Resignations and the Apportion of Blame in the Escape Debacle

Taiwan’s defence minister resigned over an arms purchase scandal. Societe Generale chairman offered to resign after the recent scandal but it was rejected by the Board, much to the chagrin of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Japan’s Defence Minister was pressured to resign after scandals hit the ministry but Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda rejected the offer. After the RSS Courageous accident, the officers on duty piloting the ship were charged for criminal negligence and no resignations were known. In the furore over the fatal Sgt Hu ‘dunking”, the trainers were charged and CO of Hendon Camp stepped down. In the security embarassment after Mas Selamat’s unbelievable escape, there has since been angry calls for someone at the top to resign for reasons of poor command and control. Minister Wong Kan Seng, the Police Commissioner and Head Internal Security Department, among others, were those called to step down in disgrace.

As almost everyone questionably assumed that resignation is the only answer and there should be no Great Escape, Whether the one right at the top or bottom of the command chain should resign is the question. In the global culture of blame the leader in the public’s eyes, the sentiments are now inclined towards someone at the top to resign. Resignation is the simplest symbolic form of organisational ablution or rather a modern version of a crowd-pleasing blood thirsty burning at the stake. The blame game targets the one who is most visible, the one who is most detested, the weakest who cannot or would not contest the blame, or the one who is most responsible. In this typology of blame, it could but not certainly respectively be Wong Kan Seng, Wong Kan Seng again, a still unknown scapegoat, and the people on duty and directly involved in guarding Mas Selamat at the moment he escaped.

In the Mas Selamat escape debacle, it all depends on who should be blamed how much and how the blame should be shared. Should the one at the top have the monopoly of the blame? Or the grunt right at the bottom of the food chain? Or someone in between as well as an accommodation to the public’s bloodlust. Until more details on the escape are made known, and the results of the not-so seemingly independent board of inquiry report are released and criticised, it is premature as well as immature to point a scathing finger at any one person or group of people just yet without the facts.


2 Responses

  1. […] The Sun Shines On – Resignations and the Apportion of Blame in the Escape Debacle […]

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