Thursday, April 24, 2008

Leadership, Accountability and Responsibility....

“Public officers, including Ministers, should not be automatically removed or punished just because a lapse has occurred down the line” - PM Lee

"How come the lowly paid people down the line are blamed all the time?" - Lucky Tan

I once had a long chat with an auditor whose full time job was to conduct audits and investigations for companies. He said his job is "very simple" - when something goes wrong in an organization, you look at 3 things 1. People 2. Processes 3. Checks. People down the line are to follow the processes (procedures) if they are in place. The processes have to be correct in the first place and the people higher up are responsible for approving the processes and making sure the people are trained properly to follow them. Then the management has to ensure there are regular checks to make sure important procedures are followed. When something goes wrong, you just look at which of the 3 things are missing and you will know whose fault it is. The person down the line is blamed only if processes(2) & checks(3) are firmly in place. Otherwise, the higher management has to take responsibility. Would you trust a old night watchman who is paid $600 per month to guard your $10M company secrets? ...Then blame him when your company is burglarized because he has no idea what to do, what to check and has a tendency to doze off.....

Lets look at the People, Processes, Checks of Whitley Road Detention Centre to account for Mas Selamat's escape:

1. People. Did the people follow procedure? No. The Gurkha guards did not follow the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) exactly and allowed Mas Selamat to close the toilet door. However, it was reported in the COI, that the guards were rotated often and other sets of guards also allowed Mas Selamat to close the door of the urinal. Mas Selamat was one smart terrorist - he was testing the guards and all of them failed to follow the SOP. In fact, he exploited common human weaknesses that was present in different sets of guards. The guards on that faithful day were not particularly incompetent they were just as bad as the rest.

2. Processes. Were proper procedures in place and were the people sufficiently well trained to follow them? Yes, there were Standard Operating Procedures in place however, the guards who were supposed to be properly trained did not follow them. In fact many of the guards did not follow the procedures exactly not just those who were guarding Mas Selamat that day. According to a report by an ex-detainee, they used to be strictly followed. What happened? We have the same Gurkha guards but standards have fallen. Who supervises their training? Were they trained the same way in the past and turned out different? In the past we used to have many dangerous political deviants, I'm sure they are more dangerous than terrorists but that is no excuse for standards to drop.

3. Checks. I think DPM explained this part better than anyone can:

"From now on, they will make sure that they will conduct such tests and exercises." - DPM Wong.
"
(The detention centre)should have done regular audits this was not done in the regular way"-DPM Wong

For a maximum security facility, there were relatively few checks in place. There were no grille, no working CCTV, high walls/fences that can be climbed and not much checking and audits to ensure the security of the facility.

At the end of the day, only the guards are responsible for the whole sorry episode and they are the only ones punished. I suggest the guards be paid the salary of the director of ISD because they seem to be carrying alot of responsibilities. They are suppose to train themselves, check themselves and risk their lives to go after Mas Selamat and the people higher up have no responsibility.

It is so unfair for Singaporeans to ask our DPM Wong to take responsibility for Mas Selamat escape and resign. If you look at the 3 things I mentioned, he is responsible for none of them. The guards who have been replaced are the ones responsible and are accountable for the lapses. It reflects the leadership of this country where we have leaders that are too good for the ordinary people. Singaporeans are so lucky to have such great leadership and everything has to be done to preserve them because men with their talents are so rare and difficult to find. Ordinary citizens are like the guards in Mas Selamat's escape you're expendable and can easily be replaced by imported labor. If you end up working as a elderly cleaner, it is your own fault that you did not save enough to retire after working your whole life.

Our great govt is responsible for all the success that this nation has seen. Yes, if the Singapore does not achieve its full glory, it is the ordinary citizens down the line that didn't work hard enough.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

yeah yeah yeah - you peasants get out of my uncaring high paying elitist /director / minister/prime minister face. It is our peasants complacent fault. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Down the line it is all Mas Selamat's fault - if he didn't escape, none of this would have happened.

I demand Mas Selamat resign immediately as detainee of WRDC.

Ha ha ha it is a real joke right - PAP leadership.

