Sunday, May 30, 2010

DPM Teo on the shotgun shooting incident

As stated in the previous post, the sound bytes have begun.

I believe damage control has to kick in quickly before the start of the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD). This could explain the sudden spirit of glasnost that has facilitated stories on the incident in the Singaporean media - a somewhat dated story on the Third Generation Singapore Armed Forces.

I reckon these will die down temporarily once SLD gets underway.

As you listen to or read MINDEF's responses, ask yourself two things:
1) Why wasn't a news release issued?
2) When confronted by the 90 cents newspaper, why didn't MINDEF wrest the initiative and say that a second SAF serviceman was injured?

I believe it is point 2 that has fanned the ire of Singaporeans. It will be tragic if we fail to learn from this episode.

Mindef to raise Thai citizens' awareness of SAF exercises
By : S Ramesh
30 May 2010 1750 hrs (SST)


SINGAPORE: Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef) will work with Thailand to raise Thai citizens' awareness of SAF exercises conducted in their vicinity.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean said this when asked about safety precautions, after two SAF personnel were injured by a Thai villager who was out hunting.

The incident occurred in a designated training area within Kanchanaburi province, some 130 kilometres west of Bangkok, during a routine military exercise on 13 March.

DPM Teo said Mindef's priority in any incident is to ensure it takes care of servicemen and keep the family informed. And if it is of public interest, Mindef will issue a media release.

Some members of the public, who had written to the media, felt Mindef could have informed the public of the incident earlier. However, Mr Teo felt that what is of public interest is a matter of judgement.


Anonymous said...

It's quite intriguing that Mr. Ramesh graciously allows Minister Teo to have the final word that "what is of public interest is a matter of judgment."

I feel that "public interest" doesn't mean that it's mere novelty or trivial spectacle. In this instance, it concerns the government's policies towards prompt public disclosure and the authority's sense of accountability towards fellow Singaporean citizens - its electorate, its core constituents.

The question remains: What are the defense ministry's considerations to defer releasing information about the incident, and furthermore, in such a selective manner? I think the public continues to be interested in knowing the ministry's response towards this pressing question.


Anonymous said...

"what is of public interest is a matter of judgement..." If two soldiers getting accidentally shot and in the case of one, badly injured, during training isn't of public interest, then what is?