Bloggers In Singapore Question Escape Of Militant

Lack trust in local media

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The state controlled media and government in Singapore have been heavily criticized by bloggers for not providing details about how an Islamic militant escaped from prison.

"The mainstream media did its job of trying to play down the most shameful part of the incident. It is a blow to Singapore’s image as being efficient," Seah Chiang Nee, a political commentator and former Singapore newspaper editor, told Reuters. "The more Internet savvy would not depend on the mainstream media for news of what’s happening in the country, they would go to the Internet," said Seah.

Mas Selamat bin Kastari, the alleged leader of the Singapore cell of al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah, a group thought to be responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, escaped last Wednesday from the bathroom of a detention center.

The escape was an embarrassment for the country, which touts high levels of security.  The escape led to a large manhunt and an apology from the government who called it a "security lapse."

Cherian George, a former Straits Times journalist, wrote online that the Singapore media had not answered the question of how Kastari escaped. " The question is so natural and so obvious that you’d think anyone barely paying attention would ask it. Unless, apparently, one worked for the national news media," George wrote.

George said the lack of government details surrounding the escape was due to state controlled media that would eventually drive readers to other sources.

Patrick Daniel, editor of the Straits Times, said the paper took its responsibility to readers seriously and that George was "utterly wrong"  about its journalists not asking about how Kastari escaped.

"If Cherian had checked with us, we would have told him that we asked that question, and many others too, many times," he said.

"I think that there was tacit understanding between the government and the media," Catherine Lim, said, a well known local author and political commentator.


Bloggers In Singapore Question Escape Of Militant
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  • http://www.aarabiah.net Arabic

    thanks for the news

  • J

    The Minister of Home Afffairs should be asked by the Prime Minister for his resignation.

    This is what many feel. In other countries when incidences like this occour the person in-charge would normally resign because it’s their responsibility and they have let down the Government, the country and the people.

    When the minister, Wong Kan Seng, was asked in parliament why the public was not informed until 4 hours after the fact, he smilingly replied that they believed there was no "eminent threat."

    Even Interpole issued a full worldwide arrest bulletine and after several days the minister, when talking to reporters, then started to pick and choose his words carefully.

    There’s also a conspiracy theory that there is a cover up or there would have been if Mas Selamat was caught. In fact there is also rumours that he had accidentally been killed in custody and the escape is a cover up so that terrorist do not take revenge on Singapore.

    No matter what if Wong does not resign the government will have a bad name and in the next election the opposition will have something to aid them in one of the GRC’s.

  • kenny

    It took 11 days for the MM(Minister Mentor) in Singapore, Mr lee Kuan Yew, to say something about the matter after Selamats escape. Complacency was the reason, he said, was the problem to the case and why it happened.

    It was the next day, 12 altogether, that finally the Prime Minister, Lee Hsein Loong answered questions about the escape. What was he doing all this time? If the public got hurt at anytime within that period would he be able to answer them?

    Why has he not asked for the Home Affairs Minister’s, Wong Kan Seng’s resignation? Is there a cover up in squeeky clean Singapore? The Government claims integrity and responsibility to it’s citizens, so does the PAP Party, but where is it now? 

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