Anonymous said...

there is no need to be so bitter guys...the law of kamma means that what a person deserves would happen without anybody's interference...

yamizi said...

Eh Lucky,

I think it will be hilarious to talk cock with you over a cup of tea.

Haha.

Keep it up with your writing!

Anonymous said...

...the hinted message: join the right party n u wil b protected...

Anonymous said...

I am glad Mas Selamat got tired of whitley and resigned from the centre. He is doing what many Singaporeans cannot do / dare not do. And thereby expose the great ideals and thinking of our top echelon and cabinet. Really I wonder how much of this is LHL take (my cousin in law) and how much is attributed to the cabinet ministers.

Anonymous said...

Another pay raise for WKS, ISD Director, ISD Junior Staff and Gurkas Guards who escorted Mas Selamat that fateful day are long overdue. We neet to add an extra zero to their salary so that they will be extra careful and more competent the next time.

A very unique feature of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

There is a distinct difference between 'responsibility' and 'accountability'. One can delegate responsibility to people down the line. However, accountability will always remain with the chief or leader.

A responsible leader will understand what it is like to be accountable for any mistakes, and will do what's right. Even TT Durai understood it and stepped down from NKF, although he never admitted wrongdoings.

Our leaders are quick to bask in the glory of things gone right, and claim all credit for it. But once things go wrong, and their supremely high salaries are threatened, they will paint a fancy picture (to the extent of making silly mistakes an acceptable exception) and blame others, even those down the line.

If WKS doesn't resign, PM Lee should.

It's amusing how WKS was adamant in tracking down the mistake of James Gomez at the elections office, and refused to "move on". Now, WKS is calling for people to "move on" even though Mas Selamat is still on the lose! If he can take credit for the working CCTV at the Elections Office, I think he should take the blame for the uncommissioned CCTVs at a high security facility like WRDC!

Anonymous said...

Disneyland without Mickey Mouse? That's crazy.

AIM said...

MAS = Memang Aku Salah.

SELAMAT = Sebab Engkau Leka Aku Mampu Ambil Tindakan.

KASTARI = Kerana Allah Sudi Tolong,Aku Redha Implikasinya

Meaning= I admit my mistake.
Because your negligence. I manage to take advantage.
Due to God willingness to help me, I,m willing to take the Risk.

AIM said...

MAS = Memang Aku Salah.

SELAMAT = Sebab Engkau Leka Aku Mampu Ambil Tindakan.

KASTARI = Kerana Allah Sudi Tolong,Aku Redha Implikasinya

Meaning= I admit my mistake.
Because you were complacency. I mange to take advantage.
Due to God willingness to help me, I,m willing to take the Risk.

Anonymous said...

ill discipline flows from top down just like ill mannered parents beget ill mannered children.

so rightly put. the issue is not complacency but discipline and training. the soldier is as good as the discipline imposed on them!

and the cage is as good as the head who designed it.

Anonymous said...

'If WKS doesn't resign, PM Lee should'

Oh dear, then the immortal one will have to take over because no one else in the present cabinet is PM calibre. Don't play play hor!

Anonymous said...

“Public officers, including Ministers, should not be automatically removed or punished just because a lapse has occurred down the line” - PM Lee

umm, the first question that came into my mind was "whassup with him saying that?". Could it be some agenda 'in favour of' someone else?

tell you guys what i see. not dead people... but i see taiji masters showing some real kungfu in the parliament.

Anonymous said...

why does everyone talk about complacency when its plainly obvious that the physical fencing and the way the CCTV upgrade was done is really an issue of lack of COMPETENCY ?

Anonymous said...

whether they made a big, honest or any mistakes which could cost dearly to Singapore or the people,what can you or me do about it. They know they will continue to perpetually governed and stay in power for decades to come with walkovers and by GRC system of voting (no other countries in the world have such tampering of the democratic rights of people). So may i remind Singaporeans and all of you here, you are wasting your time because there will be little or no change as SIngaporeans are timid and compliant and there is no hope here. Just be a good boy and girl and blend well with the foreigners and take it or you can leave.