Thursday, February 28, 2008

JI Detainee Escapes: State Not Intrusive Enough?

The headline read “JI detainee Mas Selamat Kastari escapes from Singapore detention centre” and my jaw dropped to the floor.

When I wrote about the recent arrests of 2 individuals for habouring plans to conduct acts of terrorism, I discussed the difference between being protective and intrusive. The argument was of course that the Singapore government had to adopt a stance dictated by the ideals of the former. Unfortunately, given the shocking circumstances which has resulted in a massive manhunt for a dangerous former terror cell leader, I wonder if our protectors are doing a decent enough job of being intrusive.

Surely every intrusive means of surveillance and monitoring should have been dedicated to keeping real threats to society safely behind lock and key. I am sure no civil libertarian could argue against that.

Minister Wong sure has some explaining to do. First of which is how a limping middle-aged man could escape from an ISD run facility?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Politics is a Funny Thing

Myanmar and Pakistan not too long ago seemed to be diverging on two separate paths; the former towards democracy and the latter further into autocracy.

The indicators were there. There were subtle signs that the Myanmese Junta was softening its stance with Aung’s NLD. And with intensified international and regional pressure, one was hopeful that incremental change was on the cards.

On the flip side, the demise of the charismatic Benazir Bhutto, and security concerns thereafter, threatened to cripple the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and delay parliamentary elections indefinitely; ending hope of an end to military rule in Pakistan.

But a day, not to mention a few weeks, is a long time in politics. The Myanmar junta has since engaged in undemocratic constitutional reforms and has barred Aung from participating in future elections as she was formerly married to a foreigner.

Pakistani opposition parties (Pakistan Muslim League-N party and the PPP) have stormed to victory in their general election and are now contemplating the formation of a coalition government.

Politics is a funny and unpredictable thing.