The long awaited report into the breakout of JI member Mas Selamat was released in the Singaporean parliament yesterday and the Minister's statement make interesting reading.
There was clearly a major breakdown in security vigilance at the detention centre and the officers responsible have been "removed" which, in the case of the two Gurkhas involved, probably means a one-way ticket back to Nepal on the first available flight.
The detainee was able to lull his captors into a false sense of security and when he visited the toilet, put his trousers over the cubicle door and left via an unsecured and un-barred side window. Presumably he had another pair of trousers under his top ones and if he hadn't, then I guess he would not have died of exposure in the Singapore climate.
It took 11 minutes for the guards to realise that something was wrong and raise the alarm giving Mas Selamat ample time to scale (?) a nearby perimeter fence and hot foot it.
The reports all state that it was unlikely he had any outside assistance in the planning and execution of this escape. Singaporeans I have spoken to find this difficult to accept and it may or may not be an accurate assumption. Either way his luck was in and he has vanished into the ether.
It also begs the question, where is he now?
Opinion is evenly divided between his rapid transit to the nearby Indonesian archipelago or that he is laying low in someone's HDB flat and waiting for the public and security personnel's focus to wane.
To undertake either of these options he must be getting, or have got, outside help. I guess only time will reveal the real story but in the meantime Singapore's security credibility has received a severe jolt. To the government's credit they have been as candid as they can in this matter and clearly security is going to be a lot tougher for detainees from this point on.
One other interesting point from a westerner's perspective is that the Minister responsible for Homeland security, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, is not being pressured to stand down. In New Zealand there would be an immediate baying for blood from the opposition benches.
Not so in Singapore. In fact the Prime Minister responded to such suggestions today by stating that he believed that public officials and ministers should not automatically be removed as a result of a lapses from their subordinates. I have to say that this appears a more balanced approach to me. After all a Minister's overall performance should be judged across his or her whole portfolio, over time.
Any lapses in matter of integrity are treated entirely differently and dismissal on these grounds will and do happen, no matter what the status of the individual is.