Mas Selamat’s Escape: Closure and Managing Public Expectations

With these actions, plus the COI report released last month, the government expects closure.

I presume that the hunt for Mas Selamat is still on as that is the only means of atonement. The government has been eager to show self-flagellation and that it is not a cover-up by sacking the Superintendent of the centre, who is equivalent to the Commanding Officer in an army camp from what I hear. The person who this Superintendent reported to was also removed of his duties. Compared to the commando drowning incident where the Chief Commando Officer was removed but not sacked, the Home Affairs Ministry went higher up the food chain in searching for heads to roll. This is rightly so as the severity of the escape is not light at all if the fugitive comes back to bomb Singapore in a vengeance streak.

I felt that the punitive measures were fair and there was no scapegoats, but it should have gone higher up the hierarchy. Those at the top should not be sacked as that is too vindictive, but another round of humbling apology to befit a real closure to this entire debacle.

Singapore sacks superintendent of detention centre over escape

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore has sacked the superintendent of a detention centre where an alleged extremist leader escaped through a toilet window, the interior minister said Monday, while his deputy has been demoted.

Two elite Nepalese Gurkha guards who had escorted Mas Selamat Kastari to the toilet were also demoted, Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng told parliament.

Kastari, the alleged Singapore leader of the extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), made his escape from Whitley Road Detention Centre on February 27 after asking for a break during a visit by family members.

His flight punctured Singapore’s reputation for solid security and sparked the biggest manhunt in the country’s history.

Kastari remains at large and is believed to have fled to neighbouring Indonesia, where other JI leaders are suspected to be based.

The superintendent and his deputy were the two most senior officers in charge of “ground management” at the centre, which is run by the Internal Security Department, Wong said.

The pair were “held accountable for the lack of supervision over the subordinate officers implicated, which resulted in lapses” that enabled Kastari to escape, the minister said.

A special duty operative, her supervisor, two other officers and the chief warder were also disciplined, Wong said.

An inquiry into the escape cited windows without grilles, surveillance cameras that were not working and a slow reaction from guards as likely contributing to Kastari’s flight.

Kastari was accused of plotting to hijack a plane in order to crash it into Singapore’s Changi Airport in 2001 but was never charged. He was being held in the city-state under a law that allows for detention without trial.


5 Responses

  1. […] Failure – Baloney and Balls: Why wasn’t the ISD Director sacked? – The Sun Shines on Singapore: Mas Selamat’s Escape: Closure and Managing Public Expectations – TOC: 90 days since escape… no more […]

  2. Please… You believe they were sacked?

    Why wouldn’t it be just “news”?

    I wouldn’t believe anyone was sacked unless something in the online govt directory changed.

    Superintendent of detention centre only small fry.

  3. supt is not small fry. same as ltc in army. in army, ltc is co level.

  4. Many Teddies

    Looks like you are into conspiracy theories?

  5. Supersuperintendent

    Small fry compared to Minister Home Affairs perhaps.

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