Below is my letter published in the Straits Times on May 28, 2008. It is the original letter, containing the last sentence which had been left out by the newspaper editors
I refer to yesterday’s report “Mas Selamat escape: Detention centre superintendent gets the sack”. So the Government has sought closure to the Mas Selamat saga by handing out an assortment of punishments to the nine, mainly low-ranking, officers and guards whose security lapses had led to the escape of the terrorist.
I wish to express deep disappointment, shock and pain that in a national scandal of unprecedented magnitude and public outrage, it is only the little people who are held accountable and punished. By now, they are probably too frightened to appeal or seek redress.
Catherine Lim (Dr)
Final Comments on the Mas Selamat Scandal
Below are some final comments on the matter. I don’t expect to make any more statements unless new developments warrant them.
When I first followed the Government’s handling of the Mas Selamat scandal some months back, I wrote a commentary that expressed regret that the Minister of Home Affairs had not done the honourable thing of offering his resignation to set an example of the onerousness and dignity of high public office and duty.
Two days ago, when I listened to the Minister on TV tersely detailing the various punishments for each of the prison officers and guards responsible for the escape that fateful afternoon, my regret became mixed with shame and anger. I was ashamed and angry that in a society that prides itself on the highest standards of accountability and fairness, the entire blame seems to have been laid squarely on the shoulders of the ‘little people’ who, we are told, can appeal, but who, we all know, will have neither the courage nor the resources to do so.
In my 14 years as a political commentator, I have never been more outraged.