politicians talk humbly and respectfully to the people.

The Opposition ought to understand that what Singapore politics is today is the result of a long period of tyranny.

Our people have been subjected to the mind-washing and manipulation of PAP for the last 40 years.

During the 60's PAP arrested and detained indefinitely without trial over a hundred opposition MPs and labour leaders in 2 Cold Store operations.

The people knew all about that, but what could they do when political power was all in the hands of PAP.

All they could do was to go around during the wee hours of the night scribbling huge graffiti of protest on public walls. This is as much as I can remember as a child. The followers of the arrested opposition MPs were sometimes also seen running riot by throwing stones in the streets but only for a few hundred metres and then quickly dispersing, fearing to end up with the same fate as their leaders.

Lee Kuan Yew had full support from the British master and he carried out his mopping up of all opposition with thoroughness.

Then when he decided that Singapore should join Malaysia, he called for a pseudo referendum in which there was no option at all to not join Malaysia.

Again what could people do, except for many to spoil their votes.

Fast forward to the present. The opposition of today think too greatly about themselves. Can they be compared to those of yore who boldly face detention without trail despite being totally innocent of any wrongdoing?

Yet the current slate of opposition people dare to despise the people by talking down to them, even while they themselves do not reflect on where they have failed to contribute to the situation.

They cannot even unite like the opposition in other countries. The opposition leaders are filled with such big egos, enamored with their own little 'kingdom' as it were, that they think they can take on PAP by themselves.

They forget about the mass perception, the image that they need to project to the people. And that they cannot achieve without unity among opposition parties. Go learn from Anwar.

Their marketing techniques are also lousy even when the world-shaking technology of the Internet lies before them to fully take advantage of, this at a time when the public sentiment is so strongly in their favour.

Instead they probably are smirking at cyber dissidents considering them to be indulging in an unproductive activity - this even when the Malaysian govt had attributed their recent electoral trouncing to its underestimation of this new media.

Blame the electorate, blame PAP but why think the opposition is blameless?

The opposition politicians seek power but are not ready to risk and sacrifice enough for this objective. What difference will they make even if they get into Parlaiment.

At the best, they will just be another Low Thia Khiang who when counter-questioned whether he thought Mas Selamat had died in prison cowered down from the challenge and answered no.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:25am:

LTK did the right thing by not answering and knows when he needs to keep this mouth shut.

LHL has to look for somebody to vent his frustration (that he cannot sack WKS) and just waiting for opposition to make a mistake and channel all his firepower them.

If LTK answered the questions whether MSK died or WKS should resign, he would be asked to produce evidence or reasons to substantiate his statements.

The best is to keep quiet and this will make sure the ball in on LHL's court. After MSK has disappeared and nobody can find him to know the truth, secondly, whether WKS should resign or not is not up to LTK, it's up to LHL.

If LHL ask me the same questions, I would keep mum too, as the gov has told me what they want me to know and it is all bullshit but I can't do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:24

I am talking about the conversation between LTK and WKS.

Who says LTK must answer yes to WKS's counter-question?

LTK first posed a question to WKS that there was a rumour that Mas Selamat had died in prison.

That being the case, LTK should have pursued his original query by insisting that WKS provide a straight answer. At that point I noticed WKS becoming a bit jittery actually.

Instead LTK replied to WKS's counter-question saying that he did not believe in the rumour, which is another way of saying that he was withdrawing his original question.

Assuming as you said that LTK is afraid of the firepower of the PAP, then that might explain the behaviour. But then an opposition MP afraid of engaging the PAP in Parliament might as well forget about becoming one in the first place. To debate with PAP is precisely what an opposition MP is there for, firepower or not.

However to be fair, I think LTK has proven to be the most able of opposition MPs seen so far on TV. He used to be quite up to the task but nowadays seems to be adopting a more conciliatory role with the PAP - in line with his press statement in late 2007 that WP's role was to help PAP fine-tune its policies rather than oppose for the sake of opposition.

