atans1

Govt, activists score own goals

In Public Administration on 03/01/2014 at 6:09 am

(Or “The govt is its own worst enemy: it can’t communicate the right facts”)

Recently  I blogged on why Scrooge the Grinch government can do more, a lot more to help the manual workers who gift us S$2.5bn++ a year.

But on the use of the deportation law on alleged “rioters”; I’m on the govt’s side with one important caveat.  The cavaet is: What the hell were the police commissioner and DPM Teo talking about?

— [The Police Commissioner] explained that this group is less “culpable” than those who were charged, as the latter were “active participants” in the riot, “violent” and “had attacked uniformed personnel and vehicles, damaged property, and had incited others to do so”. So what did they actually do?

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean noted that those who were to be repatriated had “impeded the riot control and emergency rescue operations” and that “their actions and conduct had threatened public order,  Did they or did not riot?

I looked up what the official statement and only then I understood why there were deportations, not charges for most of those detained: they were alleged rioters that the police considered should be treated more leniently (those charged can be jailed and caned if convicted).

Group Two consists of 53 persons whom Police has identified to have participated in the riot and who failed to disperse despite Police’s orders to do so. They had knowingly joined or continued to participate in the riot, after being ordered to disperse, impeding the riot control and emergency rescue operations. Their actions and conduct had threatened public order, thus making their continued presence in Singapore undesirable. They were all rounded up in a Police operation in the early hours of this morning. They will be repatriated after being issued a stern warning. They will be prohibited from returning to Singapore.

The Police Commissioner and DPM Teo, scholars both, should be ashamed of their explanations which only made it easier for the activists to attack the govt. And s/o of Devan Nair is not doing doing his job as the govt’s PR man.

Coming back to the deportees, fair enough that they are deported  without judicial “due process” as far as I’m concerned for two reasons.

Firstly, as someone posted on Facebook, ” Rightly or wrongly, deportation is more lenient than jail and caning.” A lot more, so is it fair to insist as the kay pohs do that the courts must be involved in “due process”? One could even argue that the govt is being easy on “alleged” rioters.

Next, given that he has shown himself as a most compassionate chap, I’m sure the Pet minister is ensuring that the ministerial discretion of banishing people from S’pore is fairly exercised, and with appropriate regard for non-judical due process. I’ll go on to assert that he has ensured that the police behave fairly, and with appropriate regard for due process (non-judical), when investigating the cases which result in banishment orders.

Though I must admit charging a few people, then not proceeding with the cases and then allowing them to be given “discharges not amounting to acquittals, then deporting them look slip-shod. They shouldn’t have been charged, juz deportrd. And if, as happened,  they were charged, and the police then realised that officers had made “honest mistakes”, the police should have asked for “discharges not amounting to acquittals”, and then deported them. That would have prevented the usual anti-govt activists from shouting “acquitted but still deported”. Technically, the kay pohs are right, though the govt has a point when it says the “acquittals” did not result from trials, but by the police withdrawing charges. I suspect the police tot, “Heck these guys are not coming back here, so might as well allow discharges amounting to acquittals”: little knowing that the kay pohs would seize on this technicality to agitate against the govt.

Given his track record on looking after the interests of dogs even where a possible dog killer is a FT (example), the HR kay pohs should cut him a lot of slack. Now if the minister was the ACS boy who sneered at elderly, poor S’poreans, I’d agree that the kay pohs have a point about the need of ensuring that justice is done. Hey but this is a most compassionate minister (he loves dogs and, even cats) from RI, not an ACS rich kid. What more do they want?

And there is still the possibility of judicial review, shumething that kick ass, take-no-prisoners superhero M Ravi is pursuing in  several cases. So kay pohs should sit down and shut up.

No trust police and Pet Minister is it? AG should think of suing said activists for making defamatory innuendos about the minister and the police.

By now I’m sure you know that I’m no supporter of using a bit of billions the manual workers gift us to pay for “due process” for the deportees. We have to do right by the manual workers, but there are limits, something the kay pohs seem to refuse to acknowledge. I’m sure in their heart of hearts, they want the detainees to be detained in a 5-star hotel with access to the best lawyers, all at the expense of  us tax-payers. Their ang Moh masters mentors would expect no less.

If the anti-govt kay pohs really cared about the migrant workers they should have been advocating and campaigning from yrs ago that some spare change from the S$2.4 bn++ that the govt gets from the manual workers goes to helping them: without them S’pore would have to pay more, a lot more, for labour intensive jobs. Instead, the said activists want the spare change to be used on judicial “due process”. Some thing is not right about their priorities?

As I pointed out in the earlier piece, there could be a medical insurance fund, and a general welfare fund. BTW, a SDP doctor tells me that the SDP healthcare plan (involving an insurance fund and comprehensive coverage) would cover manual FTs (all FTs in fact) too. Before GG and friends, and TRE readers get upset with the SDP, they should remember that the SDP has also called for a policy of putting locals first and tightening the use of FTs by businesses.

Let me end by returning to said kay pohs: substitute the term “activists” for “management” in the following quote from a famous American psychologist* and you will know why I’m uneasy about their motives and actions: “This is what I get  vaguely uneasy about in the reading on management, namely a certain piety, certain semireligious attitudes, an unthinking, unreasoning, a priori kind of ‘liberalism’ which frequently takes over as a determinant, thereby to some extent destroying the possibility of maintaining the sensitivity to the objective requirements of the actual, realistic situation.”

*Update at 8.43 am on # January 2014:

Think I’m unfair on the activists? Yesterday, I wrote: Here’s an interesting piece from a TRE reader on the appropriateness of the original venue of its seminar on “the struggle for workers’rights”. . I agree with the sentiments expressed within it, though to be fair to Maruah the date of said seminar was on 23 December. Somehow I don’t think that there would be many FTs in the area on a Monday. One of these days I’ll blog on why Maruah and the police deserve each other: both have lousy public communication skills, though the police’s skills iare a lot better than Yaacob’s finest, who only know how to slime.

They may be anti-govt, but we shouldn’t be on their side juz ’cause they got the balls to take on the govt publicly. Their actions and motives have to be analysed and scrutinised, juz like the govt’s, even though we should not hold them to the standards we expect of the govt. They don’t have the resources of the govt.

*Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. Wikipedia

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