We am sorry that our complacency has allowed Mas Selamat to escape.
By thinking "that the Government will take care of all security matters", we the citizens of this country have allowed ourselves to become complacent, and thusly, contributed to his escape.
Sure the minders of Mas Selamat were to be blamed too, as MM Lee said, because they were "complacent in handling a wily detainee" and were "negligent". But it was really our belief that the Gahmen will take care of all security matters, that led to his escape, more than anything else.
We should have been guarding him ourselves, instead of relying just on the ISD or the Ghurkas or any Gahmen forces. Instead, we went about our lives, thinking, "Hey, guarding that guy is not my job what! Why should I care? Gahmen sure can one!"
We abdicated this responsibility to security agencies. That was our tragic mistake.
If the Gahmen is to be blamed, it is only that you, oh Gahmen, have been so "overly successful" that we, the people, have become too comfortable. We ended up with a "dependency mentality" that makes us "blame the civil service and Government" if any of our needs are not met.
Believing the Government had everything under control was complacent of us.
Believing nothing could go wrong was also complacent of us.
And wanting accountability and transparency when things did go wrong, that was most complacent and unreasonable of all.
We are so sorry we let your efficiency and successful running of our country lull us into a false sense of security. We now know that when things go right, it is because the Gahmen is good. And when things go wrong, it is our complacency and our fault.
We endeavour to be less complacent in future so that another detainee won't escape. Let us know if you want any of us to guard any new terror detainees you may have.
Let's start with the Boy Scouts and other uniformed groups and work our way through the list of citizens that need to volunteer.
We want to be on our toes all the time, and not trust the Gahmen so much anymore.
The (ex) Complacent Citizens of Singapore.
ST April 5, 2008
JI MAN MAS SELAMAT'S ESCAPE
Guards were negligent, says MM
His message: Those who think nothing can go wrong are being complacent
By Sue-Ann Chia & Goh Chin Lian
FUGITIVE Mas Selamat Kastari was 'an escape artist' who had evaded arrest many times, and Singapore's security officers knew this, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said yesterday.
Yet, the Jemaah Islamiah terrorist leader was able to lull his minders at the Whitley Road Detention Centre into believing that they had him under control, before he gave them the slip.
'When you are complacent in handling a wily detainee, then you have been negligent,' Mr Lee told The Straits Times in an e-mail interview.
He responded to questions on the issue of complacency for today's Insight feature which takes off from his earlier comments on Mas Selamat's disappearance.
He said last month that the break-out was a 'very severe lesson in complacency'.
Mas Selamat, 47, who had planned to crash a plane into Changi Airport, escaped from Internal Security Department custody on Feb 27. He is still on the run.
The Government has promised a full account of how he escaped, after a three-member panel completes its investigations.
In answering questions posed by The Straits Times, Mr Lee addressed the issue of complacency among citizens, saying: 'Anyone who believes nothing can or will go wrong in Singapore is living in a make-believe world.'
He said Singaporeans are being complacent when they believe that the Government will take care of all security matters.
MPs and political observers interviewed for the Insight feature said decades of peace and prosperity could have caused some Singaporeans to believe the Government had everything under control and nothing could go wrong.
How did complacency creep in? Some observers like former MP Augustine Tan blamed indifference or lack of understanding of the Government's workings.
Others felt the Government was partly to blame.
People's Action Party MP Lim Wee Kiak called complacency a 'side-effect' of an overly successful Government and civil service.
'This has bred a dependency mentality in our population who will blame the civil service and Government if any of their needs are not met,' he noted.
But MM Lee disagreed that the Government deserved to be blamed. He said: 'Complacency sets in when a people have not suffered any shock or setback for a long time.'
Hence, his warnings against complacency over the years, 'because most people believe that bad things will happen to others, not to themselves'.