Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Winning The Hearts Of The People

It was just yesterday when Goh Chok Tong was quoted as saying, "To solve problems in a practical, ruthlessly efficient bureaucratic way is not enough anymore. The government must also win the hearts of the people." Second Home Affairs Minister S Iswaran must have missed the point when he was reverting to queries surrounding the death of a prison inmate.

The members of parliament (MPs) had asked if more information could be provided on the matter, but all Iswaran did was to provide a non-answer, that "investigations had been rigorous and thorough". Obviously too rigorous and thorough for the public to understand, MPs included.

To press the point home, opposition MP Pritam Singh asked for more transparency, such as making public the findings from the Commission of Inquiry (COI). Same request asked by the parents of Shane Todd about their son's demise.

Without replying yes or no to the straight forward request, Iswaran deflected by telling the house that the COI's purpose was not to establish criminal guilt or liability. So if the officers who subdued the inmate had criminal intent to fatally assault him for having earlier kicked a fellow warden, the COI is supposed to turn a blind eye and restrict themselves to focusing on whether bureaucratic procedures were followed to the letter?

The *palmed face* moment came about when the minister said it was not unprecedented nor uncommon for a COI to be discontinued at the state coroner's discretion after the accused had pleaded guilty. Is that the efficient bureaucratic way to sweep matters under the carpet, by arranging for some party to plea guilty or admit liability, when the COI is not supposed to concern itself with matters of criminal guilt or liability? And how many such precedents have occurred in the past, pray tell?

Maybe the government needs a different breed of ministers to win the hearts and minds of the people. This is the same guy who has yet to disclose a single report card on the F-1 night race. Did the country make or lose money on the sweetheart deals with Bernie Ecclestone?

32 comments:

  1. If it' so vigorous and thorough, then share it with the public or why bother to go through the wayang.
    Is it another "expediency" or "cover up?"

    I am surprised that the lawyer and deceased family had let this matter go so easily without getting to the bottom of truth. This is a prison we are talking about. There HAS to be a cctv footage!

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    1. The family is being practical, the dead cannot be brought to life.
      $$$? as compensation to the family.

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    2. Or gag order?

      Regardless, the govt is using taxpayers money to pay off the victim's family. Even if they don't wish to pursue further, the public has the right to know.

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    3. Remember one ISD detainee once revealed he was threatened by a secret agent with "We can hit you from behind & make it look like an accident".

      It appears the G has done nothing even though it is a serious allegation enough to warrant an investigation.

      Does it mean that the penalty to pay for a licence to kill in Singapore is only S$10,000 ?

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  2. So all the fanciful report on OSC about trust and accountability are just that..glorified words that cannot be put into practice in reality.

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  3. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality., tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Martin Luther King

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  4. Dinesh's case was reported to be "so complex" that it took 28 months to investigate and 130 witnesses and end result - no open trial/COI. They decide to pay$ the family off.

    Shane's case took 13 months & 60 witnesses, cross-border and end result - open COI and same result.

    You decide.

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    1. Sometimes in real life, people can get away with murder.

      The way this is usually done is by securing the cooperation of the coroner beforehand. Think about it- forensic investigators and coroners are the gatekeepers to the public knowledge about deaths and crimes. Are any of these compromised? Some coroners and medical examiners are probably specifically targeted with pressure. Others just know how *things* work and who's buttering their bread. Others are sympathetic to particular cases in one way or another and implicitly know what they have to do. Still others are simply amoral, like people in all walks of life, have no problem doing whatever for whoever is rewarding them in whatever way. Finally, consider how journalists, business people and firms, academics etc. are "developed" over time by all the agencies. Those people DO live completely normal careers, get hired, fired, change jobs just like everyone else, but when they're needed they're assets- you can go to them when you need them. Well guess who else falls into that category.

      But that's how it's done. Murder through accomplice and complicity.
      In this case, if he was murdered, the ducks were probably all lined up before it went down. As for suicide notes, do you think technology was developed to perfectly imitate other people's handwriting? If you know forensics, do you think you can reverse engineer the hand prints, bits of DNA, dander flakes etc. etc. that people leave on paper when they write it? Let me put that another way- do you think that such technology was specifically not developed for some reason?

      It's a game as old as humankind itself- The Powers That Be can see to it that Bad Things happen to the Wrong People who threaten them, and then those people turn up dead or missing. What is the alternative hypothesis?

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  5. To conduct anything more would probably require at least ten years of man-hours working 24/7 ...

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  6. 60+ over assaults a year seems high?
    That works out to about 5 per month!
    I wonder what % of prisoners reformed re-offend within 2 years?
    Do prisoners get the right to vote here; or even after they are discharged? Anyone knows?

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  7. @Tattler, i think it is the coroner's inquiry that was discontinued, not the COI.

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    1. Can the work of the Commission of Inquiry be completed if the coroner's inquiry is not complete?

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    2. That's the strange bit.

      If coroner's work is incomplete, then how did they come to conclusion that his cause of death is aphysxiation, and nothing else? Why accept the "liability" and pay off the family so quickly? Once again, another "we have corrected the system so trust us to get it right next time" . This must be the easiest way to govern and earn trust by any politicians in the world!