I suggest that this is a very wrong approach for the opposition.

Anon 12:25

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.25. Can we expect you standing in the next election as an opposition? From your comments you sound very passionate and could be the savior of the opposition camp, brave enough to challenge the PAP in Parliament, exactly what Singaporeans are looking for all these years. Hougang or Potong Pasir, up to you, and we will vote you in.

Anonymous said...

I believe there are no lack of talents in Singapore to take over the reins of politics. Singapore is great not because of PAP but because of the people.

It is PAP under LKY which has been indoctrinating our people and even the world that Singapore is such an impossible nation and only Lee Kuan Yew was capable of making it what it is today. Rubbish.

You mean Lee Kuan Yew did all the work? No, he only make policies with his colleagues and the people set about bringing them to fruition. Furthermore numerous of his big policies were found wanting or even disastrous.

But LKY wants to claim all the credit. He pens autobiographies and goes around the world to tell how great a guy he is.

Anyway, before talented Singaporeans can come forth, people should first see through the wiles of PAP. This is still not accomplished.

Just to give an example. I went over to another popular blog and there was much debate as to why PAP is always looking for political candidates with high academic qualifications. Nobody pointed out that it is a trick of LKY to narrow down the number of contestants, effectively cutting off 80% of the population.

This idea has been drummed into us for decades and the opposition themselves have fallen into this trick and hence they are trying to show the voters that they too have people of high academic qualifications.

Such are the PAP ideas that have first to be overturned.

Another PAP idea is that politicians are sacrificing for the people and are some kind of indispensible saviors for the nation.

I happen to think otherwise. Who say that politicians, ruling or opposition are contributing more to society than say a housewife, a road sweeper, an engineer, a teacher, a priest or a volunteer in an old folks home?

Who can measure such things? And what does PAP know about work beyond the concrete such as those performed by a nun fasting and praying for the world or a mystic working tirelessly to bring peace on the psychic level? What does that egoistic and heartless ignoramus called PAP know?

Politics is just another job that some people are interested in. So if you are in it, you ask for it. Stop complaining and start doing a good job.

This is not just for LKY and his men but for opposition people also. No one force you to be politicians, simple as that.

Anon 12:25

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Today I heard someone define a true leader as "Someone who dedicates work but never responsibility". It struck me as to what kind of leaders govern Singapore. It is indeed a sad day...I wonder how these people can actually face the common folks without shame. But then again their actions in paying themselves extorbitant wages and protecting themselves from any investigation just goes to show how much rot has set in. Like someone said, can we be sure that such high salary would not attract people without the values to be a true leader. I rest my case..

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucky,

Would it be possible for you to email me at I would like to get your assistance in a research study on "Internet Survey on Perception of Socio-Political Blog Credibility". Thanks!


Anonymous said...

In a way, the escape of Mas Selamat is a good thing, it hightlights the hypocrisy and double standards of the Pappies in exceptional brilliance for the world see!

Anonymous said...

The ruling party had 40+ years to rule the country and it is time for them to move on and let other more talented men step up to the plate. I am convinced that the ruling party cannot take us to another level. This is as far as they can achieve. The whole country is run like a family business and it is contrary to nation building. Whatever talent in their ranks , including the very top of the pecking order are at best 3rd rate. The endless spin about the country going to a free fall should the ruling party lose power is just absolute nonsense. You only have to look around and I am sure each of us can think of someone who have more talent and leadership qualities than the present cabinet setup. The ruling party have made it impossible for any of such talent to serve the country without first being accepted by them. This is the greatest disservice the ruling party have done to the country. And to me the country is not just about the infra structure, foreign reserves, etc, but the people. The way they bond with each other and the leaders, irrespective of your political leanings. The ruling party have failed miserably by their win at all costs to retain power, utilising very questionable tactics. A small nation yet so divisive. Is there hope for all of us come 2011 ?

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