Home News Causeway breach: Where does the buck stop?

Causeway breach: Where does the buck stop?

- Advertisement -

By Augustine Low

It appears that the easiest way out is to punish frontline officers who make mistakes. Take the recent serious lapse in border security which allowed a Malaysian woman to enter Singapore illegally and only got arrested three days later.

After giving an account of how unacceptable errors and poor judgement led to the security breach, DPM and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean told Parliament “they have apologised”. This apology was presumably made by the Commissioner of ICA and Commissioner of Police, to whom DPM Teo had expressed his unhappiness.

Apologise to whom? That was not made clear. We can only presume that they apologised to their boss, DPM Teo.

- Advertisement 1-

Meanwhile, the frontline officers responsible have been redeployed pending disciplinary proceedings.

But where exactly does the buck stop? Apparently not with DPM Teo, although he is the boss of the Home Team. Apart from expressing his “deep dissatisfaction,” he did not apologise. Apparently not with the Commissioners, because their apology have been accepted by DPM Teo.

What about the lower rank officers who made those mistakes? Can their apologies be accepted?

The same thing happened in the Mas Selamat case. Wong Kan Seng apologised but the buck certainly didn’t stop with him. It also didn’t stop with the director of ISD, who in fact went on to be promoted to Permanent Secretary. So only the low rank officers were punished for a national security breach of immense magnitude.

Singaporeans are not looking for heads to roll. But greater accountability and clearer lines of culpability must be drawn.

Otherwise, the message is that if you are a rank-and-file officer doing a frontline job, you cannot afford to make mistakes. But if you are in a senior position, you can always apologise, recommend appropriate action and then move on with life as usual.

- Advertisement 2-

Photo credit: A Shutterbug’s Life (http://ashutterbugslife.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/tailgating.jpg)Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

Read More

Woman feels resentful and jealous of ‘carefree’ boyfriend earning S$12K a month, nearly 5X her pay

Singapore -- A woman earning significantly less than her boyfriend wrote that she could not help but feel resentful and jealous of him. In an anonymous post to the popular confessions Facebook page NUSWhispers, she her boyfriend had a high...

TikToker surprised to see SAF PT shorts featured in Shopee’s CNY sale

Singapore — Well, the shorts are red, after all.  And maybe someone at Shopee believes that wearing the dri-fit shorts used for physical training at...

Buy fish if you can’t afford chicken, President Halimah once said: Netizens point to pomfret’s pre-CNY price of $100 per kilo

Singapore -- As the price of premium fish such as pomfret and red grouper soar exponentially ahead of Chinese New Year, several netizens have...

‘Proud of my contribution to Singapore law’ — Lim Tean celebrates pub case win

Singapore — Lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean called a judgment handed down by the High Court on Thursday (Jan 27) as one of...

Man rescues mynah with cable ties on mouth & legs in Pasir Ris

Singapore — A man walking along Pasir Ris Street 71 on Jan 15 spotted a Javan mynah with a cable tie on its mouth...

Woman feels resentful and jealous of ‘carefree’ boyfriend earning S$12K a month, nearly 5X her pay

Singapore -- A woman earning significantly less than her boyfriend wrote that she could not help but feel resentful...

TikToker surprised to see SAF PT shorts featured in Shopee’s CNY sale

Singapore — Well, the shorts are red, after all.  And maybe someone at Shopee believes that wearing the dri-fit shorts...

Buy fish if you can’t afford chicken, President Halimah once said: Netizens point to pomfret’s pre-CNY price of $100 per kilo

Singapore -- As the price of premium fish such as pomfret and red grouper soar exponentially ahead of Chinese...

‘Proud of my contribution to Singapore law’ — Lim Tean celebrates pub case win

Singapore — Lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean called a judgment handed down by the High Court on Thursday...
Follow us on Social Media

Send in your scoops to news@theindependent.sg