The Report

What’s Abd?!!

The Singapore government Ministry of Home Affairs Minister, Wong Kan Seng finally released the much awaited report on Mas Selamat (Jemaah Islamiyah detainee) escape from the Whitley Road Detention Centre (WRDC) on 27 February 2008. The report however, excluded some private information from the public so as to protect the facility and its security systems in place.

It was reported in the findings that Mas Selamat had been brought from the Detention Block to the Visitation Block for visit by his family. Whilst at the Visitation Block, he had requested to be excused to the washroom to relieve himself. He was at that time accompanied by 2 Gurkhas and a Police Officer. Mas Selamat had then closed the door of the cubicle he was in and had subsequently made his getaway through a small opening in the window which had no grilles. It was then assumed that he had escaped from the concrete of the pathway which led to the dense vegetation nearby. The fences covered the surrounding area of the facility but was not barb wired at the concrete. The closed-circuit television (CCTV) was also not functioning at that time as it was undergoing maintenance as reported. His total time for escape, 11 minutes.

It may seem to have appeased majority of Singaporeans but the report and the facility had failed to address several issues. As a detainee, he was not cuffed when he was transferred between buildings. It is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for all Police Officers to ensure that their accused/ detainees are cuffed at all times except when they are in confinement of their cells. This has just only been addressed by the Minister that it will take effect since the incident.

While it may have been possible for a small size person like Mas Selamat to have escaped through the open window (in which the latch had been sawed off), it would be impossible for him to have made his escape without having made a bit of a noise despite him turning on the tap as a diversion. It would also have not been possible for him to have escaped without getting a piece of his clothing torn as the quality of prison clothings are of low quality and would have been torn at the slightest sharp edge it entangles with. Having made his escape, it is of such coincidence that the CCTV was under maintenance and therefore, not working (this is similar to the 9/11 incident in which the security for 9/11 was ‘missing’ at the time of the attack).

The report also failed to indicate and inform the public about the height of the toilet window to the ground and the height of the covered pathway in which he could have used for his escape. Height is a determining factor as the detainee is ‘vertically challenged’. If the height of both the abovementioned was about 1.8 – 2 metres, it would have been near impossible for Mas Selamat to have climbed out of the window, fell down, recover composure, limped to the concrete wall, climbed up easily and escape all within a space of 11 minutes.

In spite of all that has been said and done, Mas Selamat is still ‘nowhere to be found’. More suspicions arise from the fact that the report did not include interviews with his family. The press has never had (been allowed) contact with the family to get their opinion and side of the story for possibility of abetment to escape.

In my latest take on this, I believe that Mas Selamat is still in the WRDC. My newest theory stems from the possibility that the Internal Security Department (ISD) had received information from their sources that the JI network was planning to ‘attack’ Singapore unless the Mas Selamat was released. Therefore, to accede to such an impossible request while at the same time ensure the safety of Singapore and the continuous detention of Mas Selamat, such a staging was done. But this is one of the many possibilities.


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