If there is any piece of sensational news that could knock a Singaporean over with a feather, the incredible news that Mas Selamat Kastari is being detained in Malaysia for two years by the Malaysian authorities takes the cake.
Not only were the ordinary Singaporeans could not believe their ears, but the Singapore leaders and security agency seemed to have been kept in the dark until the very last minute. This is one coup by the Malaysians that the Singapore leaders and Singaporeans will be grateful for for a long time and is a reflection of the excellent relations we have with the Malaysians.
Of course Mas Selamat is a minor pawn and Singapore must look at the broader picture of international relationship. Home Affairs Ministry, not surprisingly, is faced with a near intractable situation and has no alternative but to issue a statement of appeasement to keep up with the hilarity. The Malaysians could have decided to detain Mas Selamat for two years in Malaysia long before the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak paid his introductory visit to his Singapore counterpart earlier this month. Of course he was not talking with his tongue in his cheek when he touched on the repatriation of Mas Selamaat to Singapore because he is the Prime Minister of Malaysia who is expected to be above any suspicion of perfidy. But one cannot help seeing a picture of smugness in him when he made the startling announcement at the press conference today of Mas Selamat's two-year detention in Malaysia. It was to all intents and purposes a coup de grace by him.
Quo vadis Singapore? The Internal Security Department (ISD) will be hard-pressed trying to get the details of Mas Selamat's flight of freedom from the Whitley Road Detention Centre (WRTC), at least not for another two years and maybe longer. The only possible alternative is to get the benevolent service of the Malaysian Special Branch to condescend to get the details from Mas Selamat which may not be an ideal arrangement. Maybe the Malaysian SB may condescend to allow ISD officers to question Mas Selamat in Malaysia. How Mas Selamat managed to do a Houdini escape from WRDC is a subject that will engross an agog Singapore public. ISD has an obligation to fulfill this duty.
Will Mas Selamat be cocking s snook at Singapore? One has to get it from the horse's mouth. The Malaysians will be sniggering. Why Malaysia is doing the favour to Singapore of detaining Mas Selamat in Malaysia is for posterity to discover, unless one can get it from the Malaysians.