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    3. Mere Mortals lives are cheap.

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  8. It's the typical PAP response of "We know what we are doing and it's the best, let's move on..." dismissive reply.

    The only way to counter this is to vote them out in GE2016.

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  9. guilty as charged!

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  10. If they can ignore the MPs' request for facts surrounding the "unnatural" death of men under the charge of the state, then is it so unreasonable to believe that they would cover up huge losses on investments made by Temasek and GIC, hiding more serious corruption by leeders, masquarading defence systems purchases as a way for the elites to receive kick backs from defence contractors which Lockheed and other western contractors have time and again used to bribe their way to ever larger contracts from foreign govts, and of course massaged economic data (that increasingly defies all economists' forecast - see latest GDP figures which showed stronger growth despite exports plunging - remember that exports cannot be faked because they are mirror image of imports data published by other countries!)? No wonder old fart says he is leaving the problems to the new generation of leeders.

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    1. When immoral or dishonest acts can be committed in open public institutions such as childcare or schools by public servants, I don't see why an enclosed prison (with prisoners who have unquestionably low credibility to begin with and locked away) may not have lapses? The mere act that the authority wish to close this matter, and keep the findings away from the scrutiny of the public makes it even more suspicious.

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  11. The court of public opinion is measured differently than a court judge. Court of public opinion can be statically measured whereas a decision by a judge can only invite a contempt of court against anyone that thinks otherwise.

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  12. Time to change their name to People Assurance party. Just take their verbal assurances is good enough to win our votes.

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  13. //Did the country make or lose money on the sweetheart deals with Bernie Ecclestone?//

    You really want to know? $65m goes first to Bernie's pocket. That does not include broadcasting fee of course...:-)

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/30/sport/motorsport/f1-money-billion-dollar-business

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    1. But according to 2012 Forbes report, we didn't make any. Making matters worse, most of F1’s key contracts contain clauses which increase the fee paid by up to 10% annually.

      //Just look to Singapore for a great comparison. The nation has been home to a Formula One circuit since 2008. The annual race is a major tourist attraction, drawing an estimated 150,000 visitors over the last four years while generating about $114 million to $122 million in visitor spending annually. But hosting the single race costs roughly $122 million each year, 60% of which is covered by government funding. Singapore just renewed its Formula One contract, but only after the government determined that it will cut costs by as much as 20% to make the race more affordable –.//

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  14. Alas, the intoxicating quality of absolute power.

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  15. So I can get someone to be the scapegoat for whatever crimes I commit if I could afford to pay him enough for say his two generations, no ?

    Is that what I understand from these masters of "wayang"

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  16. playbook 101
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hearts_and_Minds_(Vietnam)

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  17. Woody Goh CT should first reflect on his PAP, whether the current leadership that is widely regarded as incompetent, self serving, insatiably greedy, arrogant, in self denial, can actually win hearts of the people ?...and with this level of credibility ?

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  18. The people have already lost heart, give up, with the PAP and it's two-timing ways. You cannot win a heart that's already lost, got it, woody Cock Talking Goh?

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  19. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

    There is very good reason why the above sentence is phrased in that way.

    Prisoner died of positional asphyxia. The question is - why is he in that position? How long do you press a person down to subdue his violence?

    Like the commando trainee who drown. How did he drown? Part of training? Or deliberate "tekkaning"?

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  20. Transparency and accountability to the public is very essential for public institutions to build trust with the people



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  21. //The family of Dinesh Raman s/o Chinnaiah, who died in Changi Prison on 27 September 2010, is requesting the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) to direct the coroner to complete the Coroner’s Inquiry into Dinesh’s death.//

    A Public Coroner's Inquiry is absolutely necessary to arrive at the truth, not a behind-closed-doors COI, which even then they refuse to divulge. In the public mind, the obfuscations of the MHA will mean there is something to hide. Where will be the trust which they are continuously harping on? Will the AGC oblige? We'll wait and see! The plot thickens.

    http://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/family-dead-inmate-asks-agc-direct-coroner-open-050745173.htm

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  22. Dept Supt Lim Kwo Yin (prison officer) was fined $10000 on 19 July. On 20 July it was reported that "A coroner’s mention will be held next Tuesday (23 July 2013) but an inquiry will likely be vacated, Mr Mahendran said." Reading Mahendran's statement, he doesn't sound too positive. After this the AGC, on 25 July, issued a statement to discontinue the Coroner's Inquiry.

    These are the questions that are intriguing:

    (1) Why the decision to request for a Coroners Inquiry NOW - is the offer for compensation for Dinesh's family too little and they are disatisfied with the outcome?

    (2) What happened during the "coroner's mention" on 23 July?
    a. Did Mr Mahendran represent Dinesh's family with all his might (see his statement above)?
    b. Did the AGC browbeat Dinesh's parents and their lawyer Mr Mahendran into accepting the AGC's decision?

    (3) Why is M Ravi representing the Dinesh family now and not Mr Mahendran?

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  23. bravo .... soon the kangaroo system will be abolished

    welCUM the arrival of the baboon system ... WHY??

    ... the reason is obvious; new management style

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