By Andrew Loh
Mas Selamat Kastari is the most wanted man in Singapore right now.
He is the number one terrorist threat to Singapore.
A massive island-wide manhunt is on the way to find him.
Malaysia and Indonesia are also on the lookout for the escapee.
Interpol has put out a worldwide warrant of arrest for the man.
The international news media has reported on his escape.
Singaporeans, both on the internet and in the mainstream media, have given their opinion on the matter.
It seems that the only person missing from all of these is the prime minister himself.
Perhaps we should start asking: Where is prime minister Lee Hsien Loong?
Not a squeak from the PM
The PM has not made any public statements or even commented on the matter of the so-called “Limping Terrorist” or the massive manhunt to look for him the entire week.
The person who has been trying to reassure Singaporeans is Home Affairs minister Wong Kan Seng. Though it is expected that Mr Wong would do so, the escape itself has cast doubts and raised questions on his credibility as Home Affairs chief. Thus, it would be better if his boss, the PM, did the reassuring instead.
Conspiracy theorists would undoubtedly have a few colourful – or wild – take on the missing PM. Perhaps the PM does not want to add more pressure on Mr Wong Kan Seng, they might say. Or the PM does not want to distract the security forces from their work – catching the JI leader.
Still others may say that the PM and Mr Wong cannot get along and the PM is letting Mr Wong carry the buck himself, as it were. Or it could simply be that the prime minister is actually the one running the show behind the scenes.
I am sure there are many other theories.
Whatever it is, there doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason for the PM to keep quiet – especially when it's been one week since the “prison break”.
I think Singaporeans have the right to expect leadership from our PM in a time like this. His continued silence is jarring – and conspicuous.
A nation is anxious, to say the least. We are the focus of attention worldwide. All that the media here is reporting is the manhunt that is going on.
One hopes that someone in the media (and the Prime Minister’s Office) will do the necessary job and yes, hunt down the prime minister for a comment, in the very least.
For if the prime minister seems disinterested in the biggest story in Singapore’s history, why then is he the prime minister?
His leadership at a time like this is crucial.
Sadly, a week of silence is deafening – and worrying.
Has our prime minister gone missing too?
Update: The PM finally spoke about the escape on March 9 - 11 days after the jail break happened. See the Straits Times.